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News Distilling or diluting? Negotiating the water research-policy interface

This paper examines some of the tensions in the generation of knowledge about water governance and poverty, and the translation of this knowledge into policy (and practice). It draws on the experience of the authors in developing a framework for understanding water governance and poverty, their work on a project in Tanzania and their attempts to engage with policy makers. The authors propose that the negotiation of knowledge is a political process shaped both by power relationships and (often implicit) normative values. The authors critique instrumental approaches to the generation of knowledge and policy based on the amalgamation of perceived 'success stories' and 'good practice'. They favour instead approaches that attempt to understand water governance arrangements and outcomes for the poor within wider frameworks of negotiations over the allocation of societal resources. This implies the need to re-think the research – policy relationship and to build reflexive knowledge generation into the research-policy interface.

Contact information Frances Cleaver (Bradford Centre for International Development, University of Bradford, UK) and Tom Franks , Water Alternatives 1(1): 157-177 (email:
News type Inbrief
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Source of information Water Alternatives 1(1): 157-177
Keyword(s) water governance, success stories, research-policy interface
Geographical coverage International
News date 04/06/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH