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Country Case: France 4. Country Case: Mexico 5. Country Case: Brazil 6.

Conclusions Index. Du kanske gillar. Inbunden Engelska, Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. This book argues that the economic appeal of using water charges to promote efficiency in usage and pollution control can be constrained by institutional and operational problems. These participants consider that these forms of inequality undoubtedly affect the representative logic of the sectors and social groups that make up the governance forums.

Lemos et al. In these committee boards, the perception of this form of inequality is higher among representatives of civil society. The survey reveals that the grasp of technical information also plays a role in the ordering of gender relations in participatory water governance. In an analysis of this information, Empinotti demonstrates that the female participants of these river basin organizations come from the middle and upper-middle classes, had access to higher education, and are mostly civil servants with ties to the environmental bureaucracy - and therefore presumably have the expertise necessary for management.

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However, the author points out that women in these arenas usually work in subordinate positions of support for the internal decision-making structures - a situation that would strengthen the androcentric condition of the exercise of power. When they are the target of in-depth case studies, the inequalities identified in the organization and operation of river basin agencies in the country appear more flagrant. According to the author, despite the evident advances involving the decentralization of water management in the region, major difficulties still limit the scope of greater heterogeneity in the social participation of the groups and entities represented in the Consortium.

In particular, the overvaluation of technical knowledge appears in the study as a central barrier to the identification of the diversity of interests involved in the regional water issue i.


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Resorting to the notion of social capital in their study of institutional performance, the authors point out that the asymmetries of capital between the participants of the Committee significantly influence the negotiating capacity of the agents and the individual potential of establishing pacts. The strong prevalence of the technical element as a reference for control of the decision-making process - through knowledge about hydrology, climatology, ecology and hydraulics, among others - end up by keeping negotiations on a strictly socio-technical level, thus marginalizing or even masking any possible diverging policies.

This power of the technoscientific paradigm in the disputes established within the River Basin Committees was also observed in the study by Martins about the conception of rational water management in Brazil. Based on an analysis of the history of experts influential in the design and implementation of water governance in the state, the study reveals the formation of a discursive field that consecrates the principles of scientific management, with the notable influence of professional associations linked to areas of engineering - such as the Brazilian Water Resource Association ABRH , the Brazilian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering ABES , and the Brazilian Groundwater Association ABAS.

This arrangement of actors and institutions resulted in a sort of moral economy around the technologically rational management of water, which exerted strong pressure on the composition and operation of the River Basin Committees. Particularly in the case of ABRH, Ravenna underscores the crucial role of its members in structuring corporate interests disparate from the historical hegemony of the electricity sector in the centralized management of water in the country. In a study of the political construction of the new legal frameworks for decentralized and participatory water governance at the federal level, the author reveals that in different regions of the country, members of ABRH provided the officials of local government agencies with technical expertise to outline the policy that was being drawn up.

Profoundly knowledgeable about many of the tools for measuring the quantity and quality of water resources, these agents succeeded in turning their professional association into a key institution for the new pathways of regulation on the use and access to water in the country, contributing to render technical information a powerful tool in the new arenas of governance. The study recalls the history of preference for the recruitment of technicians from professional associations and research institutes to represent civil society in the governance forum. Among the areas of specialization were geology, hydrology and hydraulics, always identified with the supposed neutrality of science in decisions involving a community with varied interests.

According to the study, this "professionalized civil society" successfully imposed its categories of classification of the environment and of social relations pertaining to it on the agenda and discussions at meetings of the Committee, decisively influencing the regional environmental policy agenda.

The findings of these studies on inequalities relating to differences in technical knowledge in water governance forums do, in fact, have an impact on the principles of participation usually associated with the River Basin Committees. The widespread prevalence of technical knowledge and terminology in the plenary sessions of the Committees has a significant side effect on participatory management, because it creates social inequality and is reproduced not only materially. Social class, as a classificatory phenomenon, also extends to taste and discourse. In other words, an individual's class status is revealed not only through economic aspects but also through symbolic dimensions that differentiate him in terms of language, information and even elective affinities BOURDIEU, This means that language also inevitably constitutes an exercise of dominance, regardless of the will of the user of technical discourse, since dominance, as Weber so aptly points out, is legitimated precisely by the person who submits to the discourse, and not by the user himself.

It is, therefore, a relationship in which legitimate or "official" forms of envisioning and dividing the social world are assimilated and naturalized by those who have few resources to challenge them. And, in this context, this assimilation also has to do with the establishment of inequalities in the agencies.

This is perceptible in the environmental governance practiced by the River Basin Committees, by the willingness to talk, by the body language, by the physical arrangement of the agents in the plenary sessions, and even by the gender classification that positions men and women in this decision-making space ii. Inasmuch as discursive order is a key target of disputes in the parliamentary space, the use of this technical instrument has become a tool of dominance and hierarchization.

Water resource management agencies use technical language that limits the participation of local groups who have not mastered certain symbolic codes. The agents who engage in technical discourse in this space make use of a linguistic habitus acquired according to their various educational backgrounds, which is not accessible everyone. Thus, there is a symbolic relationship of dominance whereby only those who possess a specific symbolic capital can make use of a discourse that everyone accepts as valid and authorized.

What should be emphasized here is that the cultural capital required to master the technical and discursive codes used in the daily affairs of the Committees gives those who have it a prominent position in the management process. The truth and diagnosis of the watershed's environmental situation and the planning of its management both written using the technical jargon of the so-called Basin Plans is that, paradoxically, they have become expressions of a management that is little participative, to the extent that, even among the Committee's participants, few are able to make a proper reading of these documents for the management practice.

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Thus, within the sphere of environmental governance, technical and scientific language does not refer solely to the method, to systematization and to some degree of universality, but is also used in the rhetorical sense: the production of a discourse and its rhetorical and grammatical system, mastered by specific circles.

At this point, it is pertinent to note what may be called environmental truth of the river basin. Notably, the widely accepted rationale about the mastery of specialized knowledge within this space refers to the presumed neutrality of science and technology in decisions that involve a community with varied interests. In this discursive order, technoscience is employed as an impartial instrument that can be imposed for particular political and economic interests, which would not contribute to the general interests or the common good of society as a whole.

This rationale cannot but negate the principle that the governance of water resources necessarily involves varied interests; hence, the extensive use of encoded discourse presumably affects the democratic and parliamentary space which the River Basin Committees presumably are. Participation is undeniably one of the key elements of democratic water governance. But this is not a given that can be identified statically, based on the number of seats or segments represented on a River Basin Committee.

Participation is built on a daily basis and therefore involves a process, which is not necessarily linear.

Economic Instruments For Water Management The Cases Of France Mexico And Brazil

Advances and setbacks can be identified from the profiles of the participating sectors, from attendance at plenary sessions, and from practical involvement in the various tasks required of a Committee. Upon emancipating participation from static information and discussing it as a process, some of the obstacles to its greater development also take on new meanings.

This is because its realization - or achievement - is no longer observed pointwise, allowing it to be interpreted as a permanent negotiation resulting from social disputes, sometimes declared and sometimes veiled, and which to some extent express conflicting worldviews. An example of this is the phenomenon of non-participation. Little studied in the recent literature on the Committees, and largely because of the difficulty in demarcating the theme after all, who should attend? In one of the rare studies about the phenomenon in Brazil, Empinotti suggests that non-participation may also result from pragmatic choices of sectors of civil society, which rationalize the political onslaughts, anticipating the possibilities of one-shot successes or of direct gains in influence on public management.

These impasses include the distance of those elected by civil society to their headquarter institutions; the absence of dialogue between the participating organizations, especially between members and proxies; and the centralization of the demands of civil society by their principal representatives. As the author points out, these exclusionary political practices illustrate the fact that the difficulties of decentralization and participation are not exclusive to the State sector, but extend to the very sectors that require new openings for public management.

With regard specifically to the members of the Committees, some specificities of this participation should be emphasized. As mentioned earlier, several studies have pointed out that the language used in the management practices of the Committees has significant implications for access to information about topics on the management agendas. In general, the people who make use of technoscientific discourse are the representatives of state bureaucracy from the areas of environment, sanitation, energy and, in Committees in rural areas, agriculture and of research institutions and professional associations, who, in turn, are backed by the supporting documents of management activities such as Water Resource Situation Reports and River Basin Plans.

Despite their unquestionable importance in the planning of management activities, the Committees do not contribute to the environmental debate, which makes them essentially technical agencies. They undoubtedly contribute when their goal is to become true "water parliaments. But for their parliamentary objectives - that is, of political assembly - the technical terminology may compromise the intended expansion of participation.

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In this movement of scientification of management, representatives seeking to support their discourse on expert instruments consistently resort to a mode of legitimization of their discourse when facing those who do not master the codes of this expertise. However, this does not mean that those who do not master this knowledge are excluded from the management practice. On the contrary, the participation of these non-experts, and especially their acceptance of the descriptions and requirements of this expertise, are fundamental to the legitimacy of the position of the experts in the governance forum.

Nevertheless, technical reasoning applied to social issues does not forgo its political content. As science and technology are repeatedly put forward by the agents participating in governance as major instruments of regulation of management practices, one sees here a recurring need for justification based on the magnitudes of rationality and efficiency in the political battle. It is precisely this imperative that legitimizes the monopoly of knowledge of certain agents in detriment to others, in order to justify that the policy makes use of technology and science to guide and judge social conduct iii.

Taking as premise the need for justification imperatives about the regime of truth of the management experience, one can demystify the apparent opposition between political management and technical management of water resources.

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On many occasions, this opposition emerges in the speech of committee participants as though it represented the overcoming of the politics in favor of technique, purportedly stripped and devoid of social contradictions. It must be emphasized that this myth only hampers the necessary delimitation of the social side of the Committees. Based on their intended role as legitimate water parliaments, the Committees should be discussed as a stage for dialogue and the composition of interests.

Moreover, underestimating the political dimension of decisions favors the construction of versions that captivate certain management experiences. In this field, the most emblematic case seems to be the myth of the river basin as an eminently technical management unit in the French system of water governance - a notable international reference of a decentralized and participatory form of environmental management. As already discussed elsewhere MARTINS, , the well-known French law of , upon which that country's current management model is designed, articulated what could be classified as territorial dominance of the polytechnic knowledge of the period, based on the physiographic delimitation of drainage basins.


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Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, the division of France's territory into six drainage basins at that time was not the result of an eminently technical decision, based on the perfect demarcation of basins or groups of basins determined based on strictly physiographic criteria. Strictly speaking, the specialists originally intended to divide the country's territory based on the courses of the major national rivers and the portion of partially French rivers. This division would correspond to the creation of eight drainage basins.