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Analyzing Social Networks to Examine the Changing Governance Structure of Springsheds: A Case Study of Sikkim in the Indian Himalayas

  • Sudeshna Maya Sen
  • Aprajita Singh
  • Navarun Varma
  • Divya Sharma
  • Arun KansalEmail author
Article
  • 80 Downloads

Abstract

The governance of natural resources now attracts greater participation of different stakeholders, ushering in a shift from conventional governance by the state to that by a network of stakeholders—a form of governance marked by a growing role of non-state and local actors. These changing dynamics are highlighted through a study of the governance network for springsheds in the Indian Himalayas by empirically mapping the changes in the Dhara Vikas Yojna, a plan or scheme (yojana) by the state for the development (vikas) of springs (dhara) in Sikkim, India, from policy planning to policy implementation. The study highlights the diverse existing and emerging roles of different stakeholders, the complex relationships between them, and the power dynamics that influence the management of springsheds. The study (1) identified some new but missing actors/actor groups that were critical to managing springs; (2) showed that although state governments continue to play a dominant role, decision making is shifting to non-state and local actors; and (3) highlighted the importance of exchanging knowledge and information in implementing a policy more effectively. Understanding the characteristics of the governance network helped in drawing lessons to make the plan more sustainable and replicable, which include considering the policy in the wider context of policies for other sectors such as sanitation and hydropower development, incentivising the emerging actors, and building a stronger interdisciplinary and inclusive knowledge network. Such an integrated approach to policymaking can also be adopted to analyze governance networks related to natural resources other than water.

Keywords

Multi-stakeholder governance networks Actors and relationships Sikkim Power dynamics in governance Indian Himalayan Region 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Ghanashyam Sharma for his valuable suggestions. We also thank all the respondents who participated in the workshop, field discussions, and interviews. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments to an earlier draft of this paper. The study was conducted with funding support from the Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) Research Consortium. The views and opinions in the paper are solely those of the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sudeshna Maya Sen
    • 1
  • Aprajita Singh
    • 1
  • Navarun Varma
    • 2
  • Divya Sharma
    • 1
  • Arun Kansal
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Coca-Cola Department of Regional Water StudiesTERI School of Advanced StudiesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Global Environment Research, Earth Science and Climate Change Division, The Energy and Resources InstituteIndia Habitat CentreNew DelhiIndia

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