Water Policy

Why are so many water and environmental issues not prominent on political agendas? Why are so many policy plans not implemented (fully)? How can we learn from implementation? In this course we introduce you to ways of understanding the complexities of policy and offer approaches to deal with it.

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For whom?

Mid-career professionals working in a water policy domain (national, flood, basin, urban, irrigation system, etc.), working at public/private organisations, academia or NGOs. The course is specifically for people without a background in policy sciences, but who are involved in policy (e.g. as expert policy advisors, planners, implementers, evaluators, etc.).

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 23 January 2023
End: 03 February 2023
ECTS credit points: 3
Deadline IHE application: 22 December 2022 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 3500

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  1. Use policy theories to describe and explain water policy making and implementation processes
  2. Critically assess underlying theories (cause-effect relations, normative assumptions, means-ends relations) in water and environmental policy implementation and management plans
  3. Explain and critically reflect on how policy is made at field level (the role of implementers in interaction with target groups)
  4. Able to critically evaluate policy on impact for policy learning

Course content

In the course we introduce the students to theories of the policy process and together with them we analyse policy making: how do issues enter the agenda, the role of policy brokers and events. We discuss how policy formulation is both an analytical process as well as a political. We ask questions why most policies only change incrementally, even when large changes are needed for sustainable development. In the course the participants will use tools and frameworks to analyse processes and content of policy and apply it to their own case. During the course we evaluate and study policy plan itself and the process of making and implementation.

Topics addressed in the course are:

  • Policy change and stability
  • Policy theories (incl. multiple streams, punctuated equilibrium, advocacy coalitions,)
  • Assessing a policy plan
  • Policy formulation
  • Policy implementation
  • Policy evaluation for impact
  • Policy translation and transfer
  • Policy learning

With this course we aim to create a better understanding of the complexities of policy. How are policies formulated (by who, who decides?). Next, we will study (water) policy plans, to better understand the feasibility of implementation and the role these plans play in policy. We reflect on policy as an interaction of people (implementers and target groups of policy, and others), their policy beliefs, resources and abilities, and motivations and interests. Therefor the participants will also reflect on their own role as water professional in making water policy. We reflect on various approaches to policy learning. First, evaluation for realizing impacts (as learning from implementation), and second, learning from other places (policy transfer and translation).

In the course we will invite professionals involved in water policy planning and implementation to present and discuss their dilemmas in water policy.

Throughout the course the participants will present and discuss their work (analysis of their case) to each other.


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