Water Governance : Policy, Politics and Regulation in Honduras

Abstract: Water governance exerts an impact on the socio-politic life of Honduras. For instance, the new legal framework changes institutions. New water organisations are created, and new processes and proceedings are proposed. These times when strategies from developed countries are transferred to developing countries, such as water governance, the need for an evaluation is desirable to disentangle the problems and to look forward at opportunities and find alternatives. The journey from government to governance describes the change from the traditional government behaviour towards new governance. In countries like Honduras, as in developing countries, this change describes a complex process in which the imported strategies are conflicting with existing established socio-political patterns. The new water management approach as applied in Honduras needs to take into account the socio-political reality and the availability of resources, if the water governance process would gain relevance. Honduras is a relatively new democratic country after many years of military regime, thus the government needs also to be part of the governance process. This doctoral thesis studies and highlights the characteristics of the traditional Honduran government approach, and the effects that the new governance approach has posed in the country. The difficulties emerging from this shift of approaches are discussed, and explored. The research finds support in the exploration of Honduran political and institutional sociological history to elaborate the causes and motives for current governmental attitudes. The research relates to concepts of development strategies, institutionalism and regulation modes. This thesis argues that governance has achieved a pseudo empirical implementation in Honduras, and that new mechanisms need to be devised to balance the suggested governance mode using new notions of regulatory space, and the theoretical meta-governance approach, in order to balance between the imported measures and the reality. New governance theoretical notions are exposed to encourage and explore new alternatives for the water governance in the Honduras context. It is necessary to realise that institutional changes occur in a long-term adjustment period in order to build trust among actors and water authorities. Moreover, this thesis deems it pertinent that the government as the voter-elected entity should take the decisive lead of the governance approach.