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The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

PolitikonMagalie Bourblanc has written an article for Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (Volume 42, Issue 2, 2015)

Title: The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

Abstract: With its ‘ecological reserve’, South African National Water Act of 1998 is perceived as one of the most ambitious Water Acts in the world from an environmental perspective. At first sight, this ‘ecological reserve’ provision could be mistaken for a typical case of North–South policy transfer when actually it was initially engineered by the Department of Water Affairs and its civil engineers in the 1970s–1980s. The paper shows the renewed influence of the scientific community over the definition of the concept during the debate leading to the adoption of the Water Reform Act in the mid-1990s. While investing in the international arena, South African hydro-ecologists managed to reinforce their position in the domestic arena at the same time. Therefore, we demonstrate complex interdependence between domestic and international levels benefiting this travelling concept. Finally, we emphasize that for hydroecologists, the international arena was never a resource already there but an opportunity created.

Read the full article in Politikon

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