The EU Water Initiative: A Network Perspective

Adapted from a paper presented by Dr David Benson and Dr Camilla Adele at Governance Innovation Week, University of Pretoria, 1-5 June 2015.

June 2015

As internal European Union (EU) environmental policy reaches a stage of relative maturity,1 there is increasing focus on how the EU can influence the governance of environmental issues, not only inside but also outside of its borders. This ‘external environmental governance’ seeks to transfer EU environmental norms, principles, and polices well beyond their legal jurisdiction.2 This type of governance has led to a move away from traditional hierarchical means of transferring environmental norms, principles, and policies (e.g. through top down regulation), towards an increasing reliance on more horizontal forms of governance such as transnational policy networks. These networks span international boundaries and comprise of both state and non-state actors come together around shared policy problems in relatively horizontal and informal patterns of social relations. The use of this type of transnational networks is particularly evident in the EU’s external water policy and specifically its EU Water Initiative (EUWI). The purpose of this policy brief is to analyse how effective the use of transnational networks are in the transferring of EU environmental norms, principles and policies. To do this, the brief examines one regional component (or network) of the EUWI, namely the African Working Group (AWG).

Read more: PB Benson and Adelle