Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.5194/hess-12-223-2008
Title (Primary) Institutional design and regime effectiveness in transboundary river management - the Elbe water quality regime
Author Dombrowsky, I.
Source Titel Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Year 2008
Department OEKON
Volume 12
Issue 1
Page From 223
Page To 238
Language englisch
Abstract The literature on transboundary river management suggests that institutions play an important role in bringing cooperation about. However, the knowledge on how they should be designed in order to do so remains limited. One way to learn more about adequate institutional design is to assess the effectiveness of existing regimes, and to trace the causal relationships leading to the respective outcomes. In order to gain further insights into the relationship of institutional design and regime effectiveness, this paper presents a study on the water quality regime of the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe (ICPE). The analysis is based on a review of pertinent documents and ten qualitative interviews with Czech and German Commission members and NGO representatives. Particular emphasis has been put on determining the ICPE's specific contribution and the no-regime counterfactual as well as on the perceived expedience of the institutional arrangements. The study shows that overall due to external as well as internal institutional factors the ICPE proved relatively successful, and as such it also provides insights into how institutions matter: The commission served as platform for joint problem solving by identifying priorities for action. These international obligations increased the power of national administrations and their access to funds. At the same time, the Commission's reporting to the public served as an enforcement mechanism. However, the ICPE's contribution towards achieving the various goals varied significantly between the different areas of activity. It was high where the main responsibility for action was with the public authorities, such as in the area of wastewater treatment and the establishment of an international alarm plan and model. It was practically non existent in the reduction of non-point pollution from agriculture, where the success depended on the behavior of individual private actors (farmers). From a methodological point of view, the paper shows opportunities and limits of a combined quantitative and qualitative approach in determining regime effectiveness.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Dombrowsky, I. (2008):
Institutional design and regime effectiveness in transboundary river management - the Elbe water quality regime
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 12 (1), 223 - 238 10.5194/hess-12-223-2008