Adaptive governance: a catalyst for advancing sustainable urban transformation in the global South

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive governance has been proposed by many scholars as an approach to sustainable resource management, and has subsequently been applied in many countries. While the conceptual origins of adaptive governance have largely emerged from the global North, there has been little critical attention to the utility of adaptive governance concepts in the global South. Through a qualitative meta-analysis of adaptive governance scholarship published between 2000 and 2018, this article characterizes the key attributes of adaptive governance in the global North and examines whether these attributes are present in contemporary scholarship on the global South. In doing so, the article confirms that adaptive governance principles are present, but reveals distinctions regarding how these manifest in the global South. The article proposes a guiding framework to advance the design and implementation of future adaptive governance interventions in the global South.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-838
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Water Resources Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Adaptive capacity
  • adaptive governance
  • global South
  • resource management
  • urban water management

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