River Basin Multi-Stakeholder Platforms

the practice of ‘good water governance’ in Afghanistan


  • Vincent Thomas Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit
  • Jeroen Warner Wageningen University


The article describes local realities and contextual circumstances in Afghanistan which are
influencing cooperation on water sharing during dry years. The contribution assesses the
performance of multi-stakeholder platforms for water management as a ‘good’ water governance
model promoted by the European Union in Afghanistan’s post-civil war environment. Based on
interviews with key stakeholders held in 2011-12, and using criteria derived from (a) the new
Afghanistan Water Law and (b) MSP literature, especially Verhallen, Warner, and Santbergen
(2007), we scrutinize water management and conflict resolution in two sub-basins in North
Afghanistan, the Lower Kunduz and the Taloqan, singled out as pilots for the new model, in two
very dry years: 2008 and 2011.The article concludes that there is a predictable implementation
gap between models and practices. It highlights that 7 years after the introduction of good
governance models, water allocation is still driven by what may appear as a darker side of governance.
The article questions whether it actually is for the worst, including when it comes to limiting
inequity in water access and preventing conflicts.


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How to Cite

Thomas, V. ., & Warner, J. . (2014). River Basin Multi-Stakeholder Platforms: the practice of ‘good water governance’ in Afghanistan. International Journal of Water Governance, 2(2-3), 105–132. Retrieved from https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/ijwg/article/view/5924