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Science-policy nexus: using resource directed measures as policy implementation strategies to promote integrated water resource management, South Africa

IWRA 2021 Online Conference One Water, One Health
Theme 5: How can science better inform public policy, governance and capacity building for water, food and health?
Author(s): S.M. Nzama, T.O.B. Kanyerere

S.M. Nzama1 and T.O.B. Kanyerere2
1. Reserve Determination, Department of Water and Sanitation, Pretoria, South Africa
2. Department of Earth Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

Keyword(s): Science-policy nexus, policy implementation, resource directed measures, water resource management, South Africa


(a) Purpose or objectives and status of study or research hypothesis
This paper provides a practical case-study of how science-policy integration can directly impacts water resource management practices from a local, regional, and national perspective.

(b) Key issue(s) or problem(s) addressed
Water resources protection and management is vital towards adequate availability of good quality water for health and food security. However, in order to appropriately respond and meet the most water resource challenges of the 21st century which pose a threat to water availability, use of scientific knowledge in the development and implementation of rationale and evidencebased policies is important. Understanding of science-policy integration, where physical bases of natural science is combined with practice in managing real life challenges becomes critical in translating scientific knowledge into effective sustainability policies.

(c) Methodology or approach used
A combination of literature review on science-policy nexus, document analysis of water resources management practices, and a case study of South Africa on the application of sciencepolicy nexus in policy implementation towards water resources protection was used.

(d) Results and conclusions derived from the project
Based on the result analysis, three types of science-policy nexus theoretical models exist in practice, namely, 1) science-policy integration, 2) policy-science integration, and 3) mixed integration. Based on the presented case study, it is evident that South Africa is able to practically apply science-policy nexus in policy implementation practice for water resources protection and management, and such practical case study depicts a mixed integration model of the nexus. In addition, there is adequate evidence to indicate that science-policy nexus can be designed and prioritized to support the sustainable development agenda to better inform public policy, governance, and capacity building for water, food, and health.

(e) Implications of the project relevant to selected conference theme, theory and/or practice
This study provides a model for collaborations between researchers and/or scientists and policy makers to ensure that science research is answering policy-relevant questions and that results from scientific work are readily available for policy implementation. While this study was carried out in a single country (South Africa), it demonstrates how policy-science and science-policy interfaces can be operationalized efficiently and effectively. It is likely that the analytical approach developed and tested in this study can be readily extrapolated to other settings, particularly in developing countries where science-policy integration remains a challenge for meeting water availability for health and food security.

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