Keywords: international watercourses, water wars, water resources governance, RBOs, river basin organisations, effectiveness, institutional design, sustainable development, sustainability, river basins, collective action
Navigating cooperation beyond the absence of conflict: mapping determinants for the effectiveness of river basin organisations
River basin organisations (RBOs) have made important contributions to the mitigation of waterrelated international collective action problems, decreasing the likelihood of water wars. However, the state of many of the world's rivers remains challenged by environmental degradation and the unilateral exploitation of natural resources. This suggests that RBOs have not been sufficiently effective in ensuring the sustainable development of river basins, which entails the possible (re)emergence of collective action problems. Moreover, RBOs vary significantly in their effectiveness across river basins. This paper develops a theoretical framework for the assessment of the different determinants of RBO effectiveness that can be used for studying the effectiveness of existing RBOs and deriving policy options for improvement. It is found that the effectiveness of RBOs in governing river basins largely depends on their institutional design, but it is also influenced by underlying structural factors related to each basin's problem and the situationstructure.