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Public participation under authoritarianism: a case study of water management in Jordan

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Author: Peng, Yeehua
In order to address the country’s increasing water stress, Jordan’s most recent national water strategy urges citizens to take an active role in promoting water awareness as a means to lower water demand. This is framed by the state as a positive development toward incorporating public participation into its water management. At the same time, power sharing among different stakeholders is a primary component of effective public participation initiatives. Thus, to what extent can an authoritarian regime encourage and develop genuine methods of public participation in its policy development and administration? This paper will argue (1) in the context of authoritarian regimes, real participation requires political reform, and that such a transformation is unlikely given the propensity of authoritarian regimes to centralize power, and (2) the international community has facilitated existing state-societal relations by altogether neglecting this relationship while making significant contributions to the state.
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