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Institute for Environmental Studies, Free University of Amsterdam (VU-IVM) – Netherlands MP

The Institute for Environmental Studies (Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken, IVM) is the oldest environmental research institute in the Netherlands. Since its creation in 1971, IVM has built up considerable experience in dealing with the complexities of environmental problems. Its purpose is to contribute to sustainable development and the rehabilitation and preservation of the environment through academic research and training. The institute has repeatedly been evaluated as the best Dutch research group in this field.

IVM’s research community of about 100 scientists and support staff addresses challenging environmental problems and offers both pragmatic and innovative solutions. Since 2001 IVM has been a part of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit. The institute has four departments: Biology and Chemistry, Environmental Economics,, Environmental Policy Analysis, and Spatial Analysis and Decision Support. Given the multidisciplinary approach typical for IVM, most of its projects include researchers from more than one department.

The cluster on Water Governance and Economics is focusing on the following topics:

    1 How are responsibilities in water governance shifting? What is the cause of such shifts, what drives them? [Descriptive]
    2 Which criteria for judging institutional performance are particularly relevant for the current time, when there is a strong need for adaptive water management? [Normative]
    3 Which institutional arrangements (hybrids of pure
institutions) are best suitable for meeting modern water management demands? [Prescriptive].

Dr. Dave Huitema specializes in public administration and policy. His focus is on the management of government decision processes, the problems of institutional change and adaptive governance, and citizen involvement in public decision-making. Huitema is cluster coordinator of IVM’s Water governance and Economics group and coordinator of the ‘Policy and Management’ module of the IVM’s masters’ program ERM.

Huitema’s current work for IVM includes the study of Adaptive Governance regimes in water management under the European Union funded ‘NeWater’ project (www.newater.net). He leads a four-year study on the management of multi-level public decision processes called ‘Shifting water administration into higher gear’ (together with Ph.D. Student Wouter Egas and researchers from the University of Twente). The project is paid for by the Dutch research program ‘Living with water’ (www.levenmetwater.nl). This program also sponsors the research project ‘Limits to participation’ in which Dave Huitema is involved together with Leontien Bos and researchers from the government research institute RIZA. Finally, Huitema currently heads the IVM contribution to the formal evaluation of the Environment Act (http://www.evaluatiemilieuwetgeving.nl/), and participates in two EU funded research projects called ADAM and AQUAMONEY.

Jetske Bouma is a researcher in the field of environmental and development economics at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before joining IVM, Jetske worked for 4 years as a resource economist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Hyderabad, India and for 4 years as an environmental economist/policy advisor at the Institute for Inland Water Management (RIZA) of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (V&W). At RIZA, Jetske was, amongst other things, project leader of an interdepartmental project on the organization of the Dutch water services sector, delegate to the EC Expert group on Water and Economics (WATECO), facilitating the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive, and member of the project ‘de Baten van Water’, developing a framework for the valuation of water-related benefits. At IWMI, Jetske was involved in several projects, among which an ADB funded project on pro-poor strategies for irrigation, a SDC/FAO funded project on livestock-environment interactions in semi-arid watersheds and an IWMI/Comprehensive Assessment project on strategies for dryland crop yield improvement. Inaddition, she worked on her PhD research “Voluntary cooperation in the provision of a semi-public good: Community-based soil and water conservation in semi-arid India”.

At IVM, Jetske focuses on research linking developmental and environmental issues, i.e. poverty reduction,natural resource management and the environment, and adaptive governance. In addition, she is currently involved in the implementation of the European Water framework directive in the Scheldt basin and in the EU funded GEO-BENE project, assessing the benefits of global earth observation information for environmental resource management.