By Dr. Peter Kamminga – In negotiations over the use of water resources, a zero-sum approach (meaning gains to one party are always balanced by losses to others) is generally taken. However, if the stakeholders in (boundary crossing) water projects set as their goal that they ought to try to meet the objectives of the various stakeholders simultaneously, there is a chance they will be able to invent ingenious ways of stretching resources or using the same resources in a number of different ways so that the interests of all parties can be met. How to do this is discussed in Dealing with complex water negotiations: adopting a non-zero sum approach.
Kamminga, Cecchi Dimeglio and Susskind explain why agreements over water can best be achieved by organizing informal problem-solving forums that enable water users and water network managers to move from zero-sum to non-zero sum thinking. They use actual examples in which these techniques have been applied. They describe how such problem-solving forums ought to be organized and how to increase the chances they will be successful. Continue reading
By Dr. Geert Roovers – Infrastructure management is becoming more and more complex. Uncertainties rise, policy fields get intertwined, budgets are under pressure and demands from politicians, stakeholders and users need constant attention. In this climate asset management is rising in public management, and seems to be an answer to every new challenge. But what are the consequences of this rise for public infrastructure managers? What challenges are they facing? This essay explores these challenges. An exploration which sets the agenda for new competencies for modern infrastructural managers.
Planning of infrastructure is becoming more and more difficult
Modern infrastructural asset management has to deal with many challenges. It has to deal with more and more uncertainties, climatic as well as socio-economical. It has to deal with demands from politicians and society. Bad performance of intensively used networks is less and less tolerated, while available budgets are cut. Finally, more and more stakeholders have to be taken into account while planning and implementing asset management. Continue reading
By Arjan Hijdra – The universal framing of infrastructure is that these structures are crucial for a prosperous society. Politicians and decision-makers worldwide stress the socio-economic importance. But if we dig a bit deeper, it is not that easy to ensure this potential is realized. When developing a road, railroad, port basin and so on, there are numerous variables which can be altered. In the stress and pressure of development, with deadlines and financial risks all around, it is hard to remain calm and tweak exactly the right elements of the project to optimize its value. Reducing risk and complexity and avoiding delays it usually the day to day priority. But leaving value on the table is a loss for society in general, and certainly for the developers involved. So in a nutshell, how exactly is value to be realized? Continue reading
By Arjan Hijdra – Before I got to write this first sentence, I have been switching the words seriously and unserious multiple times. I’m not sure whether the sequence is now exactly right; perhaps I will switch them once more. What I’d like to say about it, is that infrastructure is seriously important. And that is not only because it happens to be my personal field of interest. No, there is hardly any worldleader, politician, investor or economist who will argue the opposite. So, that is settled then. Infrastructure is seriously important. And not only seriously important, it costs seriously lots of cash, and it has serious impacts on society in a broad sense. Positive, but negative impacts just as well. So in short, infrastructure comes with truckloads, trainloads and shiploads of seriousness, to stay in the terminology. Continue reading