A review of current capacity development practice for fostering groundwater sustainability

A review of current capacity development practice for fostering groundwater sustainability

By: Konstantin W. Scheihing, Christina M.Fraser, Claudia Ruz Vargas, Neno Kukurić, Elisabeth Lictevout.


Groundwater for Sustainable Development, Volume 19, November 2022, 100823.


The UN-Water SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework - launched in 2020 - emphasizes the strategic role capacity development holds for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water. As groundwater represents 97% of the world's available freshwater resources, achieving groundwater sustainability marks a central issue in this effort. The given systematic review provides a synthesis of current practice in groundwater capacity development. Drawing from international literature we provide a groundwater-specific panorama of the three central components of a capacity development cycle, namely stakeholder-dependent capacity assessment, capacity development implementation as well as success verification and monitoring mechanisms. Generic capacity development responses were observed to run the risk of being ineffective. In the framework of the review, an overview of field-proven groundwater capacity development modules is developed, synthesizing underlying learning processes, outputs and outcomes. Providing such an inventory is expected to help overcome generic approaches and to lower the barriers to case-dependent tailoring of groundwater capacity development interventions. Further, we find that current groundwater capacity development success evaluation is in large part missing a rigorous scientific lens. This condition limits the ability to objectively derive case-dependent best-practice recommendations for upscaling and increasing groundwater capacity development impacts. Possible ways ahead are discussed. With the given review we intend to foster reciprocal learning among practitioners and promote capacity development in its role as an SDG 6 accelerator. The results are of interest for capacity development practice in sustainable development in general.

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