Institutional change in water management at the local and provincial levels in Uzbekistan
The dis-integration of the Soviet Union has led to changes in agricultural and
natural resource management in the Central Asian successor states. These changes
affected not only the international and national levels of governance but also the
provincial and local level governance of the different republics. The focus of the
research is on institutional change at the local level in the agricultural sector in
Uzbekistan. The study area is located in the downstream regions of the Amu Darya
basin, in the Khorezm province and the Karakalpakstan republic. Since the year 2000
a small number of state and collective farms have been privatised and farm
organisations and water users associations have been established.
The thesis deploys political theory, social theory and new institutional
economics to analyse and examine institutions and institutional change and to analyse
local level transformations. Particular attention is given to key stakeholders in the
agricultural sector and in water management organisations at the local and provincial
levels and to how they implemented the change.
The main findings of the thesis first, confirm that institutions reduce
negotiation and discourse costs by providing a structure for contention and
accommodation. However, the findings indicate that institutions also have negative
effects, because they reflect and reinforce old power relations and therefore can be
exploited to serve the interests of privileged former stakeholders. The second main
finding is that institutions and their ability to effect change is determined by the power
of influential stakeholders, who enable or reject change.
The findings of the thesis are important for those developing strategies for the
creation of bottom-up movements, and also for the social engineering and
reengineering of larger institutions and organisations. The findings will be especially
significant for those involved in land and water reform processes and in the
privatisation of governmental industries.