Descriptions for the five Case Studies

Case study descriptions

Below you can find tentative descriptions for the five case studies included into the WAT-E2080 course: you will be working on one case study, with student groups for the case studies selected during our first Contact Session.

The different cases present different scales and contexts related to (water) governance. The ultimate focus and context of the case will be decided together with the students groups during the first Case Study Sessions. 

Global water governance & Sustainable Development Goals SDGs (global)

Your Case Study focuses on global scale, and looks at the governance of Sustainable Development Goals i.e. SDGs (, with specific focus on water-related SDG 6. For this reason, you will also look at the role that UN-Water and other key organisations have in the SDG implementation.  

The SDGs are globally agreed objectives for international development, setting the agenda for sustainable development until year 2030. The SDGs process is led by the United Nations, but their implementation is the common responsibility for all of us. While there is also a water-specific SDG (SDG6), several other goals are closely linked to water as well. Within the UN system, UN-Water coordinates the efforts of UN entities and other international organizations working on water and sanitation issues: it is not, however, an organisation but rather a coordinating body, making its mandate more mixed than that of traditional UN organisations. 

Mekong River (macro-regional)

Your Case Study focuses on regional scale with multiple countries, and looks at the governance related to transboundary Mekong River. The Mekong is shared by six South-East Asian countries of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The river basin is seeing one of the most rapid hydropower development in the world, which is making transboundary cooperation in the region particularly important – and challenging.

In terms of actual water resources management within the river basin, they key organisation is the regional Mekong River Commission (MRC) that have four lower Mekong Basin countries as its members ( Increasingly important is also newer, China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism and its Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center. In terms of entire Mekong Region and its economic development, the key organisation is the ADB-led Greater Mekong Subregion Programme ( Your analysis can focus on either one or all of these organisations, and their role for transboundary water governance in the region. 

EU water governance (macro-regional)

Your case study focuses on water governance at the level of European Union (EU), with a focus on the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), a key instrument to guide water resources management in the EU member states. You can also consider other water-related directives.

Your group will take a view on the EU environmental governance system by describing the main institutional arrangements and identifying the main actors involved in the related decision-making and implementation. Special focus could be paid to the comprehensive evaluation of the WFD, conducted in 2019 (Fitness check of the EU Water Legislation 2019).

Collaborative governance in Finland: Case Kokemäenjoki Water Vision (sub-national)

Your case study focuses on water governance at the river basin level in Finland. You will examine a voluntary collaborative water governance process, called Water Vision process, in the river Kokemäenjoki river basin (Vesivisio 2050).

A Water Vision is a collective vision for the future use of the shared water resource that integrates different, sometimes conflicting interests on environmental water protection and water use (e.g. hydropower production vs. fisheries). The underlying idea is that collaboratively developed vision improves its acceptance and facilitates the implementation of identified actions. Your work will focus specifically on describing and analyzing the formation of a Water Vision in the case study area.

Please note that most of the material for this case study is available in Finnish only. 

Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY (local)

Your Case Study focuses on local scale, and looks at the governance structure of the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY (

HSY is a municipal body that produces waste management and water services, and provides information on the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and environment. It is thus a major player in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, employing over 700 people and investing annually over 100 million euros to water and environmental infrastructure and services. 

Your task is to look at the general governance structure as well as selected specific aspects of the HSY related e.g. to water supply arrangements & investments and/or HSY's sustainability strategy.    

Please note that part of the material for this case study is available in Finnish only.