MAPs sq

In this section of FAIRWAYiS we discuss how to actively use and further develop the Multi-Actor Platforms (MAP) approach with actors at primarily case study level and to some extent national levels as a base for executing the FAIRWAY project in close dialogue and involvement with key actors to ensure relevancy and maximum impact. To track and analyse successes and failures of the MAP approach to advance beyond state of art the understanding of and practices of MAPs in such cases. We show how to:

  • ensure optimal involvement and engagement of the key actors, with clear roles for those engaged at case-study and national levels to ensure relevancy and maximum impact of the various research and innovation activities of the project;
  • train, facilitate and support the execution of MAPs processes to ensure maximum number of successful execution and deployment in the WPs;
  • and revise and upgrade of Water Safety Plans in several case studies with actively use of MAPs.


Main authors: Frode Sundnes, Alma. de Vries, Cors van den Brink
FAIRWAYiS editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: »Sundnes, F. et al. (2021) Multi-actor platforms in the FAIRWAY project: summary of activities and experiences. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.2, 30 pp


Results from this research task have also been published as scientific papers:

  • Nesheim I, Sundnes F, Enge C, Graversgaard M, van den Brink C, Farrow L, Glavan M, Hansen B, Leitão IA, Rowbottom J, Tendler L. Multi-Actor Platforms in the Water–Agriculture Nexus: Synergies and Long-Term Meaningful Engagement. Water. 2021; 13(22):3204
  • van den Brink, C.; Hoogendoorn, M.; Verloop, K.; de Vries, A.; Leendertse, P. Effectiveness of Voluntary Measures to Reduce Agricultural Impact on Groundwater as a Source for Drinking Water: Lessons Learned from Cases in the Dutch Provinces Overijssel and Noord-Brabant. Water 2021, 13, 3278.

In reviewing current approaches and measures for protection of drinking water resources against pollution from agriculture, the FAIRWAY project identified and developed innovative measures and governance approaches for more effective drinking water protection. The use of multi-actor platforms (MAPs) to facilitate effective cooperation between actors of different sectors and levels, including farmers, advisors, drinking water companies, scientists, and policy makers was an important part of that process. FAIRWAY worked in 11 countries with 13 case studies that use such a multi-actor approach.

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Figure 1

In this section of FAIRWAYiS we provide a summary of the MAPs, their activities, and some experiences through the course of the project. Firstly, we present the project’s take on multi-actor approaches, and give a brief introduction to some key dimensions that have been important for the development and analyses of the MAPs.
»Multi-actor engagement in FAIRWAY

Then we provide an overview of all of FAIRWAY MAPs; their history, their respective constitution and characteristics, as well as a summary of achievements and challenges.
»Overview of FAIRWAY MAPs

Further, we explain the steps we have taken in the project to establish new platforms or enrol existing platforms in the project, and give an account of the project activities as well as an overview of the level of activity in the respective MAPs.
»MAP activities

We discuss some of the changes over time based on an assessment by the different MAP coordinators on the functioning of the MAPs, at the start of the project and towards the end,
»Changes over time

before highlighting some key findings of the project with regards to multi-actor engagement.
»Conclusions and recommendations on engagement


Related articles

Main authors: Cors van den Brink, Sarah Zernitz, Alma de Vries
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: »van den Brink, C. et al. (2021) Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Water Safety Plans. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.4, 97 pp


Safe drinking water is vital for the health and wellbeing of all. However, providing safe drinking water can be a complex challenge. In this section of FAIRWAYiS we delve into the topic of Water Safety Planning for adequate drinking water protection for small and large supplies. Our aim is to stimulate the improvement of drinking water safety across the European Union by sharing context, best practices and lessons learned on Water Safety Planning (WSP) for both small and large water supplies.

We start by exploring the global and European context for safe water provision in the Sustainable Development Goals and EU Drinking Water Directive. Water Safety Planning (WSP) is a specific step-wise approach involving comprehensive risk assessment and risk management (RA/RM) and covering all steps in the water supply system.

The 13 FAIRWAY case studies were surveyed to see whether or not a WSP (or equivalent) is in place within their location. Further questions were asked to distill more details on the WSP approach: on the register of water supplies, RA/RM, communication and awareness, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities.
»Approach and methodology

It was found that in most case studies some form of agreed methodology for RA/RM / Water Safety Planning is in place, often embedded in national regulations. There are differences between case studies whether the same regulations apply to large and small supplies. Also the responsible authority/authorities vary between the case studies, although, in most the water supply company is responsible for RA/RM.
»Water safety planning

Key lessons learned are that

  1. engagement of stakeholders is essential during all phases of RA/RM / Water Safety Planning;
  2. the designation of a process owner helps in bringing together departments and stakeholders, spreading information throughout organizations and providing congruence between different RA/RM systems; and
  3. an agreed upon methodology and content enhances the effectiveness of Water Safety Planning and cooperation and communication between those involved.

The information from the FAIRWAY case studies mainly applies to large supplies. Nevertheless, we make some recommendations for small supplies based on general information on water safety planning and experience and procedures used for small supplies. In the case of small supplies, a main challenge is the limited availability of specialized knowledge and expertise, and access to information and technical support. It is recommended to assess the risks, for example via a quick scan, by analysing the specific vulnerability and local threats. Furthermore, small suppliers can be aided by developing networks for cooperation, for example in such a way that small suppliers can cooperate with large suppliers to get access to necessary competence and knowledge.
»Lessons learned and recommendations


Related articles

Main authors: Frode Sundnes, Cors van den Brink, Morten Graversgaard
iSQAPERiS editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: »Sundnes, F et al. (2020) Advancing MAPs as vehicles for resolving issues on drinking water pollution from agriculture. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.5R, 56 pp


In this section of FAIRWAYiS we critically assess the multi-actor platform engagement processes in ten of FAIRWAY's case studies. We look at lessons learned and map opportunities and bottlenecks for meaningful engagement, shed light on challenges and how they have been addressed, and explore the future sustainability of the engagement platforms beyond the lifetime of the project.

Public participation and stakeholder involvement have long been considered central in policy and planning processes. FAIRWAY's MAPs are either engagement platforms that pre-existed the project and which have been brought in to contribute to the research themes, or they have been set up under the auspices of the project. We discuss the framework of dimensions we have used for analysis of meaningful engagement processes.
»Multi-actor engagement

In 2019 all MAPs carried out either a survey or a set of interviews to provide input to the FAIRWAY's MAP analyses. The aim of this exercise was to get feedback from MAP participants on the performance and functioning of the MAPs, and to enable the harvesting of lessons and best practice.
»Case-wise methods for analyses of multi-actor platforms

Issues of trust between participants and actors is flagged as a cross-cutting issue, relating to all other dimensions of engagement, requiring facilitation and long-term commitment. Across the project, the MAPs seem successful in creating arenas for dialogue and exchange of information and viewpoints. However, three years into the project many of the MAPs are still short of seeing real impact of the processes in terms of reaching established goals. There is evidence from some MAPs that the lack of impact might jeopardise the engagement processes, creating disappointment or fatigue on the part of the participating actors. It is reported that building relationships and fostering good relations and common understanding requires long-term commitment and takes time. When coupled with awareness-raising amongst key actors, it also takes time for change to take place, for instance the changing farming practices. Voluntariness in terms of implementation of measures is considered something that can help in the trust-building process, but that also constitutes a barrier for effective implementation. There are also apparent differences in perspectives within the MAPs, on whether the facilitation of dialogues is to be considered a success-factor in itself, or whether success only can be determined when there are real impacts with reference to set goals.  
»Analysis and discussion


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