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


Contents table
1. The process of developing and nurturing the FAIRWAY MAPs 
2. Overview of FAIRWAY MAP activities 
3. Other MAP contributions to the FAIRWAY project
4. COVID-19

1. The process of developing and nurturing the FAIRWAY MAPs

At the outset of the project, in November 2017, a »Workshop was held on how to establish and nurture MAPs for constructive engagement on water-agriculture related issues was held. All the FAIRWAY MAPs participated in discussions on

  1. how to establish a new engagement platform,
  2. how to bring an existing platform into the project;
  3. how keep track of the respective engagement processed and,
  4. how to analyse the progress, successes and challenges of the different MAPs.

In same workshop, a framework of key dimensions of multi-actor engagement was presented to form a unifying thread through the project and across the cases; highlighting important dimensions of engagement processes (for details see Sundnes, van den Brink et al. 2020). The MAPs were further asked to rank their respective MAPs according to these dimensions, to inspire MAP coordinators to relate to this framework and learn from the suggested approach. This was also done with another purpose in mind, that when carried out again - towards the end of the project - one could track changes in the functioning of the MAPs over time, within the project period.

Following this workshop, all MAPs submitted »Engagement plans with details on plans for engagement in term of actors included and the process of engagement throughout the project

Throughout the project, all MAPs have also reported annually on any activities carried out in the MAPs, including the purpose, participants, and outcomes of these activities. A minimum requirement has been an annual meeting with all MAP participants, while for most of the MAPs, the level of activities has been much higher. Details are given below.

The lead research theme team (consisting of RHDHV and NIVA) has also provided additional support to the newly established MAPs in Greece, Romania, and Slovenia, on how to plan for engagement processes, whom to include in the platform, and how to bring the MAPs into the project.

Half-way through the project, in 2019, an exercise of data collection on the functioning of the MAPs and the performance of the engagement processes was carried out. The aim of this exercise was to get feedback from MAP participants on the performance and functioning of the respective MAPs, and to enable the harvesting of lessons learnt and best practice. This cross-project data collection exercise led to an analysis of successes and bottlenecks of multi-actor engagement and is described in »MAPs as vehicles for resolving drinking water pollution issues, which again formed the basis for two peer reviewed publications (Nesheim, Sundnes et al. 2021, van den Brink, Hoogendoorn et al. 2021).  

2. Overview of FAIRWAY MAP activities

A range of activities have been carried out within the project involving the MAPs, in different ways relating to the establishment and further development of the MAPs, analysis of MAP processes, and experience sharing. FAIRWAY activities involving the MAPs are detailed in Table 3.

Table 3. FAIRWAY WP2 project activities, 2017-2021

Activity Content Participants Place, time
WP2 session at FAIRWAYs kick-off meeting Setting the stage for MAPs in Fairway All partners and MAPs Amersfoort, June 2017
WP2 workshop at FAIRWAYs 1st general meeting Introduction to developing and running MAPs; introduction to engagement plans and activity logs. MAP ranking according to dimensions for engagement. All partners and MAPs Naples, November 2017
WP2 session at FAIRWAYs 2nd general meeting Experience sharing, with special emphasis on Aalborg-Denmark. All partners and MAPs Aalborg, June 2018
LUWQ-conference presentations Multi-actor approaches, and experiences from Norway and Overijssel-Netherlands NIVA, RHDHV Aarhus, May 2019
Data collection For analyses of 10 FAIRWAY MAPs; functioning, achievements and challenges Interviews and survey to MAP participants 2019
WP2 session at FAIRWAYs 3rd general meeting Experience sharing, w special emphasis on cases: Slovenia, Northern Ireland and England. All partners and MAPs Ljubljana, September 2019
Writing workshop (WP2) MAP analyses, towards D2.5 NIVA, RHDHV, AU; based on input from MAPs and MAP participants Copenhagen, November 2019
WP2 session at FAIRWAYs 4th general meeting Experience sharing, with special emphasis on cases Germany, Greece and Overijssel-Netherlands. All partners and MAPs Webinar, December 2020
Publication of FAIRWAY Key Message on MAPs Summary of D2.5s main messages NIVA, RHDHV; based on input from MAPs and MAP participants October 2021
Writing workshop (WP2) MAP analyses, towards D2.2 NIVA, RHDHV Oslo, November 2021
Webinar hosted by NIVA / FAIRWAY

Stakeholder Engagement and Governance Arrangements in European Agricultural Drinking Water Catchments.

Experience sharing: all MAPs, but special emphasis on cases Tunø-Denmark, Slovenia, Overijssel-Netherlands, Brabant-Netherlands, and Germany.

Open webinar; contributions from NIVA, RHDHV, AU, KGZS, LWK, COPA-COCEGA, EurEau, WUR. Special invitation to all MAP participants. ~100 participants. Webinar, November 2021
Special issue in Water “Stakeholder Engagement and Governance Arrangements in Agricultural Catchments” Sundnes F. and S. Langaas (eds.) FAIRWAY contributions: Nesheim, Sundnes et al. (2021), van den Brink, Hoogendoorn (2021) Forthcoming, 2022

Table 4 gives an overview of the different MAPs own engagement activities in the project period, based on activity logs for the duration of the FAIRWAY project. (A more detailed overview per MAP can be found in »Annex I of the full report). The level of activity and the kind of activities carried out varies a lot between the MAPs. Those MAPs with a high level of engagement with farmers are also MAPs where farm visits have already been carried out as part of other overlapping projects and initiatives. It is therefore important to note that this in itself is not a reflection of the functioning of the MAPs, as they all have their own set goals, e.g. on changing farm management practice, improving decision-making processes or stimulating regulative change, that requires different strategies. Moreover, the MAPS are also in different stages of maturity, which also begs different levels and types of engagement. Hence, all MAPs have organized annual stakeholder meetings, while more targeted activities, workshops, meetings, and field visits were facilitated according to the engagement plans of the respective MAPs.

Table 4: Overview of all MAP activities based on respective activity logs, 2017-2021

MAP, country MAP general meetings Farm visits Other MAP meetings/activities
Tunø Island, Denmark Historical reference case. No engagement activities in this period.
Aalborg, Denmark 4 - 10
Anglian Region, England 4 10 19
La Voulzie, France 4 4 20
Lower Saxony, Germany 4 - 4
Axios River / Agios Pavlos, Greece 8 / 6 - 3/4
Derg, Northern Ireland 17 236* -
Overijssel, the Netherlands 4 150* 15
Brabant, the Netherlands 4 290* 54
Vansjø, Norway 16 10 13
Baixo Mondego, Portugal 4 - 3
Arges-Vedea, Romania 4 1 8
Dravsko Polje, Slovenia 4 3 3

*MAPs with a high level of engagement with farmers are also MAPs where farm visits are carried out as part of other overlaping projects and initiatives.

3. Other MAP contributions to the FAIRWAY project

As case studies in the FAIRWAY project, the MAPs have continuously contributed to the fulfilment of the aims of the FAIRWAY project and to individual tasks. All data requests coming from FAIRWAYs work packages (WPs) and information streams from the case studies to the different WPs have been organized by the information structure of the project, coordinated within WP2. Figure 3 gives an overview of the FAIRWAY activities that the MAPs have been part of, and related project outputs. For each case a case-study leader was appointed, tasked with being the primary contact for all matters regarding the data collection in relation to the case studies. For each case study a MAP coordinator was also appointed, responsible for setting-up and facilitating the engagement processes in each case. The case study leader and MAP coordinator have worked closely together, and in some cases these two roles have been taken on by one person. For the sake of feeding project results back to the MAPs and the MAP participants, but also to the general public, a series of infographics and key messages have been produced and shared under the FAIRWAY project.

D7.3 fig01a 1200 x 642

Figure 3. The work packages structure of the FAIRWAY project

A proposal has been submitted to EIP AGRI, to establish a working group on diffuse pollution so that the collaboration between MAPs and case studies can be contimued after the lifetime of FAIRWAY.

4. COVID-19

COVID-19 has heavily impacted on the activities of the FAIRWAY MAPs in the latter part of the project, from early 2020. Restrictions at national or local levels have varied in intensity and scope, but have in most cases made it difficult to carry out meetings, workshops and farm visits as planned. While some MAPs have been able to improvise and adapt to digital modes of interaction, this has been more difficult elsewhere, depending on the kind of actors that are involved, and the extent to which the pandemic has resulted in disruption of the social and business spheres. Most MAPs have however been able to assemble the MAPs for annual meetings also in the last year of the project, and have been able to carry on with activities albeit adapted to circumstances.



For full references to papers quoted in this article see »References

Download the workshop minutes

Download the MAP engagement plans

Download the full report containing Annex I


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