The 2030 Agenda as agenda setting event for water governance? Evidence from the Cuautla River Basin in Morelos, Mexico. Water 2020

Breuer, Anita / Ursula Oswald Spring
Externe Publikationen (2020)

in: Water 12 (2) (Online)

DOI: 10.3390/w12020314

Policy science has developed various approaches, such as agenda-setting and goal-setting theory, aimed at explaining the emergence of policy shifts and behavioural changes. The 2030 Agenda sets an ambitious vision for human development in times of global environmental change and makes for an interesting subject to study the explanatory power of these approaches. While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enshrined in the 2030 Agenda resulted from a process of intergovernmental negotiations, they will ultimately have to be implemented by national governments. Using the case of Mexico, we take the governance of water as a starting point to investigate whether the 2030 Agenda has indeed become a focusing event for sustainability transformation. Building on data from 33 expert interviews and findings of a Social Network Analysis of communications between water stakeholders from different sectors in the Cuautla River Basin, we conclude that major paradigm shifts in water governance in Mexico are thus far rather attributable to domestic focusing events and windows of opportunity than to the motivating impact of globally set goals. The Mexican case also illustrates that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is strongly dependent on political will at the highest level. Ensuring the continuity of its implementation across administrations will, therefore, require mainstreaming and anchoring the SDGs into the sectorial strategies that determine activities at the lower working level of government.

About the author

Breuer, Anita

Political Scientist


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Scientist 

Brandi, Clara

Economist and Political Scientist 

Dombrowsky, Ines


Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Scientist 

Hernandez, Ariel

Political Scientiest 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Environmental Researcher 

Janus, Heiner

Political Scientist 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Scientist 

Kloke-Lesch, Adolf

Urban and regional planner 

Koch, Svea

Social Scientist 

Laudage, Sabine


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Richerzhagen, Carmen

Agricultural and Environmental Economist 

Schoderer, Mirja

Environmental Researcher 

Scholz, Imme


Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Sturm, Janina

Economist and political scientist 

Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economist 

Wehrmann, Dorothea


Weinlich, Silke

Political Scientist