Water is linked to all SDGs - directly or indirectly. The figure illustrates three groups of SDGs that are 1) strongly related to water, 2) related to water or 3) indirectly related to water
How Can Culture Help Us Learn and Change?

A Key Question in Adapting to Water Challenges






More than ever before, there is an urgent need for people to find a path to more sustainable and resilient development. A looming water crisis has reached the top of the international agenda, exacerbated by climate change, which is most acutely expressed through water. The main changes will be in precipitation and evaporation, with extremes of too much and too little water impacting humans and connected ecosystems. Changes in weather patterns and seasonality as well as the melting of ice will affect the availability of water, including during crop growth seasons. With increasing pressure on water systems, this will also affect water quality and put stress on connected ecosystems. Transformations and adaptations are urgently needed to address these issues, and in the search for approaches that accelerate adaptation, social learning has been identified as crucial. However, social learning approaches are often framed as technical or scientific learning, not giving sufficient attention to the important role played by culture and heritage. Integrating culture and heritage in social learning approaches in the area of water governance could boost the human ability to adapt and bring about needed change.

How to Cite

Johannessen, Åse. (2022). How Can Culture Help Us Learn and Change? A Key Question in Adapting to Water Challenges. Blue Papers, 1(1), 25–33. https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2022.1.02





challenges, concepts and new approaches

Author Biography

Åse Johannessen, Deltares

Water, ecosystem, risk and resilience expert with more than 20 years’ professional experience with a diverse portfolio of empirical research, project and program management, knowledge brokering and policy work in Swedish, European, African and international contexts. Her main areas of expertise are adaptation, risk reduction and resilience building in different income contexts. This includes governance and collaboration in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), urban water services and integrated planning in various ecosystems and urban areas. She has a PhD in risk management from Lund University and has carried out a postdoc at TU Delft, the Netherlands and Lund University. As of 1 March 2023 she is senior researcher/advisor at Deltares, an independent research institute.


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