5. Multi-level governance

WP5: Multi-level governance

Regions, states, and local communities are increasingly confronted with natural hazard-induced disasters, including but not limited to floods, storms, drought, and forest fires. Conventional vertical structuring (top-down approaches) has proved to be suboptimal to manage disaster risks and plan disaster risk governance. This is particularly true for settings where resource systems like water, wetlands, and forests are shared between administrative units within and across territorial nation-state boundaries and where climate change and unsustainable land use and other shortcomings are exacerbating disaster risk. Managing the operational efficiency of disaster risk governance can thus be a challenging task.

Effective multi-level governance offers the potential for communities and administrations to become more resilient by advancing and enhancing measures for coordination and collaboration across scales and sectors. It will serve to better understand cascading impacts of disasters which range across scales and administrative boundaries, and which require large-scale approaches. Furthermore, understanding climate adaptation strategies in tandem with disaster risk management (DRM) and their contributions to larger resilience building requires integrated (sub-)national risk governance systems as well as coherent transnational governance arrangements. In that context, this work package analyses gaps and needs in existing governance structures during the 2021 floods in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and will examine institutional relationships within the multi-level risk governance strategies and approaches. We examine the existence and absence of formal multi-level disaster and climate risk governance networks and their effectiveness, including their potential to involve local communities and citizens.

The work package also presents a meta-analysis of integrated approaches and frameworks to examine and understand multi-risk and multi-level transboundary governance systems for floods. In addition, yet untapped potentials of including actors from environmental conservation, agriculture or forestry into comprehensive governance schemes will be assessed. The empirical analysis provides data to draw lessons for other regions and for the strengthening of regional integration more broadly. The set of objectives, activities, outcomes, and outreach will be organized around the five working points outlined below:

  • Content Analysis: How did the various levels of governance in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands respond, anticipate, forecast, and share information in relation to the 2021 flooding? What discourses and narratives did they rely upon?
  • Institutional Assessment: How are competences, mandates and capacities of flood/disaster risk governance distributed, from supranational to local levels? How are the relations between the various levels defined?
  • Cross-border flood risk governance: How does cross-border collaboration in disaster management and climate resilience work in practice between Belgian, Dutch, and German actors? What role does regional integration play at the European level?
  • Exploring potentials for improved vertical and horizontal integration: What are feasible ways to enhance larger flood resilience based on multi-level governance frameworks, including climate & disaster diplomacy?
  • Transversal analysis: How can insights on multi-level governance inform other WPs, to collectively boost community-scale risk perception and management, advance horizontal integration in existing governance structure via co-creation of adaptation and resilience plans, and steer the agenda of ICT literacy in disaster risk governance?


Team Members