Learning From European Floods 2021 Towards Resilience-Focused Recovery Pathways: Flood Risk Governance To Facilitate Climate-Resilient Pathways

Book Title: 
Joint Publication REPORT: Climate Resilient Water Resources Management - Driving the Conversation Forward
Publication Year: 
Publication Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Water and Climate Coalition (WCC)

In 2021, the Rhine-Meuse region in European countries including Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands was affected by devastating floods with > 240 causalities and damaged infrastructures worth billions of Euros. The event received global attention and various and diverse responses and reflections from researchers and research institutions, media, development organizations, public offices, and citizen groups, wherein the links to climate change were reflected as a common element of the discourse. The United Nations University Climate Resilience Initiative (UNU-CRI) has established a set of responses to this episode of regional/supranational/cross-border flooding events with the objective to address the growing risks of climate change, interconnected risks, and impacts, to assess the effectiveness of current adaptation strategies to extreme events, and to understand how to best ensure climate-resilient development looking beyond the conventional to ‘building back better’. The initiative also focused on regional integration and cross-border collaboration along with other key dimensions that include innovative and transformative pathways for climate resilience (see the framework in Figure1). As the IPCC’s alarming report (2021) stated, climate change is clear and present danger is inevitable and called for prompt action, The European flood of 2021 still left a lot to think about operational efficiency, ‘gaps’ and ‘needs’ in flood risk governance mechanisms/ instruments. How do these processes operate beyond the state when impacts of such events spread beyond territorial borders? Can an enhanced understanding of the multilevel governance approaches help to scale best practices at regional and global levels and facilitate pathways towards climate resilience?