4.1 Common challenges

In Chapter 2 we illustrated that resilience entails both strategies that contributes to resistance against flooding, such as flood defences, and strategies that enable absorption and recovery from floods, such as insurance. Many countries and cities have traditionally focused on flood defence and are now trying to diversify their approach, giving more attention to for instance flood proof construction and disaster management. One should make sure that such diversification does not result in conflicts between strategies: they should be complementary, linked and well-aligned in integrated plans.

In Chapter 3 we emphasised the need for a good organisation or governance – of actors, discourses, rules and resources – in order to guarantee that the selected strategies are properly implemented. In each of the analysed countries we encountered many groups of actors involved in the development and implementation of the flood risk management strategies. Actors from different types of organisations (authorities, NGOs, businesses, citizens, researchers); different sectors or domains (water management, spatial planning, disaster management, insurance, etc.); different levels and scales (EU, national, regional, local); and different locations in the river basin (upstream, downstream), all with their own sets of ideas, policies, legislation, knowledge, finances etc. Such a complex governance system can become chaotic and dysfunctional, unless there is sufficient coordination and collaboration between the actors involved.

In this chapter we present common challenges and good practices on integrated planning, coordination and collaboration. They can be seen as ‘bridging mechanisms’ that combat fragmentation and create synergies by linking strategies and (groups of) actors in a joint, integrated effort to reduce flood risk.
We organised this chapter around four common challenges that all EU Member States have to deal with to some extent. The first common challenge is the implementation of the EU Floods Directive, the second is the development of integrated plans, and the last two concern coordination and collaboration (between neighbours) within a river basins and between actors at different levels.

More common challenges and related good practices can be found in Chapters 5-7. These chapters specifically focus on practices before, during and after a flood event, but include also practices of integrated planning, coordination and collaboration.