1.3 How to use this guide?

1.3.1 Main objective and target audience

Increasing flood risks in Europe calls for improved approaches for management. The main objective of this Practitioner’s Guidebook is to provide inspiration on how to set up an effective flood risk management approach in a country or a specific area and how to ensure that this approach is implemented though good governance. This can concern both small incremental changes in day to day practice, as well as more structural changes. The Guidebook is based on the results of the STAR-FLOOD research. Where relevant it links to good practices and recommendations from other research and policy projects (see §8.2.2). It answers questions such as:

  • How can actors find each other in a fragmented environment?
  • How can a resilient mix of strategies be realised?
  • How can it be ensured that strategies are implemented?
  • How are specific conditions in a country / urban region accounted for?
  • What instruments are available?
  • This Guidebook may be relevant for all stakeholders involved in flood risk management in Europe. It particularly addresses actors interested in how flood risk governance functions and what their own possibilities are to improve flood risk management practices. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following groups:
  • National, regional, local policymakers (authorities and NGOs) developing or implementing one or multiple flood risk management strategies at a strategic level (sectors water and flood management, spatial planning, disaster management);
  • Private parties, such as consultants and insurance companies.

Flood defences in Poland

1.3.2 Guidebook set up

Chapter 2 introduces five flood risk management strategies and three ultimate aims of flood risk management. Based on this information, it provides guidance on how to develop a good portfolio of strategies.

Chapter 3 explains why good governance is essential for the implementation of these strategies and provides practical guidance on how to assess whether change of governance is beneficial in any given situation and, if so, which steps for improvement can be taken.

Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 elaborate common challenges and good practices: for inspiration and to facilitate learning from other countries and cases. Chapter 4 introduces integrated planning, coordination and collaboration challenges and good practices. Chapters 5-7 elaborate challenges and good practices for specific ‘stages’ in the flood risk management cycle:

Chapter 5. Before a flood (flood defence and spatial planning);

Chapter 6. During a flood (disaster management); and

Chapter 7. After a flood (recovery).

The chapters can be read independently of each other, enabling easy navigation directly to your area of interest. Chapters 4-7 each start with an inspiring interview with a practitioner, and then describe common challenges that have been found in Belgium, England, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. Finally, for each challenge one or more good practices are introduced, describing how it has been successfully addressed in specific countries and cases. Hopefully, this will be helpful in dealing with the challenges faced in flood risk management practices.

Textbox 1.2. Selection of good practices

Good practices are projects, instruments or other practices that have proven to be effective in order to reach the goals of flood risk management in different contexts. They contribute to the ultimate aims of resilience, efficiency and/or legitimacy (see §2.3).

The good practices described in this guidebook are concrete examples from the STAR-FLOOD countries. They have been selected by the authors from the wealth of empirical material collected during the research and discussed with all project partners, and should prove inspirational to other countries and regions. It should be noted that the selection remains to a certain extent subjective, and stress that there are many more good practices to be found in the STAR-FLOOD countries, Europe and worldwide.

Inspired by international good practices, this guidebook facilitates an understanding of essential components of flood risk management, and encourages changes. At the same time it encourages further exploration and experimentation.

This Guidebook contains some tools that may help even quicker navigation to relevant sections. The Quick Reference Chart at the start of the Guidebook contains all good practices described in Chapters 4-7. For each good practice the chart indicates which flood risk management strategies and which governance aspects are discussed and to which ultimate aims the good practice contributes. The good practices are clustered per country. This allows searching for practices by country, strategy, governance aspect or aim. The relevant strategies, governance aspects and aims are also indicated with icons at the start of each section that describes a good practice. The Glossary in Chapter 9, explains the terms and abbreviations that are of central importance in this Guidebook, and the Index in Chapter 11 lists relevant terms in alphabetical order and refers to the sections in which they are discussed.

1.3.3 Guidebook online

The Guidebook can also be accessed online. The online version contains the same base content as this document but includes additional fact sheets of the analysed countries and cases, and is more interactive, as it is built up of many smaller blocks of information that are intuitively linked to each other. This allows for a quick navigation to specific topics of interest. The online version can be found at www.starflood.eu/guidebook.