One of the consequences of climate change is the increase in the frequency and entity of extreme weather events, including floods. Any strategy dealing with the various impacts of climate change must focus not only on mitigation aspects, but also on improving on the level of adaptive capacity. Over the past decades there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of floods in Europe, a fact which has prompted the European Union (EU) to put forward the Directive 60/2007 (the ‘Floods Directive’), requiring Member States to produce a comprehensive Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) by 2015. The purpose of this paper is to assess how the implementation of the ‘Floods Directive’ has contributed to the level of adaptive capacity in Austria, a EU member State hosting an important river basin. By relying on the existing literature, the paper first describes the governance system associated with flood risk management in Austria prior to the elaboration of the FRMP. Subsequently, based on collected primary data, the paper studies the governance structure associated with the elaboration of the FRMP in Austria by using descriptive social network analysis (SNA) and discusses the implications in terms of adaptive capacity of flood governance. The elaboration of the FRMP has had the merit of coordinating the pre-existing regional legislation into a coherent national framework, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Environment. A limited number of other public administration stakeholders act as brokers, but the overall governance structure appears centralized and exhibits low modularity. Such a structure, moreover, is exclusively composed of public administration actors with no de facto participation of other stakeholders (e.g., NGOs and private companies). The incorporation of a wider set of organizations in the earlier phases of the policy cycle is welcomed, in order to make the whole process less technocratic and effectively improve the overall level of adaptive capacity.
Ceddia, M. G., Christopoulos, D., Hernandez, Y., & Zepharovich, E. (2017). Assessing adaptive capacity through governance networks: The elaboration of the flood risk management plan in Austria. Environmental Science and Policy, 77, 140-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.08.014