Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 4 Issue 4 (December 1996), Pages 185-248

Policy Design and Local Attributes for Flood Hazard Management (pages 189-197)

Policies or guidelines for the management of floodprone land are often developed by national or state governments. However, implementation of such policies generally rests with local governments, as it is these entities which possess the necessary planning and land‐use control powers. Unfortunately, there is much more involved in gaining compliance with national or state policies than simply specifying a set of standards or legally binding regulations. The local authority must be committed to the policy objectives – often not straightforward given the numerous issues competing for their attention. They must also have the capacity to implement the required measures.

This paper examines two general approaches to policy design which differ in the way they deal with the local attributes of commitment and capacity. One approach is based on cooperation between the two levels of governments. In the other approach, the senior level of government employs coercion to induce local government to implement its policies. Trends across Europe towards decentralization and greater local accountability – although variable by country – suggest a steadily increasing role for cooperative approaches in inter‐governmental relations. Outstanding issues concern the motivation of uncommitted local authorities and the more general question of the tension between hazard management and economic development.

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