Integrating Public Planning Processes

The horizontal and vertical interactions requires the involvement of various stakeholders in public planning processes. Some of the most relevant stakeholders on different administrative levels are illustrated in the graph below:

National practices as to which ministry or agency is assigned with the responsibility for flood management vary considerably. Further, the roles vary between those responsible for planning, for operation and maintenance of flood defences and for forecasting and warning services, and those in charge of emergency response. The principal ministries whose decisions potentially affect flood risks or its management include: forestry, transport and construction, spatial and landuse planning, agriculture, water resources, health, interior, civil defence, environment and nature conservation.

Based on the political and administrative set-up in a country, the direct responsibility for flood management may rest with the federal (national), sub-national (e.g. state) or local government. The primary responsibility for national policy, guidelines and framework legislation generally lies with the central or federal government, while detailed regulation, implementation, operation and maintenance of flood management measures may lie with sub-national administrative units.

Local governments generally are at the forefront of the post flood response. However, depending on the severity of disasters, responsibility for the response is often assumed by the interior ministries or specific ministries devoted to civil defence. The subsidiarity principle (an organizing principle which says that matters ought to be handled by the smallest or least centralized competent authority) is applied in many instances, for example in the context of federal nations, to induce action at different levels of government, depending on the scale of the flood impact.

In order to coordinate among various institutions a clear and unambiguous institutional framework is required to manage the interfaces between different layers of government, in all stages of the risk management cycle, particularly in flood emergency situations to minimize the response time at the appropriate levels.


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