Conflict Management

Stakeholders, each with an own perspective on issues of concern, different understanding of flood risks, development priorities, interests and approach, sometimes create conflicting viewpoints. Unless these issues are addressed and resolved in a fair, transparent and systematic manner, the participatory process may be stalled. Professionals and institutions responsible for managing conflicts first have to understand the underlying issues, perceptions and the values associated with a given perspective to be able to design or negotiate consensus. Among the most frequent causes of flood related conflicts are the following issues:


  • Population pressures leading to urbanization, thereby contributing to increased flood hazards downstream
  • Transfer of flood risks within the river basins, e.g. owing to a reduction in natural storage upstream
  • Unplanned development infrastructures, such as roads and bridges obstructing natural drainage and increasing flood risks upstream
  • Alteration of natural flow regimes owing to structural measures and their impacts on ecosystems downstream
  • Lack of or delays in sharing of data and information, e.g. flood warnings
  • Developments such as land reclamation from water channels resulting in floods of higher intensity and frequency in another part of the basin
  • The poorer sections of society, particularly the urban poor, having to face higher risks
  • Uneven access to resources, that is information and data, financial, human and material resources resulting in varying degrees of protection

The next page provides a classification of conflicts, causes and possible solutions. 

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