Adapting flood management to climate change: comparing policy frames and governance practices in the Low Countries

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Belgium and the Netherlands together form the Low Countries. Empirical research in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) and the Netherlands proves that there are substantive differences in the organization of governance processes regarding flood management in response to climate change. This article answers the question of how Flanders and the Netherlands, confronted with universal challenges and dilemmas in the governance of adaptation to climate change – integration versus differentiation (multi-sector versus sector-based governance), the problem of scaling (multi-level governance) and the division of public and private responsibilities (multi-actor governance) – are designing and structuring their approaches. More specifically, we look at how differences in the framing of climate adaptation can explain why organizational practices differ. For this purpose, a distinction is made between diagnostic framing (what is the problem?), prognostic framing (what could be possible solutions?) and action framing (how to act?). By referring to existing policy frames, the article explains recent policy choices on climate change adaptation in flood management.

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