An important part of the Sendai Framework guiding principles calls for partnerships to achieve improved risk management. The challenge is to improve the way that different institutions and sectors (jointly) cooperate to develop and implement DRR measures. To achieve this, the ENHANCE project has specifically studied multi-sector partnerships (MSPs).
MSPs are partnerships that involve a mix of actors from the public and private sectors and civil society organisations. MSPs have the potential to significantly improve disaster risk management, but joint action with the aim of lowering risk involves different stakeholders and can also be challenging.
For example, the different responses to heatwaves in Europe in 2003, 2006, and 2010 and the UK floods in 2015 demonstrate that the roles of public, private, and civil society actors (including individuals) in preparing for and responding to catastrophic impacts are often not clear or effective. Moreover, actors must often base their risk management strategies on scarce, limited, or inaccurate risk information. This is not surprising, since empirical data on low probability-high impact events is not recorded in available datasets. Together, these factors can lead to the development of ineffective and unacceptable disaster risk management measures and an unexpectedly large impact of natural disasters (financial, ecological, health, and social). In preparing for and responding to natural hazard impacts, there is also often a lack of clarity on financial responsibilities about who pays for what, how often, and when.
Knowing that the challenge of managing risks that result from natural hazards has increased, it is clear that these risks cannot be handled by the private sector or the government as single actors, and strategies to increase resilience should therefore incorporate all sectors of society (including closer cooperation between sectors). The main goal, therefore, of the ENHANCE project was to develop and analyse new ways to enhance society’s resilience to catastrophic natural hazard impacts. The key to achieving this goal is to analyse new multi-sector partnerships that aim to reduce or redistribute risk and increase resilience. Within ENHANCE, we define MSPs as:
Voluntary but enforceable commitments between partners from different sectors (public authorities, private services/enterprises, and civil society), which can be temporary or long-lasting. They are founded on sharing the same goal in order to gain mutual benefit, reduce risk, and increase resilience.
Partnerships analysed in the ENHANCE project
In the ENHANCE project we have analysed empirically, through ten pilot studies spread across Europe, how partnerships for disaster risk reduction (DRR) perform under regular, but especially extreme hazard configuration, and what role they play (or can play) in the multi-governance regimes. The types of partnerships we have scrutinised include:
Risk and cost sharing arrangements between public and private actors designed to improve provisions of products or services.
These partnership instances have been initiated to make insurance available for intensive risk, and to develop or better protect critical infrastructure systems. These essentially public-private partnerships (PPPs) typically entail contractual engagements. An example of this type of partnership is the proposed Flood Reinsurance Pool (Flood Re) in the UK, laid out in the Water Act 2014 as a way to ensure a affordability of flood insurance for high risk-prone properties, in transition to full risk pricing practice. Flood Re has been designed as a not-for-profit flood reinsurance fund, owned and managed by the insurance industry, but capitalised by a levy that under the EU state aid regulation constitutes state resources.
Assemblies of users of a resource, typically water, instituted to empowered community solutions to resource and/or development challenges.
This type of partnership is studied in the context of the Po and Júcar River Basin Districts (RBDs) subjected to temporal water shortages and medium- to long-term declines of water availability as a result of climate change. In both cases, the negotiated cooperative agreements among the water users were instituted through the so-called Drought Steering Committees (DSCs), vested with power to take decisions concerning the (re-)allocation of strained water resources during the prolonged periods of drought.
Territorial, typically cross-border cooperation between communities united through sense and/or identity conferred to physical place, and committed to collaboration for the sake of economic development or environmental protection.
These partnerships are similar to collaborative resource management pursuits but contemplate wider purpose such as regional development. In Europe these partnerships are epitomised by macro-regional strategies (MRS) that foster multi-level governance and help to better coordinate the EU Cohesion Policy with sectorial policies such as environmental protection, integrated maritime and transport. Several MRS have been propelled or initiated, including Baltic Sea Region (2009), Danube Region (2010), the Alpine Region, the Adriatic and Ionian Region, and the Atlantic strategy. Our research focussed on the Wadden Sea (WS) region that has been subject to trilateral (NL, DE, DK) cooperation since 1978, long before the EU territorial cooperation began.
Horizontal and vertical cooperation between public agencies and authorities for the sake of a better public service provision and more efficient allocation and use of public resources.
For these, a term public-public partnerships (PuPs) was coined to distinguish them from public-private partnership (PPPs). PuPs contemplate no direct profit-seeking pursuit as a driver for cooperation and thrive especially in public policy areas in which multiple, legitimate views are to be taken into account and ethical principles dominate in judging the policy fairness, such as health care. Health and wellbeing boards (HWB) have been introduced in the UK by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 as statutory bodies to be established by the upper-tier local authorities as a committee of that authority. The HWBs are a way to improve coordination of health, social, and other related public services. The HWB are requested to produce a joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) and health and wellbeing strategy (HWS) for the respective local authority area. Although compelled by law, the HWBs epitomise a novel partnership fabric, for which no equivalent exists at the European level.