Collective Choices Affecting Natural Hazards Governance, Risk, and Vulnerability
- Thomas Thaler, Thomas ThalerInstitute of Mountain Risk Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
- David Shively, David ShivelyUniversity of Montana, Department of Geography
- Jacob Petersen-Perlman, Jacob Petersen-PerlmanUniversity of Arizona, Water Resources Research Center
- Lenka SlavikovaLenka SlavikovaJan Evangelista Purkyně University, Institute for Economic and Environmental Policy
- and Thomas HartmannThomas HartmannWageningen University & Research, Department of Environmental Sciences
The frequency and severity of extreme weather events are expected to increase due to climate change. These developments and challenges have focused the attention of policymakers on the question of how to manage natural hazards. The main political discourse revolves around the questions of how we can make our society more resilient for possible future events. A central challenge reflects collective choices, which affect natural hazards governance, risk, and individual and societal vulnerability. In particular, transboundary river basins present difficult and challenging decisions at local, regional, national, and international levels as they involve and engage large numbers of stakeholders. Each of these groups has different perspectives and interests in how to design and organize flood risk management, which often hinder transnational collaborations in terms of upstream–downstream or different riverbed cooperation. Numerous efforts to resolve these conflicts have historically been tried across the world, particularly in relation to institutional cooperation. Consequently, greater engagement of different countries in management of natural hazards risks could decrease international conflicts and increase capacity at regional and local levels to adapt to future hazard events. Better understanding of the issues, perspectives, choices, and potential for conflict, and clear sharing of responsibilities, is crucial for reducing impacts of future events at the transboundary level.