Exploring the Prospects for Cross-Border Climate Change Adaptation between North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands
SourceUtrecht Law Review, 10, 2, (2014), pp. 91-106
Article / Letter to editor
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Utrecht Law Review
SubjectShaping and Changing of Places and Spaces
Climate change will have various effects on river basins: precipitation levels and water temperature may change, floods and also droughts may occur more frequently. These effects do not respect man-made borders, so climate adaptation in itself is a transnational challenge. Adaptation can reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change effects. Within the Rhine river basin, North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands are dealing with climate adaptation governance, both on the national and on the transboundary level. The aim of this paper is to get a better understanding of factors that stimulate or constrain transboundary governance of climate change adaptation. Our presumption is that the level of congruence between policy arrangements on both sides of the border has an impact on the prospects for cooperation. By applying the Policy Arrangement Approach we found similarities and differences between North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands. The two arrangements are similar in their involvement of multiple actors on multiple levels, the degree of decentralization of policy making, a relatively strong feeling of urgency (though framed differently) and the availability of knowledge resources. However, in the Netherlands adaptation is primarily water related and sector based, while in North Rhine-Westphalia the focus is more integrated, aiming at a balancing of different values and interests. Other differences are related to the amount and division of financial resources available and to actors’ responsibilities. The latter is geared towards a public responsibility in the Netherlands, while in North Rhine-Westphalia dealing with flood risks is also a responsibility of civilians and other private parties. We conclude that the degree of congruence between the two states is fairly high and will present argument as to why this offers good opportunities for further cooperation.
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