High and Dry in the Swiss Mountains? Evaluative Study into Flood Resilience in Flood Risk Management Policy in Mountainous River Catchments in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

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Flood risks form a threat to society and this threat is growing, because climate change will cause more frequent flooding and economic developments cause the potential damage of floods to rise. Communities in flood prone regions need to be able to withstand and adapt to stress whilst not being harmed in their functionality; they need to be flood resilient. Mountainous river catchments in Switzerland also need to be flood resilient as climate change will make the rivers unmanageable. Flood risk management (FRM) policy is supposed to help the communities become more flood resilient, but does the local Flood Risk Governance Arrangement (FRGA) focus on all aspects of flood resilience, namely robustness, adaptability and transformability? This research evaluates the current state of the FRGA in three mountain river catchments in Switzerland to analyse where the current FRGA is supporting or constraining flood resilience. The analysis of the question `What dimensions of flood resilience are supported or constrained by the local FRGA in mountainous river catchments in the Bernese Oberland?` shows that the main focus is on robustness, which is adequately supported, whereas adaptability and transformability require policy changes. Unfit organisational structures and lacking involvement of stakeholders constrain local flood resilience.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen