Conference on "Crisis Governance – Dealing with Floods in the Balkans. Cases of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia" took place on 14-16 December in Belgrade
The conference marked the end of a one-year RRPP research project State Capacities and Crisis Management – Dealing with Floods in the Balkans and brought together all involved scholars as well and foreign experts and politicians responsible for civil protection.
The conference was composed of three integral parts:
- Presentation and discussion of research findings;
- Policy workshop "Crisis Management and Policy Change in the Western Balkans";
- Expert debate on "Crisis Governance: Flood Response and its Legacies".
The policy workshop moderated by Dr Vedran Dzihic from the University of Vienna, member of the RRPP Steering Board, discussed two crucial policy briefs derived from the project.
The first policy brief "Governing the Floods: Bosnia and Herzegovina", highlighted several major problems which appear common for the Balkan countries:
- Lack of coordination and communication between BiH institutions in a multi-level, decentralized political system;
- Inadequate crisis preparedness and lack of equipment;
- Clientelistic governance as a systemic factor leading to institutional neglect.
The second policy brief focused on climate change and the necessity of policy adjustments. Vedran Horvat, Director of the Institute for Political Ecology in Zagreb, stressed the missing link between climate change, which remained an area of interest of small circles in weak environmental ministries, and a large spectrum of other actors and parts of government that were normally accountable for risk assessment, prevention, early system control and flood management.
Horvat suggested a fundamental long-term reform to create "climate resilient living systems" and to establish "government coordination body for climate change" gathering all relevant data and navigating cross-cuting climate policy applicable also for floods risk assessment.
- Opportunity (Lost) for Climate Policy Reform? Case of Floods in the Western Balkans
- (Propuštena) prilika za reformu klimatske politike? Slučaj poplava na Zapadnom Balkanu
- Has the flood crisis in the Balkans led to an improvement of crisis governance mechanisms and transparency of a decision making process?
- Can civil society compensate for a weak state during the crisis and in its aftermath?
- Can the political regimes learn from such crisis and what are the characteristics of this process?