FRAMES project: Belgian pilot projectsDenderleeuw, Ninove & Geraardsbergen Hannelore Mees, Tom Goosse, Luuk Boelens
The FRAMES-project is an Interreg VB North Sea project that stretched from January 2017 to May 2020. It comprises 15 pilot projects from the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands to explore and compare the implementation of flood resilient measures with the use of the Multi-Layered Water Safety Concept (MLS). Since the European Flood Directive 2007/60/EC, the Flemish Region tends to apply the concept. The MLS focuses on a diversification of measures by distinguishing four layers: Prevention, Protection, Preparedness, Recovery. A resilient flood management has to take into account these aspects of floods and imply the participation of different actors. It thus present floods as the result of a shared responsibility over every societal actors and underlines the importance of an active participation of civic, private and public actors.
The Belgium FRAMES pilot projects were led by a collaboration between the Province of East-Flanders and the AMRP of the Ghent University. The pilots were located in Geraardsbergen, Ninove and Denderleeuw. They had a focus on resilient communities, areas and schools.
- Community Resilience Workshops in Ninove
The objective of the Community Resilience Workshops was to enhance the flood resilience of citizens through increasing the awareness of the communities and their responsiveness or behaviour. The pilot project tends to implement community resilient measures through a guidebook “Inspiratieboek Water zonder overlast”. While the workshops were instructive and enhanced the contact between local communities and the public authorities, no actual community resilient measure could be implemented. The informal assumption of the authorities’ responsibility over floods, remained a too dominant element influencing the interaction between the public and civic actors.
- School program in Denderleeuw
The school program was developed to enhance the awareness and knowledge of students concerning Climate Change Adaptation and more specifically on flood resilient measures. In parallel, the program also investigated to which level climate change adaptation is part of the Flemish education curricula as well as the level of awareness and knowledge of both the students and teachers. The research showed that the awareness and knowledge seemed limited and climate change was still subject to confusion. The increasing flood risks in Flanders due to climate change were not mentioned in the teachers’ curriculum, both in the primary and secondary schools. Droughts, floods and natural hazard resulting from climate change were generally presented as challenges for countries in other continents.
- Research-by-design project in Geraardsbergen and Ninove
The Belgian FRAMES started a research-by-design project in May 2018 to draft spatial planning measures in Ninove and Geraardsbergen in close cooperation with local authorities, key stakeholders and citizens. The research-by-design project resulted in a vision plan “Klimaatadaptieve Buurten” presenting the structural measures the different stakeholders agreed upon and are planned to be implemented in the coming years. From a MLS perspective, mostly preventive and protective measures were designed and the adoption of an overall MLS approach implying the four layers remained difficult. While the Flemish region tends to use the MLS approach since 2007, it is not yet set in the organisation of actors.
The observations and lessons learnt during the project has led the Belgian team members to issue four policy recommendations for a greater implementation of flood resilient measures:
• To intensify communication efforts to open up awareness and the shared responsibility paradigm over floods and climate change adaptation.
• To define the specific responsibilities of the public, civic and private actors depending on their location in the water system.
• To link flood risk measures to non-flood related aspirations of local actors, e.g. mobility, recreation, etc.
• To continuously explore new alliances and the involvement of new actors.