To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Managing coastal risks at the Wadden Sea: a societal perspective

Birgit Gerkensmeier (Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany)
Beate M.W. Ratter (Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany) (Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Manfred Vollmer (Wadden Sea Forum e.V. Secretariat, Wilhelmshaven, Germany)
Cormac Walsh (Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 6 December 2017

Issue publication date: 2 January 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The trilateral Wadden Sea Region (WSR), extending from Den Helder in the Netherlands, along the German North Sea coast, to Esbjerg in Denmark, constitutes a unique but vulnerable coastal landscape. Vulnerability to environmental and societal risks is expected to increase in coming decades with encompassing new challenges such as demographic changes and conflicting uses of space, both on land and at sea. Meeting these challenges will require a shift toward an understanding of risk management as a social process, marking a significant departure from the dominant technical risk management paradigm. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In practice, this paradigm shift requires participatory stakeholder engagement, bringing together multiple and diverse perspectives, interests and concerns. This paper aims to support the implementation and expansion of enhanced social processes in coastal risk management by presenting a case study of participatory risk management process. Implemented in collaboration with a trilateral stakeholder partnership, the authors present a mixed-method approach which encouraged a joint, deliberate approach to environmental and societal risks within an overall framework.

Findings

The results enable the authors to deduce implications of participatory risk management processes for the WSR, wherein the partnership can act as a communicator and ambassador for an improved understanding of risk management as a social process.

Originality/value

In this context, the trilateral dimension, discussed here for the first time in relation with coastal risk management processes in the WSR, is emphasized as an efficient level that offers room for enhanced participatory and negotiation processes that are crucial for enhanced risk management processes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all Wadden Sea Forum members for the fruitful and inspiring discussions without which the insights and derived conclusions would not have been possible. The research underlying this paper received funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement No. 308438 (ENHANCE: Enhancing risk management partnerships for catastrophic natural hazards in Europe).

Citation

Gerkensmeier, B., Ratter, B.M.W., Vollmer, M. and Walsh, C. (2018), "Managing coastal risks at the Wadden Sea: a societal perspective", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-04-2017-0074

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited