The overarching aim of MARE is to enable widespread implementation of local adaptive measures that mitigate flood risk.
Recent flooding has demonstrated the vulnerability of North Sea Region and beyond through huge economic and social disruption and even loss of life. It is firmly predicted that these events will become more frequent and severe. The viability of urban areas and their capacity to attract and retain investment is threatened. To date this crisis has not been addressed with the level of urgency and imagination it demands.
Municipalities have an urgent need to reduce flood risk, but lack capabilities, information and tools - a framework - and the resources to do so. Flood Risk Management (FRM) at urban level requires novel, advanced analytical tools that take account of food risk from rain and smaller rivers, and of community engagement strategies. This is beyond EC Flood Directive (FD) requirements that are now being implemented across Europe.
At policy level the FD provides a strong framework for integrated flood risk management. Implementation at national and regional levels however is complex, with issues ranging from arrangement of tasks and responsibilities between authorities, to requirements for FRM plans. This slows down the process.
MARE proposes an integrated approach to overcome these barriers. MARE will provide the tools, approach, experience and a policy framework for decision making on investments involving safety of people and assets at urban level. Its niche is the development of a transnational management approach to act against flood risk at urban level in the context of national FD implementation processes - but beyond FD requirements.
The core of MARE is the development and demonstration of urban FRM plans in a cooperation between local to national authorities from various countries. A shared approach will build upon Interreg IIIB tools, customized for urban FR analysis and socio-economic evaluation of FRM options. FRM plans will be developed in 4 cities across the NSR that face different types of flood risk.
MARE will result in a validated transnational methodology applicable in most urban environments. The involvement of policy-makers throughout the project ensures results are used in regional and national implementation trajectories, strengthening the basis for shared policy in the NSR.
To achieve this, MARE has created Learning and Action Alliances in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway. These vertical, open partnerships consist of cities, regional bodies such as provinces, national authorities and relevant academic and private partners and are horizontally linked.