2013.12.13_The ethics of flood risk management_180

The ethics of flood risk management: Reconciling equity and efficiency in flood risk management

13 december 2013

2 minuten

Nieuws The number and impact of catastrophic floods have increased significantly in the last decade, and with the predicted increase in extreme weather events, the risk of flooding is likely to increase even further. This prompts the urgent question: how to distribute the limited resources available for flood risk management efficiently and equitably?

Although most people agree that the money available to mitigate flood risks ought to be distributed equitably and efficiently, people have very different views on what equity and efficiency amount to in the context of flood risk management. If we look at equity, for example, does it mean that the risk of flooding should be the same for everyone? Are we willing to accept a higher risk at some locations and compensate for possible damage? And what can we expect from citizens themselves: if they freely choose to live in a flood-prone area, should they be protected at the same level of safety as those people who choose to live in a naturally safer area? It is increasingly recognized that a strictly financial approach cannot give the final answer to the question how to manage flood risks. However, an ethical framework that takes into account both equity and efficiency is still lacking, partly because in our pluralistic society people disagree on how to understand equity and efficiency.

In her recently awarded Veni project, Neelke Doorn (Philosophy Department, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management) will try to develop a framework that reconciles equity and efficiency considerations in flood risk management. Her approach is based on political philosophical literature on distribution problems and empirical research on stakeholders’ opinions. A short description on her project ‘The ethics of flood risk management’ is to be found here.

More information: Neelke Doorn, n.doorn@tudelft.nl

Cover: ‘2013.12.13_The ethics of flood risk management_180’

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