Natural flood management applications (NFM)
: the role of local institutions

  • Ndenyangnde Ripiye

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Natural Flood Management (NFM) is promoted as part of sustainable flood management (SFM) in response to climate change adaptation. Stakeholder engagement is central to this approach, and current trends are progressively moving towards a collaborative learning approach where stakeholder participation is perceived as one of the indicators of sustainable development. Within this methodology, participation embraces a diversity of knowledge and values underpinned by a philosophy of empowerment, equity, trust and learning.

    To identify barriers to NFM uptake, there is a need for a new understanding on how stakeholder participation could be enhanced to benefit individual and community resilience within SFM. This is crucial in the light of climate change threats and scientific reliability concerns. In contributing to this new understanding, this research evaluated eight (8) UK NFM case studies towards improving understanding of opportunities in involving communities in catchment-based working. An NFM strategy for participatory planning was developed from literature, findings from the UK studies and refined through a scenario development for a case study application in Taraba state, Nigeria using the constructivist model.

    Stakeholder and inter-agency collaboration for flood management in Taraba were investigated through interview methodology: 8 governmental agencies and 32 community leaders in Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVA’s) of the state. Findings show some institutional weaknesses, which are seen to inhibit the development of adequate, flood management solution locally with damaging implications for vulnerable communities. The existences of weak institutional structures with poor coordination of the lead agency to effect change are identified as problematic within this context. Findings highlight a dominate top-bottom approach to management with very minimal public interactions. Current approaches are remedial with less emphasis on prevention and mitigation. The targeted approach suggested by the constructivist risk model is set against adaptive flood management and community development.

    The finding of the study suggests different agencies have different perspectives for “community participation”. It also shows communities in the case study area appear to be least influential, denied a real chance of discussing their situations and influencing the decision. This is against the background that the communities are located in the most productive regions, contributing massively to national food supplies. Stakeholder engagement and resilience planning underpin this research.

    The study explores dimensions of participation using the self-reliance and self –help approach to develop a methodology that facilitates reflections of currently institutionalised practices and the need to reshape spaces of interactions to enable empowered and meaningful participation. The results are discussed concerning practical implications for addressing interagency partnerships and conducting grassroots collaborations that empower local communities and seek solutions to development challenges.
    Date of AwardAug 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Abertay University
    SponsorsPetroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
    SupervisorRebecca Wade (Supervisor), Andrew Samuel (Supervisor) & Chris Jefferies (Supervisor)


    • Natural Flood Management
    • ustainable flood management
    • Climate change adaptation
    • Local institutions
    • Social constructivism

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