Gerkensmeier, B., & Ratter, B.M.W. (2018): Multi-risk, multi-scale and multi-stakeholder – The contribution of a bow-tie analysis for risk management in the trilateral Wadden Sea Region. Journal of Coastal Conservation, Vol. 22 (2018) 1, 145-156, doi:10.1007/s11852-016-0454-8


Risk management processes increasingly call for enhanced stakeholder participation, and aim to integrate different risk perceptions, concerns and interests. Frequently, this goal is driven by the increased complexity of risk management processes, as risk management processes continuously have to deal with multi-risk situations including impacts resulting from risks of natural hazards and risks caused by misguided social or economic development. Although stakeholder participation is required by different policies, major challenges still arise from the question of how to perform multi-stakeholder participation in practice. In order to find answers, we tested the so-called ‘bow-tie analysis’ as a potential tool to facilitate multi-stakeholder participation with a major effort on integrating stakeholders risk perceptions and interest in the risk management processes. The bow-tie analysis is a commonly used risk assessment technique (IEC 2009) to analyse cause-and-effect pathways of risks, but its application in multi-stakeholder processes in risk management of natural hazards, especially in a European context, is rather new. Using practical experiences from the trilateral Wadden Sea Region we demonstrate the bow-tie analysis’ contribution to coastal risk management processes in this coastal area by facilitating collaborative identification, comprehension and analysis of the management system. The use of a modified bow-tie analysis in collaboration with stakeholders from the Wadden Sea Region proved to be an appropriate framework for enhancing the understanding of risk management processes and fostered disclosure of different perceptions and concerns of multi-risk problematics. The bow-tie can be beneficial as a communication and co-construction tool in risk management processes in a multi-risk context.

Gerkensmeier, B., Ratter, B.M.W., Vollmer, M., & Walsh, C. (2018): Managing coastal risks at the Wadden Sea: a societal perspective. Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 (2018) 1, 15-27, doi:10.1108/DPM-04-2017-0074


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.

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