The overarching aim of MARE was 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 at urban level requires novel, advanced analytical tools that take account flood risk from rain and smaller rivers, and community engagement strategies. This is beyond EC Flood Directive requirements that are now being implemented across Europe.
At policy level the Flood Directive 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 Flood Risk Management plans. This slows down the process.
MARE proposed an integrated approach to overcome these barriers. MARE provided the tools, approach, experience and a policy framework for decision making on investments involving safety of people and assets at urban level. Its niche was the development of a transnational management approach to act against flood risk at urban level in the context of national Flood Directive implementation processes - but beyond Flood Directive requirements.
The core of MARE was the development and demonstration of urban Flood Risk Management plans in a cooperation between local to national authorities from various countries. The shared approach built upon Interreg IIIB tools, customized for urban flood risk analysis and socio-economic evaluation of Flood Risk Management options. Flood Risk Management plans were developed in four cities across the North Sea Region that faced different types of flood risk.
MARE resulted in a validated transnational methodology applicable in most urban environments. The involvement of policy-makers throughout the project ensured results were used in regional and national implementation trajectories, strengthening the basis for shared policy in the Noth Sea Region.
To achieve this, MARE created Learning and Action Alliances in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway. These vertical, open partnerships consisted of cities, regional bodies such as provinces, national authorities and relevant academic and private partners, and were horizontally linked.