Managing Adaptive Responses to changing flood risk in the North Sea Region


Recent flooding has demonstrated the vulnerability of North Sea Region. Municipalities have an urgent need to reduce flood risk, but lack a framework and the resources. The project is focusing on developing a transnational methodology to implement urban Flood Risk Management (FRMP) in four countries.

The project will thereby support national policy making related to the European Floods Directive and beyond. The main result will be a transnational methodology for FRM planning applicable in urban environments. In addition, the focus on long-term perspective on Climate change adaptation provides a practical follow-up to the EC green paper on climate change.

01/01/2009 - 30/12/2012
2 - Promoting the Sustainable Management of our Environment
Area of Intervention
2.3 Adapting to and reducing risks posed to society and nature by a changing climate
ERDF Grant
2,357,750.00 €
ERDF Equivalent
150,000.00 €
Total Eligible Budget
5,215,500.00 €
Lead Beneficiary
Gemeente Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Ellen Kelder
Tel: +31 78 639 6461
Project Homepage
Beneficiaries per Country
The Netherlands
Gemeente Dordrecht
Waterschap Hollandse Delta
Rijkswaterstaat Zuid-Holland
Provincie Zuid-Holland
Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat
Dura Vermeer Business Development b.v
United Kingdom
Sheffield City Council
The University of Sheffield
Rotherham Metropolitican Borough Council
City of Hannover, Civil Engineering division
Leibniz University of Hannover, Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Sciences
Hannover Region Environment Department
Technical University Hamburg-Harburg
Background and Aim

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.


  • Learning and Action Alliances for professional stakeholders of Flood Risk Management (FRM);
  • Climate Proofing Toolbox: Flood Risk analysis tool to feed into FRM plans;
  • Hydrological and hydrodynamic models, assessment tools for tangible and non-tangible investments, knowledge based system adaptation measures at building and urban infrastructure levels;
  • Development of FRM plans and investment proposals based on (re)-development projects;
  • Transnational methodology for urban FRM planning.

Transnational design session

Transnational Review Dordrecht - Key issues to address

Poster Session Netherlands Water Partnership

Presentation World Water Forum Istanbul

Community collaboration river maintenance Sheffield

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