To sustain and effectively implement
environmental policy, it is necessary for nations to have
the political, institutional, and social capacity to learn
from experience and use this information to guide change.
Floods are an ongoing problem throughout Europe. Therefore,
using responses to the Czech floods of 2002, this research
examines the following questions:
Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic.
Photo: Matthew Amengual
- How did the floods alter the
role of experts and the use of expert knowledge
in environmental, land use, and disaster management?
- In what ways have the relationships
and communication patterns between different government
agencies as well as between government agencies
and nongovernmental organizations changed as a result
of the floods?
- How have the floods transformed
the roles played by different interest groups in
environmental and disaster policy, planning, and
- In what ways have the technical
and cost-benefit assessments of assets changed as
a result of the floods?
- What factors explain differences
in the changes taking place in municipalities as
a consequence of the floods and to what extent do
these transitions reflect learning and capacity
The Czech floods of 2002 represent a period of time when governance
systems were under stress to react to extraordinary problems.
Since responses to these types of events tend to be characterized
by relatively rapid change, the floods afford an opportunity
to evaluate learning responses in a reasonably short time
span. This international collaborative research and training
initiated in Summer 2003 when Czech and U.S. team members
seminars and conducted interviews in Prague and in six case
in North and South Bohemia. The team met in Cambridge, Massachusetts
in January 2004 to work on data analysis and preliminary planning
for the second phase of the research which took place in Prague
in Spring 2004. Team members gathered a final time in
the U.S. in Spring 2005 to share their analyses and discuss the implications
of the results.