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Planned relocation from Danube floodplains in Austria
This paper discusses the procedures installed over time for planned relocation along the Danube River in Austria and lessons learned from the varying success these procedures had. This paper first describes the government's approach on planned relocation; that is, how the relocation programs were formally set up and implemented. Second, this paper examines and discusses modes of governance and household choices, which contributed to the success (or failure) of relocation schemes in Austria. Policy handbooks published by the World Bank and others emphasize that the success of relocation programs does not just depend on the terms of home buyout payments, but that accompanying factors like risk governance, personal resources and community dynamics play an equally important role. This paper dentifies lessons learned from Austrian policy implementation and how to leverage these accompanying factors for effective and fair implementation.
This paper concludes with recommendations for governance arrangements. Overall, the role of pre-signals is important: repeated flood events gradually advanced planned relocation on the political agenda. However, an extreme flood event does not by itself ensure a successful implementation. There is a need for extensive engagement with the community already before floods occur. Consequently, planned relocation needs a long-term perspective of introducing the scheme to a community and familiarising it with the relocation specifics, benefits and drawbacks. Financial incentives act as door opener and pull-strategy. However, economic reasons are not solely assessed with regards to personal welfare, but judged in the light of the children's future prospects. Finally, the decision on who should be given the possibility to move should not be based exclusively on a costbenefit analysis from a structural protection perspective. Such an analysis should account for the scope of household reactions including multiple psychosocial, intangible, and non-monetary impacts.