The study was part of Baltic COMPASS, a project that aimed to improve environmental and agricultural policies and management practices across the Baltic Sea Region. Through interviews with 15 key stakeholders, a focus group discussion and a regional workshop, the case study examined flood risk management, river basin management and resilience management at both the national and local levels.

The results indicate that flood risk management remains too narrowly focused, on flood control in the city, neglecting aspects such as flood abatement in the river basin or flood alleviation downstream. Underlying this situation is a lack of cross-sectoral integration and synergy between the different sectors and communities of practice, e.g. in forestry, agriculture, environmental and urban planning, that could supplement flood protection strategies.

Integration is further hindered by the fact that the municipality’s mandate reaches only to the municipal border, and there is no river basin-wide governance structure focusing on water flows or floods, only on quality. This means that there is no governance or management framework for activities which increase flows downstream, and no active coordinated investment in flood retaining activities, such as rehabilitating the catchment and compensation to farmers’ land use to dampen flood peaks.

At the same time, the legal instruments for water flows, i.e. centred on the joint property societies who operate them, are very inflexible and outdated. There are potential synergies between the future implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the EU Flood Directive, but currently it is unclear how plans for integration will be implemented in practice. However, there is increasing alignment between risk managers and urban planners in Kristianstad, emerging from local dialogue and learning.

Extending the lessons from Kristianstad to all of Sweden will require an active political process that recognizes growing risks due to climate change and highlights the value of ecosystem services.

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