A comparative study of natural hazard policy in Taiwan, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway

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Saunders, W.S.A.; de Bruin, K.; Ruiz Rivera, N.; Lee, H.C. 2015 A comparative study of natural hazard policy in Taiwan, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2015/05 94 p.

Abstract: One aspect of any process for managing natural hazards relates to how disaster risk reduction policies are designed and implemented in different countries. The objective of this project is to improve understanding of policies at multiple government levels for natural hazard risk reduction in four countries and how they are implemented, as a key dimension of risk interpretation and action at the political level. An international comparison has been undertaken between New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, and Taiwan. While these countries represent a collaboration formed at the 2013 The Risk Interpretation and Action Fellows Seminar in New Zealand, they are also susceptible to similar natural hazards, in particular floods, landslides, earthquakes, and climate change; and represent countries within the geographical locations of Australasia, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, with a diversity of political systems and institutional strengths and weaknesses. The methodology is a comparative design based on content analysis of published emergency plans and land use plans at the national, regional, and local levels. The research provides evidence-based outputs that support the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, Priority 1 (to ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority, with a strong institutional basis for implementation) and the ‘Risk Interpretation and Action’ framework of Eiser (2012). Four themes form the basis of the content analysis of plans: sustainability and resilience, risk reduction, integration, and multi-scale implementation. The cross-comparisons provide the following observations. The case studies show that there is no standard imperative to include sustainability and resilience into legislation that can then filter down to local level plans. At the national level, none of the four countries specify the term ‘risk reduction’ in their national level land use planning; however, at city level reference is made to risk reduction and risk mitigation. Except for New Zealand, no clear linkage of natural hazard provisions is observed between the national, regional and local level plans analysed for Mexico, Norway and Taiwan. However, when considering the linkage of provisions within plans it is observed that all four countries vary with regard to the quality of the conceptual content and risk reduction strategies, with New Zealand in the best position and Mexico in the worst. (auth)