Decentralizing urban disaster risk management in a centralized system? Agendas, actors and contentions in Vietnam

Garschagen, Matthias, (2015). Decentralizing urban disaster risk management in a centralized system? Agendas, actors and contentions in Vietnam. Habitat International, 1-7

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Garschagen, Matthias
    Title Decentralizing urban disaster risk management in a centralized system? Agendas, actors and contentions in Vietnam
    Appearing in Habitat International
    Publication Date 2015-10-21
    Place of Publication Online
    Publisher Elsevier
    Start page 1
    End page 7
    Language eng
    Abstract The merits of decentralization and public participation for designing disaster risk management according to local needs, priorities and capacities are now widely discussed in the scientific literature and in global policy frameworks. However, surprisingly little attention is being paid to the potential fault lines that may result if postulations for decentralization and local empowerment are—despite being adopted on the surface—in conflict with the (hidden) policy agendas in centralized states. Tensions between devolution and a central grip on power can particularly emerge around topics considered of relevance for national development, notably urban growth centers, or the legitimacy of central leadership (frequently claimed to be essential for the effective protection against disasters and other risks). This paper therefore uses the example of Can Tho City, which is the high-growth urban center of the flood-prone Vietnamese Mekong Delta, to analyze in detail (1) whether and to what extent the city has a decentralized system for disaster risk management, (2) which opportunities and challenges emerge with decentralization, and (3) which agendas different actors from the local to the national level have to accelerate or restrict local empowerment. The analysis, based on the review of policy documents and in-depth interviews with party-state decision-makers as well as other stakeholders, reveals that the picture of decentralization in Vietnam is much less clear than often proclaimed. There is a convoluted reality in which contradictory trends of decentralization and centralization co-emerge from overlapping layers of, first, internal political contentions, and second, a transforming actor spectrum within the country's changing political economy of risk reduction.
    UNBIS Thesaurus DISASTER PREVENTION, PREPAREDNESS AND RELIEF
    Keyword Urban Risk
    Adaptive Governance
    Vietnam
    Decentralization
    Copyright Holder Elsevier
    Copyright Year 2015
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    DOI 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.08.030
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    Created: Fri, 27 Nov 2015, 23:42:50 JST by Sijia Yi on behalf of UNU EHS