|dc.description.abstract||Crises, such as floods, give rise to important political–administrative challenges.
Preparing for sudden adversity, and the capacity to respond and adjust course in
the face of crises are major and necessary assets for governments. Such
government capacities are at the heart of public problem‐solving and include the
capacity to coordinate, to regulate, to deliver services and analyze needs and
consequences. These capacities can assist governments in their implementation and
sustaining of policies for improving crisis management performance. However,
different actors may emphasize different capacities and means at different times
and in different situations, creating difficulties for learning.
This working paper focuses on politics under non‐routine conditions and the
generation of governance capacity in crisis management. It presents an empirical
case study on floods in Norway, examining two floods (in 2011 and 2013) that took
place in Gudbrandsdalen, a valley in the south‐eastern parts of Norway. Extreme
rainfall combined with exceptional amounts of snow‐melting in the mountains led
to severe flooding in the river of Gudbrandsdalslågen. Two municipalities: Nord‐
Fron and Ringebu lie alongside the river borders and were hit exceptionally hard.
Both floods escalated and caused massive destructions in the two municipalities.
Evacuation operations and the closing of critical roads made crisis management
In addition to examining this particular case, the working paper aims to provide
more general insight about crises and how they are dealt with in the Norwegian
context. The paper takes a public policy and organizational perspective to analyze
governance capacity in crisis management, with a particular focus on the
management of floods. The main research question concerns what government
structures and capacities are used in such a crisis, how they function, and how they
are modified in the aftermath of a crisis. To this end, the paper examines whether
crisis management performance can be said to have improved and to what degree
learning from the two floods was gained. The case study provides insight on how
two similar incidents (floods) were handled by the same actors, at the same
locations, on two different occasions. An important aspect is whether or not the
two floods resulted in any structural changes, at central level in the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) and the Norwegian Water Resources and
Energy Directorate (NVE), and at local level in the two municipalities that were
In the following, we first present an outline of the case study providing more details
on our particular focus. Here, we also explain our approach to the possibilities of
learning after a crisis. Second, we present the Norwegian political–administrative
context and the main actors responsible for handling the floods. In the next two
sections, we lay out our analytical framework, research methods and data.
Thereafter, we present our analysis of what happened in the two floods. In the last
part of the paper we draw some conclusions about lessons learned and possible