Floods continue to hit many countries, both less developed and industrialized, bringing human suffering and immense economic damage (see floodobservatory. colorado.edu/). Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut were just the most recent reminders of the disruption that flooding can bring. Hence, striving to improve the flood-risk governance system has broad relevance. Yet, the reduction of flood risk, understood globally as a combination of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, is a rather distant goal (Fig. 1).

Several weaknesses of flood-risk management in the United States, recognized in a recent PNAS Opinion (1), generally apply to many European countries as well, despite all the political, economic, and social differences between the United States and Europe. From our European perspective, this panoply of approaches suggests that both social and engineering factors must be further explored and scrutinized across the globe—as should notions of justice related to flooding impacts and responses.

The article is available here.