Cross-Boundary Disaster Risk Governance: Lessons from the Pearl River Delta

  • Alain Guilloux


Disaster risk issues have increasingly been conceptualised as governance problems, with inclusiveness and cooperation as key determinants. While reducing disaster risk within a single country is challenging, in particular where multiple jurisdictions and governance levels overlap, handling disaster risk across borders may be an even more complex task. Cross-border cases of environmental disasters are generally addressed in more effective ways where supra-national institutions, such as the European Union, are in a position to establish common rules. The lack of similar, rule-based intergovernmental institutions across the Asia-Pacific region has led to sub-optimal results, as evidenced in particular with recurring haze episodes affecting Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Megacities around the world, especially coastal ones, are often regarded as areas at a high of disaster but no megacity straddles international borders. In this paper I focus on an atypical case: the Pearl River Delta – more specifically the Pearl River estuary. The area extending from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, is the second most populated urban area worldwide. One of the key hubs of the global economy, in particular in terms of logistics, manufacturing and finance, the PRD has been flagged as high-risk, in particular with regard to hydro-meteorological disasters. While the largest part of the region falls directly under the Peoples’ Republic of China jurisdiction, an entirely different set of laws and institutions, largely inherited from British colonial rule, applies to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and is set to remain distinct until 2047. This chapter examines disaster risk governance and response across the Pearl River Delta, the factors that hinder tighter cross-border cooperation, and possible future scenarios.


Compound disasters Urbanisation Disaster risk governance Cross-border cooperation Pearl River Delta 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarYung Shue WanHong Kong

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