Questioning network governance for disaster risk management: Lessons learnt from landslide risk management in Uganda

Jan Maes, Constanza Parra, Kewan Mertens, Bosco Bwambale, Liesbet Jacobs, Jean Poesen, Olivier Dewitte, Liesbet Vranken, Astrid de Hontheim, Clovis Kabaseke, Matthieu Kervyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The international agenda for disaster risk reduction, through the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction, promotes decentralised platforms as an indispensable strategy to achieve effective and efficient disaster risk management. Based on empirical data from the Rwenzori Mountains region, we question the implications of this type of network governance for disaster risk management. We embed our observations in an analytical framework that combines literature on network governance with insights from politics of disaster, notably scale and blame theories. In this study, we investigate the implications for disaster risk reduction through the analysis of three processes of scale structuration observed in contemporary West Uganda: (i) incomplete decentralisation, (ii) blame dissolution, and (iii) scale jumping. We argue that decentralised platforms in Uganda co-produce unequal risk, as they are used as spatial tactics to centralise power for the ruling party and enable blame dissolution and scale jumping. From our analysis we draw broader conclusions on drivers and implications of the implementation of disaster network governance in countries that are primarily governed hierarchically and that endorse the international frameworks of disaster risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Blame dissolution
  • Decentralisation
  • Disaster politics
  • Platforms
  • Scale

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