Contributions Workshop 2.4.E:
Natural hazards' risk governance under changing framework conditions


ID: 156
Workshop & Poster
Challenges in mountain hazards management: Examining institutional settings and social factors in the vulnerability-resilience trade-off
Keywords: flood risk management, legal setting, responsibility-sharing, risk governance

Rauter, Magdalena; Fuchs, Sven
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

The impacts of mountain hazards are most likely to increase due to environmental and socio-economic factors. A key challenge for risk management remains to reduce the vulnerability of exposed societies. A plethora of studies calls for new approaches and innovative actions which are needed in order to meet those objectives. However, such approaches often require institutional change, such as the change in legislation or administrational practice (and probably also more active affected societies). Focusing on flood hazard mitigation in Austria, this contribution is targeted at filling this gap by analysing the potential for responsibility-sharing in the given institutional framework. The legal framework of flood risk management in Austria is analysed to explain the trade-off between responsibilities. The main interest groups are a) people directly affected as they are the ones who are responsible for individual mitigation measures as well as b) the regulative setting in order to explain the role of the state. Furthermore, the European Floods Directive is analysed as an international framework to gain insight into whether or not a process of re-evaluation has happened after the implementation in 2007. The results show that responsibility sharing is a complex matter as expectations to reduce vulnerabilities are high on either side. The institutional framework is robust, yet limited, mostly regarding financial aspects (compensation) and individuals in society are reluctant to act. This phenomenon can be explained by the concept of institutional vulnerability, where both socio-political and cultural settings can be held accountable for the exposure to threats and the vulnerability of individuals. Hence, new ways are required to overcome those challenges in order to make mountain hazards and risks more manageable and thus increase the resilience of communities at risk.

ID: 172
Workshop & Poster
Perceptions and Governance of Cryospheric Hazards in the Mt. Everest Region, Nepal
Keywords: Cryospheric hazards, Disaster risks, Institutions, Governance, Himalaya

Shrestha, Milan1; Thompson, Ian1; Byers, Alton2
1Arizona State University, Tempe, United States of America; 2University of Colorado, Boulder, United States of America

Workshop Abstract:

Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) can be catastrophic to mountain communities. In the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone of Nepal, where booming adventure tourism is intertwined with rapid socio-cultural and ecological changes, there have been three major GLOFs and over a dozen glacial outburst floods since the early 1970s, resulting in severe damages of infrastructures and a growing sense of vulnerability and fear among the communities. Scientists believe glacier melting, GLOFs and other cryospheric hazards are likely to exacerbate with global warming. Although scientific knowledgebase of these hazards is fairly comprehensive and solid, societal response—particularly adaptation and mitigation options--has been frustratingly slow and often complicated in this region, as the communities have perceived with these “wicked problems” in a different way than scientists and disaster management agencies typically do. Only in the recent years, the economic, socio-cultural and geographic factors related to the cryospheric hazards are being carefully studied; however, political and institutional factors governing cryospheric hazards and disaster risks management in the region are still poorly understood. In this paper, we present some of the preliminary findings of an institutional analysis of GLOF hazards and disaster risks management in the region as part of our ongoing interdisciplinary study “Science-driven and Community-based Approach to GLOF Risks Reduction in the Nepal Himalaya.” Using a combination of quantitative analysis of household survey data and ethnographic techniques, we analyze the intersections of socio-cultural, economic and institutional factors shaping GLOF disaster risks in the region. We also discuss the potential role of “boundary institutions” which connects science and society/policy in mountain disaster risks and governance. Insights on how communities perceive GLOF risks and view institutions involved in disaster risks can add tremendous value to the scientific assessment of GLOF risks, local risk mitigation strategies, and potential community resilience pathways.

Poster Abstract:

Cryospheric Hazards in the Mt. Everest Region, Nepal: How to Build Community Resilience?
Sustainability is rarely a focus of the conventional response to glacial floods or other disasters risks in which the more urgent needs is often an emergency remediation strategy. A growing body of literature suggests that building “community resilience”—rather than a singular focus on a hazardous glacial lake or other natural hazards—is a more effective and sustainable solution. What would be the meaning of ensuring community resilience in high mountains like the Mt. Everest region? Communities in this region have lived through three major glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) and several smaller glacial floods, which seriously damaged their physical infrastructures. However, the societal response has been somewhat slow and complicated (e.g., lowering of glacial lakes, fear of flood), as communities have perceived with these “wicked problems” in a different way than scientists and disaster management agencies typically do. In this poster, we present some of the preliminary findings of our ongoing interdisciplinary study conducted in the Mt. Everest region, which focuses on a science-driven and community-based approach to reducing glacial lake outburst floods. This would add tremendous value to the scientific assessment of GLOF risks, local risk mitigation strategies, and potential community resilience pathways.


ID: 232
Workshop & Poster
Natural Hazard Risk Governance - Status quo in the Alps
Keywords: risk governance, hazard management, governance mapping

Schindelegger, Arthur
TU Wien, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

As communication is in the centre of the risk governance cycle promoted by Ortwin Renn, it is essential to have profound knowledge of the actors involved in the risk communication process, especially concerning their capabilities and capacities. In my personal experience, people working in the field of natural hazard management struggle to understand the concept of risk governance and have limited knowledge of the hazard management system themselves.

A first step to breach these existing limitations, is a status quo analysis focusing on the institutional actors. Within the EUSALP Action Group 8 I was able to accompany a first self-evaluation of the members concerning their risk governance status quo and edited the 7th Report on the State of the Alps of the Alpine Convention. For a comparable evaluation of the status quo of risk governance within national systems, governance profiles, as proposed by Walker and Tweed, help to divide up complex governance processes into procedural aspects. Additionally, an evaluation of governance characteristics, qualities and capacities (Bressers, Kuks, 2013) helps to evaluate actual examples. I would like to contribute to the workshop discussion with my experiences working with representatives of institutions involved in hazard management and the revealed gap of scientific research, institutional approaches and real-life examples. This relates to the raised questions concerning actual risk governance design and institutional adaptation capability.

BRESSERS, H. KUKS, S. (2013). Water governance regimes: Dimensions and dynamics. International Journal of Water Governance, 1 133-156, doi: 10.7564/12-IJWG1.

WALKER, G., TWEED, F., & WHITTLE, R. (2014). A framework for profiling the characteristics of risk governance in natural hazard contexts. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 14, 155-164. doi: 10.5194/nhess-14- 155-2014.

Poster Abstract:

Mapping Risk Governance Across the Alps 

With the poster I would like to contribute to the general discussion on risk governance and present the specific outcomes of the research and processes I have been involved in the past few years. Mapping risk governance in a compare able manner is challenging but necessary to identify existing gaps and potentials. As the mapping activity in the EUSALP Action Group 8 was a strongly graphic one, a poster would help to understand the process and outcomes more easily.

ID: 282
Workshop & Poster
Increasing resilience to natural hazards in mountain communities – why values and polyrationality matter
Keywords: resilience, values, Nepal, natural hazards

Höferl, Karl Michael; Posch, Eva; Steiger, Robert; Bell, Rainer
University of Innsbruck, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Tourism is an important source of income for many mountain communities. However, the tourism industry is highly vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards. The ability of local people to engage in disaster preparedness and prevention is driving a mountain community’s resilience. This local engagement is especially relevant in countries with weak institutions and insufficient structural measures to protect communities at risk. Trying to understand whether and to what extent some people adopt proactive behaviors while others do not, research has shown that human action is not only determined by socio-demographic and -economic conditions but also by an individual’s values. Actors with different value orientations might therefore pursue different courses of action towards disaster preparedness and prevention under ceteris paribus conditions. Our recent research on the resilience of touristic entrepreneurs to natural hazards in Nepal underlines this important link between an actor’s values and his or hers engagement in disaster prevention. Focusing on the entrepreneurs’ preparedness and prevention (PaP) activities, we identified three different PaP-types. We contrasted these types with the entrepreneurs’ values and socio-demographic as well as -economic characteristics. Doing so, strong correlations between the entrepreneurs’ values and their PaP-types became apparent.

There are two findings from our work, we would like to contribute to the workshop: On the one hand the need to broaden our conceptual understanding of resilience by looking not just at the capacities, but also at the value-driven willingness of actors to engage in disaster preparedness and prevention. On the other hand the idea to segment actors according to their present preparedness and prevention activities as well as their capacities and values. Understanding the rationalities towards disaster prevention within these groups is a vital step in replacing “one size fits all”-recommendations with polyrational strategies for improving community resilience.

ID: 295
Workshop & Poster
Integrated management of glacier related risks – experiences from the Peruvian Andes and the Indian Himalayas
Keywords: risk perception, multi-risk situation, early warning system, risk management framework

Frey, Holger1; Huggel, Christian1; Jurt, Christine2; Vicuña, Luis1; Allen, Simon1,3; Emmer, Adam4
1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland; 2School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Zollikofen, Switzerland; 3Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland; 4Global Change Research Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

Workshop Abstract:

We draw on experiences from two international climate change adaptation projects in the context of risk management related to glacier retreat, which illustrate the challenges addressed in this workshop.

In the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, an Early Warning System (EWS) for outbursts of a glacial lake was set up, responding to an urgent need for disaster risk reduction after a major lake outburst flood in 2010. Although an integrative approach was chosen for the design and implementation of the EWS, involving the municipality, rural farmer communities, public institutions, a private service provider company, an NGO and international scientists, the system has been dismantled by a large group of local farmers few months after it was handed over to the local authorities. A main reason was that amidst a prolonged drought period the local farmers got increasingly desperate and associated the EWS with missing rainfall. Further analysis of the social, political and cultural reasons and dynamics revealed that a detailed understanding of local risk perception and prioritization, but also in-depth knowledge of the social structures and political power relations among the different stakeholders are required for a successful and sustainable implementation of such risk reduction measures.

In India, another country with densely populated mountain regions, guidelines for glacier related risk assessments are currently drafted in collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Authority of India. Suggested approaches include new scenario-based hazard assessment procedures, considering chains of interacting and cascading processes. For risk reduction, a toolset ofintegrated risk management optionsis then developed, including structural and non‐structural measures, drawing on established risk management plans and related organizational structures.

Experiences and lessons learnt from these two examples of applied risk management in mountain regions help to identify persistent challenges and pitfalls, but also provide a basis for advancing towards potential solutions

Poster Abstract:

Recently, the Standing Group on Glacier and Permafrost Hazards (GAPHAZ) of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences and International Permafrost Association (IACS/IPA) published a guideline document for the assessment and mapping of glacier and permafrost related hazards. These guidelines proposefuture oriented and scenario based hazard assessment procedures by applying physically based numerical models for the simulation of related, cascading processes, which is a relatively new field of research. In parallel, mitigation of climate-related risks in recent years has undergone a shift in focus from engineering centered hazard prevention approaches towards more holistic, risk oriented management strategies. Besides structural mitigation measures, such approaches also consider different types of non-structural measures for lowering the risks by reducing exposure and vulnerability, or aiming at increased resilience.

In this contribution, we present the development of a framework for the management of glacier related hazards and risks in India. A group of scientific experts is expanding on existing guidelines and experiences with hazard and risk management in other countries with glaciated mountain ranges. Building on such international best practices and at the same time reflecting regional specifics of the Indian Himalayas and existing disaster risk management plans, guidelines for glacier related hazard and risk assessments in India will be drafted. These guidelines will be accompanied by a report on integrated risk management options, including suggested structural and non‐structural measures. By bringing together international scientific experts, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India, and other stakeholders following this procedure, we want to guarantee that the guidelines will fully benefit from the international scientific state-of-the art knowledge and experience, and at the same time consider the specifics of the Indian Himalayas and eventually be tailored to the identified particular needs of this region.


ID: 303
Workshop & Poster
Flood risk governance in Austria: shifting from hazard to vulnerability reduction 

Nordbeck, Ralf; Löschner, Lukas
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria

Workshop Abstract:

Flood policymaking in Austria’s federal system is characterized by a complex distribution of responsibilities across different levels and sectors of government. This governance arrangement is under pressure due to the influence of climate change and land development as main drivers of future flood risk. A succession of high-impact flood events since 2002 has led to a fundamental reconsideration of existing flood policies in Austria and increased the need for a more integrated approach of managing flood risk. The traditional approach of flood defence was informed by a firm belief in controlling rivers via engineering solutions. In contrast, the paradigm of integrated flood risk management aims to reduce the severity of, and the vulnerability to, flooding based on a portfolio of approaches comprising structural and non-structural measures. As prominently outlined in the EU Floods Directive the promotion of sustainable land use practices, improvement of water retention as well as the controlled flooding of certain areas in the case of a flood event assumes an important role in the nascent policy paradigm.

The findings of our detailed case study show that Austrian flood policies shifted from structural flood defense to a broader portfolio of vulnerability-oriented flood risk management measures. This shift entails new horizontal and vertical governance approaches, stricter land use and building regulations considering flood risks, and a massive increase in flood-related expenditure. Although the bulk of the latter is still spent on structural flood protection, substantial amounts have been used for retaining floodwater to reduce peak flows. This change may be the single most important indication of the ongoing shift towards integrated flood risk management. Although the increase in non-structural measures may not have reversed the balance between hazard and vulnerability reduction strategies, it has certainly boosted the latter.

ID: 304
Workshop & Poster
Fostering mutual knowledge transfer: Can tailor-made risk communication trigger adaptive behaviour?
Keywords: : risk communication, flood hazard, private adaptation measures, adaptive behaviour, mutual knowledge transfer

Attems, Marie-Sophie; Fuchs, Sven
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Damages by natural hazards are rising yearly, partly due to increasing numbers of economic assets in hazard prone areas. Floodplains have always been attractive settlement areas, however due to rising land-use pressure the vulnerability of people and assets increased. Thus, the number of casualties and high economic losses raise the question how societies in risk prone areas can prepare in order to reduce negative impacts of future flood impacts. Due to the fluctuating hydro-meteorological patterns and changing socio-economic factors, flood risk management practices have evolved over time, by moving from purely structural and permanent measures to a combination of the latter and non-structural adjustments. Moving beyond this approach, the adaptation to natural hazards by incorporating private adaptation measures (dry- and wet-flood proofing, barrier systems, deflection of flood discharge, etc.) has risen in attractiveness. The aim of such adaptation measures is to include cost-effective solutions in risk management practices. Risk communication tailored to the needs of people is a vital building block for triggering protective behaviour among the public. Thus, this contribution analyses why people do or do not implement private adaptation measures. Areas prone to floods in Austria and Germany are analysed based on semi-structured interviews and using the Q-method. Thereby, an understanding of preliminary adaptation measures and patterns of protective behaviour can be made. Results show that tailored approaches are effective to trigger protective behaviour in the shape of implementing private adaptation measures. However, there is still a gap between having knowledge on adaptation measures and implementing them. Thus, participatory approaches could fill such gaps, by fostering mutual knowledge transfer between experts and people at risk.


ID: 319
Workshop & Poster
Changes in hydrogeological risk awareness over time: Longitudinal evidence in the North-eastern Italian Alps

Mondino, Elena1,2; Mård, Johanna1,2; Albrecht, Frederike2,3; Borga, Marco4; Scolobig, Anna5; Di Baldassarre, Giuliano1,2
1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden; 2Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), Sweden; 3Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defence Univrsity, Sweden; 4Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Italy; 5Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Hydrogeological hazards are increasingly causing damage in many regions of the world due to climatic and socio-economic changes. When it comes to disaster risk reduction at the local level, building a more resilient community is crucial to reduce potential losses. One of the first steps in promoting community resilience is to understand how people perceive potential threats around them. This study aims at exploring how risk awareness of hydrological hazards changes over time. Two villages in the North-eastern Italian Alps – Romagnano and Vermiglio – are analysed. These two areas were affected by heavy rainfall events that caused debris flows in 2000 and 2002. A few years after these events, in 2005, surveys were conducted in both areas by Scolobig et al. (2012) to assess the non-trivial relationship between risk awareness and preparedness. The authors found that, even when individuals are aware of the hazard risk, they are not necessarily prepared to face it. To unravel the potential changes in risk awareness over time, we conducted a longitudinal study in 2018, which builds on the questionnaire that was administered in 2005. Given the absence of extreme events for almost twenty years, we test the hypothesis that risk awareness has significantly reduced. We repeated part of the original survey in both areas and compared the results to the outcomes of the 2005 survey. A preliminary analysis of survey data does not show major changes in the level of awareness, potentially challenging the hypothesized relationship between risk awareness and time, but only an in-depth statistical analysis will provide additional insights to unravel this counterintuitive result. Apart from highlighting factors potentially affecting risk awareness, the results of this study can guide the study of socio-hydrological systems, inform risk assessment methods, and contribute to the development of better policies for disaster risk reduction.


ID: 350
Workshop & Poster
The complex anatomy of Disaster Risk Governance in Mountains: on the need of an integrated transformation approach
Keywords: Disaster Risk Governance, complexity, transformation, integrated disaster risk science, policy making 

Alcántara-Ayala, Irasema1; Tucker, Catherine May2; Gunya, Alexey3; Jiménez-Zamora, Elizabeth4; Klein, Julia5; Mwangi, Esther6; Xu, Jun7
1Institute of Geography, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico; 2Department of Anthropology & Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, USA; 3Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia; 4CIDES, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia; 5Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability, Colorado State University, USA; 6Centre for International Forestry Research, Kenya; 7Sichuan University, China

Workshop Abstract:

As the impact of disasters continue to mount around the globe, the need to reduce vulnerability and exposure becomes an urgent and complex challenge. Such complexity relates to the lack of effective Disaster Risk Governance (DRG), which is in turn associated with a series of dimensions of diverse nature including social, economic, political-structural, legislative, environmental, and scientific. These complexities have led to policy making and practice that very often neglect integrated territorial management and undermine local sustainability.

Quite evidently, past disasters are a clear expression of disaster risk governance weaknesses and failures in both developing and developed nations. In this investigation we seek to identify the limitations of existing DRG frameworks, which are influenced by bureaucratic structures, lack of transparency and accountability, structural limitations, inequalities, and deficiencies. Additional issues often include absence of financial and technical capacities, of information sharing, and of scientific based evidence to problem solving, among others.

Lack of effective DRG is of particular relevance in mountain areas where ninety percent of the population lives in transitional or developing countries. The occurrence of multi-hazards and their potential increasing frequency under the present scenarios of climate change could seriously intensify risk, triggering disasters with devastating and enduring consequences, not only of human losses, but water and food crises, forced displacements and human rights violations, and diminishing health and well-being. All of these aspects pose critical impediments for mountain development.

Certainly DRG obliges coordinated governance arrangements in terms of multi-sector and multi-stakeholder engagement at all scales. Intrinsically, understanding and addressing the complex anatomy of DRG in mountains would require the identification and recognition of prevailing institutional architectures associated with hierarchy functions and faculties. Moreover, it is crucial to explore opportunities to create synergies directed towards filling the gaps between science, policy making and practice from an integrated disaster risk research perspective.


ID: 379
Workshop & Poster
Enhancing population resilience through an effective risk communication strategy

Keywords: resilience, communication, risk governance, risk communication

Fosson, Jean Pierre; Benati, Alessandro
Fondazione Montagna sicura, Courmayeur (Italy)

Workshop Abstract:

Safe Mountain Foundation (FMS) has established in the year 2000 through a Regional law in order to strengthen and to improve Mountain safety culture. Since its early beginning, FMS has been active in giving mountain safety advice, to foster hazard prevention and trekkers and mountaineers awareness about environmental, technical and scientific issues related to the common high mountain hazards. In particular, communication has mainly made through the web. Thanks to European Cooperation projects (such as Alcotra PrévRiskMont-Blanc 2011-2013), most of its communication has gradually switched to social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube), in order to implement the best communication strategies. Now, FMS Facebook has reached over 11.000 “like”, connecting up to 30.000 people each week and obtaining a high level of followers’ engagement. Since 2018, FMS has also opened an Instagram profile that obtained a positive outcome, in particular to youngsters. Today, FMS big challenge on risk communication is about the Thematic Integrated Plan Alcotra “RISK”, a project that started in autumn 2018 and linked with other past European projects (i.e. RiskNat, RiskNET, PRODIGE). In particular, PITEM RISK goal is to develop and share increasingly effective tools and methods to enhance resilience of those populations that are more susceptible to natural disaster risks, in order to strengthen population awareness about land vulnerability and the impacts of extreme natural phenomena that are becoming more and more frequent. In this project, risk communication activities will have a central role; it will offer the opportunity to select effective tools and methods that could increasingly be prompt and close to the people (orientation participating information actions that involve citizens, authorities, economics stakeholders and Mobile Apps dedicated to real-time communication to the population).

ID: 399
Workshop & Poster
The Role of Risk Communication in Risk Governance: From Research to Practice

Keywords: Risk Communication, Risk Perception, Natural Hazards, Awareness Raising

Hartmann, Sönke1; Pedoth, Lydia1; Schneiderbauer, Stefan1; Rudloff, Anna1,2; Gallmetzer, Willigis3; Macconi, Pierpaolo3; Koboltschnig, Gernot4
1Eurac Research, Institute for Earth Observation, Bolzano, Italy; 2Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany; 3Agency for Civil Protection, Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol, Italy; 4Regional Government of Carinthia, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

Risk communication represents an essential element of integrated risk management. It has the potential to increase the resilience of society, in particular with regard to currently emerging challenges triggered by changing climate and societal conditions. Risk communication may address various relevant aspects of risk management such as to inform about natural hazards, to generate acceptance for and awareness of existing protection measures and remaining risks, to build trust between stakeholders, and to support the development of a risk-competent society.

Many authors of scientific literature point out that there is no universal strategy for risk communication but that it needs to be tailored to specific target groups. This leads to the challenge of transferring knowledge and good practices within diverse socio-economic contexts. In order for risk communication to be efficient, it is important to consider the information needs of the target group(s) and to select most suitable instruments and channels to reach them. Furthermore, the literature reveals that risk communication is closely interwoven with the behavior and the degree of implementation concerning individual precautionary measures. A better understanding of these behaviors offers opportunities to develop target group oriented and renewed risk communication strategies. In particular, ‘peaceful’ periods in the absence of hazardous events provide opportunities to implement a variety of communication measures and participatory interventions to reduce the citizens’ vulnerability in general and improve their preparation for the case of emergency.

This contribution helps to answer the workshop’s guiding questions by sharing results obtained through literature review, expert interviews and citizen surveys within research studies analysing risk communication and perception in Alpine communities. Our results underline the importance of a well-working risk dialogue between institutions and citizens and deliver concrete recommendations for the development and implementation of innovative communication tools.

Poster Abstract:

Risk Communication and Risk Perception in South Tyrol and Carinthia – Recommendations for Improved Risk Communication Strategies

Challenges within risk governance of natural hazards partly emerge due to knowledge gaps concerning the communication of risks to citizens. Particularly the identification and analysis of factors that influence risk perception is required to develop tools that contribute to an increased capacity for the management of natural hazard risks.

The here presented poster exhibits activities and results from the INTERREG project RiKoST (Risk Communication Strategies). Within this study, scientific and institutional partners from South Tyrol (Italy) and Carinthia (Austria) work on developing recommendations concerning improved risk communication strategies. The study is based on a multi-methodological research design following an interactive, participatory and target-oriented approach: In addition to a review of existing literature and communication platforms, the project collects and analyses survey data from twelve municipalities as well as data gained through expert interviews. It thereby aims to better identify and understand institutional needs for communication tools as well as factors influencing the risk perception of citizens, their knowledge about risks and their satisfaction with current risk communication efforts. It further aims to design and implement innovative communication tools (e.g. a web-based platform) and to raise the awareness of citizens through a number of activities such as information campaigns, citizens’ assemblies, expert trainings and workshops in schools.

Within the project, particular importance is given to the presence of diverse mountain communities including socio-cultural aspects such as gender, income, language and vulnerable population groups.

ID: 408
Workshop & Poster
Transformative natural hazard risk education – An approach to link risk communication and sustainability education within the framework of current societal challenges

Keywords: natural hazard risks, Education for Sustainable Development, risk communication, awareness raising, young people

Rudloff, Anna1,2; Pedoth, Lydia1
1Eurac Research, Institute for Earth Observation, Bolzano, Italy; 2Kiel University, Department of Geography, Germany

Workshop Abstract:

In the light of current global societal challenges, natural hazard risk governance requires both adaptive and transformative responses and education can play a key role in that. This contribution proposes to integrate principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into risk communication activities towards young people.

ESD is a pedagogical approach with the overall objective to actively engage in questions of global societal relevance and to foster socio-ecological transformation. Its major goal is to provide knowledge and competences for shaping the future in a sustainable way. Typically, ESD activities are based on interaction, experience, participation and exchange of knowledge and competences.

Within the framework of an integrated natural hazard risk management, I focus on risk communication as knowledge exchange to prevent, prepare for and cope with risks.

Linking risk communication and ESD may develop risk competence in the context of global societal challenges and empower society to advance socio-ecological transformation by learning with natural hazards. Experiences and lessons learned from previous natural hazard events are valuable for prevention and preparedness whereas the topic of natural hazards also represents a tangible entry point for complex and abstract societal challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change and resource depletion. As it is not common practice today to link ESD with natural hazard risk communication, I argue ESD should become integral part of integrated risk management.

Young people are usually less experienced in coping with natural hazard risks whereas in the future young populations are most affected by consequences of risk management decisions taken today. Transformative natural hazard risk education contributes to the development of “risks competent societies” as it provides young people with a comprehensive view on natural hazard risks while allowing to empower them as multipliers for socio-ecological transformation and natural hazard risk governance.

Poster Abstract:

Natural hazard risk education within the framework of current societal challenges – A case study for South Tyrol

This poster presents a case study which exemplifies how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and natural hazard risk communication can be linked in practice. The study is conducted within the framework of my master thesis and of the Interreg projects RiKoST and GreenRisk4Alps. The results should contribute to establish a sustainable risk dialogue by showing options to involve young people.

The study focusses on the agency of young people in South Tyrol (Italy) and aims to raise awareness for natural hazard risks and to trigger engagement for socio-ecological transformation. The concept and the design of the study is based on a literature research on theoretical approaches and case studies for risk dialogue and ESD. Expert interviews will be conducted to tailor activities to the local context and to align them with related policies in the region. The developed concept will be tested and implemented in cooperation with a local high school and foresees a series of activities with pupils including participative mapping exercises, experiments, group work, reviews of past events and moderated discussions. The students should acquire a comprehensive understanding of natural hazard risks, including driving factors and unequal vulnerabilities to risks. As a project at the interface between school education and scientific research, the activities should open a space for exchanging risk and transformation knowledge. All activities follow a participatory, interactive and experience-based approach to learning about natural hazards by specifically assessing the student’s risk perceptions and increasing their awareness for risks and sustainable development.



 ID: 449
Workshop & Poster
One factor among others? Supporting risk awareness of people with migration background in Austria 
Keywords: risk communication, risk awareness, vulnerability, coping capacity, target-groups

Weber, Karin Maria1; Wernhart, Susanna1; Fuchs, Britta1; stickler, Therese2; Balas, Maria2; Damyanovic, Doris1
1Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (Boku Wien), Austria; 2Umweltbundesamt GmbH, Österreich

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

In the recently finished project “CCCapMig“, we analysed risk perception and coping capacities in the context of flood related hazards, focusing on people with migration background in Austria. The research was carried out in two case study regions in Austria, where high exposure to natural hazards, historical flood events and a long tradition of labour migration coincide. A mixed-methods approach combining short street surveys, semi-structured interviews with residents and experts, focus group discussions and mapping of the built environment was used to understand the underlying factors of vulnerability for this group. It was further analysed which information channels are used by people with migration background and how they are involved in participation processes on flood risk management.

The results mirror the diversity within the group of people with migrant groups and show that ethnicity is often not the prevailing factor that determines vulnerability and coping modes. Other individual factors, like age, gender, the level of education, economic capacities and social capital, ownership structures as well play an important role for the capability to recover from past and prepare for future events. In terms of risk perception, natural hazards – and floods in particular – are associated with a low probability of recurrence and ranked low compared to other (daily) risks and struggles among people with migration background who have not been affected recently.

Recommendations for different stakeholders were developed, including municipalities, emergency services and fire brigades, organisations working with migrants, policy and administration, building sector and the target-group itself. Overall, the recommendations aim at a stronger connection between integration and disaster risk management, increasing risk awareness and the awareness of residual risks, ways to promote private adaptation measures, reducing vulnerabilities of communities and strengthening social cohesion.


ID: 458
Workshop & Poster
Investigating the role of alpine forests as Eco-DRR against gravitational hazards: a socio-economic analysis
Keywords: Eco-DRR; Protection forest; Risk management; Stakeholder involvement

Accastello, Cristian1; Poratelli, Francesca1; Renner, Kathrin2; Steger, Stefan2; Cocuccioni, Silvia2; Zebisch, Marc2; Schneiderbauer, Stefan2; Brun, Filippo1
1University of Torino, Italy; 2EURAC Research

Workshop Abstract:

The Alps have experienced deep socio-economic transition changes in the last decades, as land-use changes, mass tourism and increasing limitations to settlement space. Moreover, several studies affirm that, as a consequence of climate change, mountain areas will be particularly affected by more severe natural hazards in magnitude and frequency, posing a severe threat to their liveability. In this complex scenario, the development of resilient risk management strategies against hazards as landslides, avalanches, rockfall and debris flow is paramount.

In mountain environments, Ecosystem-based solutions for Disaster risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) are mainly represented by protection forests, whose historical protective role is often overlooked in the current management strategies. We aim at supporting the local risk governance by fostering the adoption of protection forests as Eco-DRR to be implemented beside grey infrastructures (as net barriers and dams) and land management measures (as construction bans and road closures). We evaluate these different measures from a socio-economic perspective in different case studies across the Alps, assessing and comparing costs and benefits of managing forests with those of the other available solutions. The results of these monetary evaluations are then channeled into grey-green risk management strategies able to optimize the integration of different measures, improving the territorial resilience of the area in the most cost-effective way.

Finally, representatives of the mountain communities are involved in targeted workshops to prioritize such strategies, ranking the most desirable solutions to be implemented in the area. This allows designing effective risk governance strategies responding to the specific features of each area in terms of hazard, risk and mitigation. Moreover, the stakeholders involvement provide relevant findings on the social and policy acceptability of the different measures, making the risk governance process more participative and highlighting the potential role of Eco-DRR instead of, or together with, the standard grey measures adopted hitherto.

Poster Abstract:

Economic evaluation of Eco-DRR and standard protective structures: towards integrated grey-green risk management strategies in the GreenRisk4Alps project

The implementation of effective Ecosystem-based solutions for Disaster risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) is still lacking in the current risk management strategies adopted at local level. This can be due to a general concern about their effectiveness and the costs their adoption entails. In mountain areas, protection forests represent a valuable example of Eco-DRR against gravitational hazard. These stands, despite their historical use, are seldom considered as a reliable solution for risk mitigation.

The Interreg Alpine Space project “GreenRisk4Alps” aims at recognizing the potential role of protection forest and support their adoption as Eco-DRR. The analysis of the effectiveness of such stands has been accompanied in the project by an economic evaluation. Particularly, the cost and benefits of each available protective measure, and their effectiveness against different hazards has been assessed. The measures considered were artificial structures, as rockfall nets or snow fences; land-use limitations, as construction bans and road closures; and protection forest. The economic evaluation has been carried out across several case studies in the Alps adopting the most suitable evaluation approaches, as Replacement Cost method, Avoided Damages or Benefit Transfer, in relation to the features of the area and the exposed assets.

The results of the evaluation represent a valuable information to complement the standard risk analysis. These values, moreover, can help in fostering the role of Eco-DRR among decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the risk governance process and in supporting the development of integrated grey-green risk management strategies to achieve the highest protection level in the most cost-effective way.

ID: 540
Workshop & Poster
Democratizing wildfire strategies. Scaling up a pilot method in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve (Spain)
Keywords: wildfire risk, participatory governance, Spain

Otero, Iago1; Gamboa, Gonzalo2; Bueno, Concepción2
1University of Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Workshop Abstract:

Participatory planning networks made of government agencies, stakeholders, citizens and scientists are receiving attention as a potential pathway to build resilient landscapes. A key challenge lies in incorporating local knowledge and social values about landscape into operational wildfire management strategies. Such strategies entail difficult decisions about intervention priorities among different regions, values and socioeconomic interests. Therefore there is increasing interest in developing tools that facilitate decision-making during emergencies. In this paper we present the experience of an ongoing project to democratize wildfire strategies by incorporating social values about landscape in both suppression and prevention planning. The project, conducted in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve, is scaling up the method developed at the pilot level (Otero et al. 2018). To do so, we are building a network of researchers, practitioners, and citizens across governance scales. We will combine knowledge on expected wildfires, landscape co-valuation by relevant actors, and citizen participation sessions to design a wildfire strategy that minimizes the loss of social values. By doing so, it is expected that the project contributes to adapting forests and communities to climate change effects in wildfire regimes.


Otero I, Castellnou M, González I, Arilla E, Castell L, Castellví J, et al. (2018) Democratizing wildfire strategies. Do you realize what it means? Insights from a participatory process in the Montseny region (Catalonia, Spain). PLoS ONE 13 (10): e0204806.


ID: 308
Specific Research Poster
EconoMe Over the Years: Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Natural Hazard Mitigation Measures
Keywords: risk assessment, natural hazards, mitigation measures, online tool, benefit-cost-ratio

Zaugg-Ettlin, Linda; Bründl, Michael
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland

Poster Abstract:

EconoMe is a tool which was launched in 2008 by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in order to prioritise the distribution of subsidies for mitigation measures. The tool offers a systematic approach to evaluate the risk presented to endangered people and assets by natural hazards, both without and with a proposed mitigation measure. The risk reduction achieved by the mitigation measure is then set in relation to its annual costs, resulting in a benefit-cost-ratio. This ratio and the level of risk to individuals are the primary indicators for the FOEN, whether a mitigation project has high or low subsidy priority. Over the past decade, EconoMe has undergone considerable development. One of the biggest challenges has been to find a consistent, practical but also realistic method for assessing the risk to transportation routes. This difficulty is due to the fact that railway lines and roads are linear features as opposed to buildings, which are treated as point objects in EconoMe. Further changes and enhancements to the EconoMe tool set over recent years include: re-evaluated lethality functions, consideration of multipart and partially effective mitigation measures, the addition of lateral erosion as a hazard process and an EconoMe-Light version, allowing for generalised, rapid risk assessments. We will show the major development steps of EconoMe since 2018 and illustrate its usage with an example project. We will further discuss challenges and goals for the tool’s future and show how we intend to reach them.


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