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Improved quality assurance / quality control of data used in decision-making related to risk management of natural hazards, accidents and CBRN events


Risk management of natural hazards and CBRN-E events closely rely on available data, taking into account uncertainties brought on by climate change and Earth dynamics. The soundness of decisions is based on quality data, which justifies that continuous efforts are made to improve their quality assurance / quality control, in particular in the natural hazards area as well as in the CBRN-E area. In many instances, measurement data used in decision-making are rarely challenged in the areas of crisis management and/or mechanisms are still underdeveloped to systematically demonstrate their quality (e.g. in the case of substances of criminal nature such as biological toxins). Quality assurance / Quality control (QA/QC) are prone to standardised procedures such as the EN 45000 Series, which includes requirements related to laboratory settings, analytical techniques, criteria for analytical performances (e.g. accuracy, repeatability, limits of detection etc.) that are well implemented in sectors such as the environment (including water), food and health. In other areas requiring monitoring data of physical, chemical or biological nature related to risk assessment of natural hazards such as climate threats and pandemics, man-made (accidental) risks (e.g. chemical substances in Seveso-type environments) or terrorism threats (e.g. chemical or biological toxins used for criminal purposes), the QA/QC rules are much less known and followed. In particular, the systematic comparison of measurement techniques related to risk assessment of natural hazards (including health) and CBRN-E data is not wide-spread and references data or materials are often lacking. Recent developments have led to the testing of proficiency testing schemes for biological toxins of potential bioterrorism risk, but a general framework for checking data quality and controlling laboratory and analytical technique performances (including from measurement data directly gathered in the field) does not yet exist at European level. There is hence a need to evaluate the needs for QA/QC developments in relevant areas for which physical, chemical and biological measurement data are insufficiently checked for quality, and to develop an appropriate EU-wide approach to improve and demonstrate this quality, thus ensuring a traceability and comparability of data used throughout Europe for sound risk- and evidence-based decision-making.