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Multi-hazard risk management for risk-informed decision-making in the E.U.

Actions are encouraged to capitalise on and assess existing methodologies, models and tools for disaster risk management available at EU and national levels in order to define a common framework for risk and vulnerability assessments for areas exposed to multiple natural hazards. Based on the diagnosis of multi-hazards and multi-risk assessments, innovative decision-making tools that help planners to make effective and future proofed risk management choices need to be developed (e.g. dynamic adaptation pathways to address future and emerging threats). Sustainable adaptation options including ecosystem-based approaches such as Nature-Based Solutions – that are cost-effective and provide multiple co-benefits should be prioritised where appropriate.

Research actions should aim to develop a harmonized and standardised multi-hazard risk management approach in order to compare the threats and combined effects posed by several natural hazards (geological, hydrological, meteorological and biological), including hazards from compounded events, and evaluate the risks related to their interactions and cascade/simultaneous effects on the socio-ecological systems. A forward looking perspective, paying due attention to future trends and drivers (such as climate change) should be ensured. In this perspective, quantitative scenarios on present and future risks, on potential direct and indirect effects, in a multi risk environment need further developments. In order to be more operational, such a framework should be developed in close cooperation and dialogue between science and practice with the key actors and end-users to take into account their needs in the scientific development of multi hazard/multi risk assessment methods and enable feasible solutions for more practical use.

In light of the above, actions should also seek to develop mapping tools and user-friendly ICT open interfaces to better understand the model scenarios and outputs. Emphasis on systemic vulnerability of different sectors exposed to multi-hazard risk (e.g. agriculture, forests and other economic sectors, land use, infrastructure, ecosystems) will require particular attention in building the risk analysis. Similarly, uncertainty should be more consistently addressed to provide reliable estimates of vulnerability and risks. Action should take advantage of data and information provided by the Copernicus programme, in particular the Copernicus Emergency Service, and the European Research Infrastructure Consortiums (ERIC) such as the European Plate Observing System (EPOS) and the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and Water Column Observatory (EMSO). Actions should also build upon and seek collaboration with the projects funded under the relevant SC7 DRS topics.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3-5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Risks due to natural hazards have increased dramatically in Europe, due to deep changes in climate, land use and socio-economic evolution since the 20th century. Improved disaster risk management and reduction requires an integrated approach to better forecast, prevent and adapt to multiple hazards, their interactions and impacts. Innovative and comprehensive methodologies, models and tools that assess multi-hazard risks and associated cascading effects and take due account of future drivers (such as climate change), have the potential to represent the leverage to help risk managers and decision-makers prioritise mitigation/adaptation actions, resilient preparedness and response, and develop sustainable and resilient development pathways.

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • a consensus in better definitions, indicators and functions to characterise multi-hazard risk through enhanced inter-disciplinary collaboration between the different science and practice communities addressing various types of hazards, disaster risk and sustainable development;
  • prioritisation of investments and pertinent selection of effective risk reduction management options;
  • enhanced capacity for identification of vulnerable, threatened areas and infrastructures most at risk from multi hazards in Europe;
  • better informed forward-looking national risk assessments that also take into account long-term drivers such as climate change, and enhanced implementation of existing legislation and streamlining of policies;
  • enhanced risk-informed decisions on land-use planning addressing trade-offs between differing prioritized adaptation options and competing policy goals;
  • enhanced understanding of the relationships and interactions of multiple hazard, including compound events and cascading risks and risk related processes driven by environmental and societal changes on different time and spatial scales;
  • better knowledge exchange through platforms such as Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre, and stakeholder networks on emergent risks and extreme events (e.g. Community of Users, Risk Knowledge-Action Network).