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Costs of Natural Hazards

Final Report Summary - CONHAZ (Costs of Natural Hazards)

The project aimed at compiling and synthesising current knowledge on cost assessment methods to strengthen the role of cost assessments in the development of integrated natural hazard management and adaptation planning. In order to achieve this, CONHAZ has adopted a comprehensive approach, considering natural hazards ranging from droughts, floods and coastal hazards to Alpine hazards, as well as different impacted sectors and cost types. Its specific objectives have been:
1) to compile the state-of-the-art methods for cost assessment;
2) to analyse and assess these methods in terms of technical aspects, as well as terminology, data quality and availability, and research gaps; and
3) to synthesise resulting knowledge into recommendations as well as to identify further research needs.

CONHAZ' main results include key findings concerning current best practices (objective 1), their analysis, assessment and contrast with end-user needs and practices (objective 2) and the identification of knowledge gaps and recommendations. In a first step towards the achievement of objective 1 and 2, findings on current best practices are presented from a general methodological perspective and structured along the cost types analysed under CONHAZ, i.e. direct costs and costs due to business interruption, indirect costs, intangible, non-market costs, and risk mitigation costs.

The geographically dispersed CONHAZ consortium enabled an effective action for improving the access to state-of-the-art knowledge for costs of natural hazards and achieved to engage the project with societal and political actors. By its very composition of the consortium that involves different disciplines from natural and social sciences and due to its matrix structure, the project accomplished to foster knowledge exchange between and across different hazard communities, firstly within the consortium, secondly, within its wider network, and thirdly, with civil society, practitioners, and policy makers.

Within the CONHAZ consortium, a continuous communication and information exchange contributed to this aim benefitting from the established website, project meetings, workshops and the final conference. From the beginning, CONHAZ took into account a number of other national and European initiatives, networks and councils such as, for instance, alpS-project 3.2C CapHaz-Net, ERA-NET CRUE projects Flood-ERA and RISK MAP, FLOODSITE, and MICORE due to its consortium composition. A stakeholder database, that was established at the start of the project, had continuously been updated and used for dissemination purposes in order to reach a wider scientific audience as well as a broader network of societal and political actors. In the onset of the project, links to networks and initiatives have been intensified and further ones established to foster knowledge exchange and take advantage of learning potentials with the help of the great range of dissemination activities. The consortium put great efforts in enabling CONHAZ to link to, for instance, other EU projects related to different types of natural hazards (e.g. DROUGHT-R&SPI and AMICE), projects related to multi- risk and risk prevention (for instance, MATRIX and KULTURisk), or projects related to vulnerability, adaptation and resilience (e.g. MOVE and ENSURE). The CONHAZ hazard workshops together with its Final Synthesis Conference allowed to present project results and assess them with a wide range of experts, including European Commission (EC) scientific officers, representatives from insurance companies and consultancies from different natural hazard communities to ensure strengthening the role of cost assessments of natural hazards by engaging with civil society, policy makers and practitioners.

The set-up of a website and logo in the beginning of the project served to introduce CONHAZ to the public, and to present it with results and reports during and beyond its duration. At the same time, the website internally functioned as communication and exchange platform, further contributing to the knowledge exchange and learning process within the consortium. Furthermore, the project logo was designed at an early stage in the project used in all documents of CONHAZ.

The establishment of a stakeholder database was a prime aim of the project, containing contact details of decision makers, stakeholders, policy makers and representatives of the civil society from the local, regional, national as well as European Union (EU) level to be used for dissemination activities.

CONHAZ stakeholder workshops and conference introduced the invited academic experts, decision makers, policy makers as well as representatives of the civil society to central results of CONHAZ and fostered their review by integrating end users' needs and preferences. Considering that all workshops and the final synthesis conference contributed to the CONHAZ reports and its synthesis report, this ensured the wide-spread dissemination of knowledge based on a mutual learning approach and knowledge exchange.

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