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DAnube river region Resillience Exchange network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DAREnet (DAnube river region Resillience Exchange network)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

Many areas along the Danube flow are exposed to high flood risks, as illustrated by the seven major damaging floods, which occurred in the Danube River Basin between 2002 and 2014, which caused enormous damages and losses of life. For the future, it is expected that the general flood risk for the Danube region will continue to increase as a result of climate change. Moreover, the number of people and economic assets affected will rise. Practitioners will have to adapt fast to this increasing risk as well as keeping pace with an ever faster changing society. In this context, research, development and innovation (RDI) become key drivers for improving performance and effectiveness of flood response across borders and disciplines, and thereby creating new possibilities to deepen and enhance flood response cooperation throughout the entire region.
Against this background, the mission of the DAREnet project is to support flood practitioners, dealing with Danube flood prevention, response and recovery, across different disciplines and borders, to deepen and broaden their Research, Development and Innovation related collaboration. In particular, DAREnet will enable practitioners to develop joint and coordinated RDI Initiatives, addressing both, common and specific gaps or needs in the practice of flood prevention and response. These initiatives will be conceived, developed and steered by practitioners and will thereby strengthen sustainably flood resilience and practitioner collaboration in the Danube River region.
To achieve this mission, DAREnet is targeting at five distinct objectives:
• To fully deploy the DAREnet Network concept involving a broad range of civil protection professions and organisations from all countries of the Danube catchment;
• To identify, assess and prioritise research and innovation results that have the potential of being useful, usable and used by practitioners;
• To develop and update on a yearly basis an RDI Roadmap for the entire region enabling practitioners to drive the uptake of new solutions through own initiatives;
• To fully involve all strategic stakeholders in the process, in particular the EUCPM, EUSDR, and to build a long-term partnership for the implementation of the DAREnet RDI Roadmap and Initiatives;
• To establish collaborative innovation as a sustainable region-wide, collective practice
With regards to network and community building, DAREnet is very well progressing. The DAREnet National Contacts (DNC), responsible for coordinating the national networks within DAREnet established and extended their national communities of practitioners. These networks include a large spectrum of flood management practitioners as well as external experts from policy making, academia and industry.
DAREnet could establish contacts to relevant European projects and initiatives and exchange information and best practices. This way the DAREnet Community makes actual research results accessible for practitioners and directly contributes practitioner expertise to the European security research community. It needs to be highlighted, that DAREnet established a good relation to the EUSDR PA5 (Environmental risks) dealing with flood risks and management in the Danube region and already contributed to their activities.
Based on the feedback of the DAREnet community the value of the collaboratively formulated DAREnet Challenges and Research and Innovation topics could be confirmed. Additionally, a scenario-based approach was introduced to improve the ground for discussions and workshop activities. Based on these activities specific knowledge could be gathered, reviewed and analysed by DAREnet Topic Working Groups. Their elaborative work led to the 1st edition of the DAREnet RDI roadmap for the Danube river region. This important document summarising concrete innovation opportunities to improve flood management capabilities for the region, was introduced to the community at the 1st DAREnet Annual Practitioner forum in 2019 in Budapest.
Based on the report, DAREnet called for Practitioner Innovation Initiatives, to foster the end-user driven development of new solutions for the region. Resulting from these ten innovation opportunities could be collected and demonstrate the practitioner’s needs and will to improve flood management. Further, DAREnet has successfully set up a common exchange platform and process for innovators (academia, industry and innovating practitioners) to communicate about concepts, prototypes and solutions. This platform also enables for collecting the identified innovations in a knowledge base, accessible for all members of the platform.
Finally, DAREnet’s comprehensive set of communication materials and tools, including its web site, a multi-lingual project video, flyers, posters and roll-ups contribute to increasing the project’s visibility and outreach within the Danube region and beyond.
Practitioners, who are concerned by Danube flood resilience, are confronted with the challenges of global climate change on Danube floods and more generally the protection of lives and economic assets in the Danube region. Innovation is critical for being able to cope with these challenges and this will be one of the key factors determining the future security of the populations in the main flood risk zones. Much practitioner innovation potential is wasted today by insufficient collaboration at the innovation stage, by innovation which is market-pushed rather than pulled by challenges, by innovation which is not effectively taken up by the potential beneficiaries.
The DAREnet Community addresses this gap by working towards more articulated and coordinated uptake of flood management innovations that will positively impact society and will be sustainable in the long-term. DAREnet aims at triggering a shift form the usual market-push to a “practitioner-pull” in the innovation of flood response and prevention. With its RDI Roadmap, DAREnet conveys a clear message about practitioner needs to the security industry and also strengthen the coherence of the demand from the different countries in region.
DAREnet actively seeks the contact to the owners of the practitioner initiatives and support them in the realization process. This way new collaborations between practitioners, research and industry is being created and leads to creating innovative products opening new market perspectives even beyond the Danube region. This will also greatly benefit European industry, and especially innovative SME in the region, to which DAREnet is offering a unique opportunity to knit strategic innovation alliances with later end-users.
By the end of project – and potentially even before - DAREnet will increase the innovation capacity in the area of civil protection, with a special focus on global flood resilience of the Danube region countries by providing a collaborative environment for different flood management stakeholders, by enabling them to prioritise their challenges, identify the associated innovation needs and opportunities and thus direct them towards innovations they really need. Finally, DAREnet will facilitate the uptake of innovative practices and solutions. Furthermore, DAREnet will enable an EU joint network concept for disaster resilience that will create new connections between civil protection organisations in the region and the EUCPM, complementing established cooperation through response assistance modules.