27 August 2013 - 30 August 2013

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference

IIASA scientists will be presenting their research on European hazard governance systems to geographers from across the globe at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference in London

Under the 2013 conference theme of ‘New geographical frontiers’, IIASA scientists will be presenting as part of the 'Risk - and responsibility - sharing in natural hazards debate' session. The session is aimed particularly at addressing how risk governance and policy in Europe are changing.


Are the European natural hazard governance systems ready for multi-risk mitigation and management?

Nadejda Kommendantova (IIASA)

Anna Scolobig (IIASA)

Charlotte Vichon (BRGM)

Several European countries are exposed to multiple natural hazards, such as volcanic risks, landslides, flooding, seismic risks, fires. These hazards can cause conjoint effects, when a series of parallel adverse events are generated by different sources, such as earthquake and a landslide generated by it. Or they can cause cascade effects, when an adverse event, located inside or outside the region, triggers one or more sequential events. The multi-risk assessment methodologies provide framework for quantitative evaluations of potential damages caused by these hazards. These methodologies are well developed from the scientific viewpoint, but their implementation in the existing institutional landscapes and governance systems is still under question.

We believe that the question of whether the existing natural hazard governance systems are able to deal with a multi-hazard situation is an important one. Indeed, as shown by several examples in the history of natural hazards, the ability to mitigate cascading and conjoint risks can lead to a reduction in human losses, more efficient risk mitigation and distribution of available resources. New risk and responsibility sharing structures and forms of partnerships may play a crucial role in the development of effective multi-hazard governance.

In this paper we focus on these issues by presenting the results of two case studies. The first one is Naples in Italy, the second one is Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. The research design included a review of existing scientific, regulatory and official documents, in-depth experts interviews with major stakeholders involved into natural hazard risk mitigation and focus groups. The results of the comparative analysis show how the development of new forms of partnerships between the public and the private sector is a necessary prerequisite for effective multi-risk governance.

For more information about the conference and the full programme, please click here.

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Last edited: 26 March 2014


Nadejda Komendantova

Research Scholar

Advanced Systems Analysis

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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