Beyond the Expected – Dealing with the Case of Overload and Residual Risk of Natural Hazards in the Alpine Region
Dalla Torre C
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An integrated and interdisciplinary management of the risks associated with natural hazards has become most widely standard in the Alps. Integrated risk management (IRM) can be seen as crucial part of the overarching concept of risk governance. Traditionally, in Alpine countries, the population, infrastructure and other assets are protected against natural hazards by means of structural measures up to a specific pre-defined protection goal (e.g. a 100-year flood). Events with intensities that exceed these protection structures are called ‘cases of overload’ and require additional protective measures due to their high damage potential. The present study investigates the status quo of risk governance concerning such events and the ‘residual risk’ associated with them in the Alpine region. It has been carried out within the scope of the project ‘AlpGov’ (Implementing Alpine Governance Mechanism of the European Strategy for the Alpine Region), which is funded by the European Commission’s Territorial Co-Operation program. AlpGov supports the work of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) in improving the risk governance of natural hazards in the Alps. The specific goal of this study was to identify potential activities to enhance current risk governance approaches in the context of residual risk and the case of overload in Alpine countries. It covered research on the understanding and conceptualization of residual risk, the collection of good practices related to this topic, and the elaboration of recommendations. The study work comprised of four methodological steps to collect relevant information, namely (I) literature review, (II) online questionnaire, (III) expert interviews, and (IV) the analysis of acquired information as base for the elaboration of recommendations. This talk will elaborate on the urgency to address this topic and will include a discussion on the applied methodology. Identified key findings and their further use within EUSALP activities as well as further efforts to improve the risk governance of natural hazards in the Alps will be presented. Within this presentation, particular focus will be put on the understanding and use of the terms ‘residual risk’ and ‘case of overload’ and the role of non-structural protection measures in currently applied risk governance processes.
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