The goal of WP5 was: (1) To present the application of the risk concept as a basis for the development
of protection strategies using European case studies, (2) to discuss uncertainties in risk analysis and their effects on decisions, (3) to propose
ways of dealing with multi-risk situations, (4) to document technically the
methodology for risk-based decision making, (5) to illustrate examples of
best practice from the partner countries Austria, France, Italy, Norway and
Switzerland, and (6) to recommend ways of dealing with natural hazards
in Alpine countries.
Some best practice examples of integral risk management of the three processes snow avalanches, rock avalanches and debris flows have been addressed in case studies published as scientific papers. The case study on rock avalanches, for example, presents current attempts to quantify potential risk in Norwegian communities that could be impacted by a tsunami wave caused by the Åknes rockslide. It explores how risk can be quantified using two different methodologies: an explicit approach and a Bayesian networks approach. The case study on snow avalanches presents a method for optimizing avalanche mitigation for traffic routes in terms of both their risk reduction impact and their net benefit to society. The results suggest that the site-specific characteristics of avalanche paths, as well as the economic importance of a traffic route, are decisive for the choice of optimal mitigation strategies.
The technical report provides the technical basis for risk assessment and risk management, and could serve as a reference handbook for practical applications.
The best-practice handbook outlines methods for integral risk management from a practical point of view. Illustrated with three case studies, it provides recommendations for today’s and tomorrow’s “best-practice” in integral risk management in European countries. In national workshops experts from the risk management sector were interviewed to examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) within the operational risk management process. Some of the main results of the qualitative group discussion are listed here:
• Prevention is the only well-integrated part of the mitigation strategy. Thus the whole mitigation process cannot yet be considered “integral”;
• Tools for risk assessment should be improved to make them more user friendly;
• Not all stakeholders are familiar with the notion of risk culture;
• More instructions and education on risk perception is needed;
• The roles and competence of stakeholders are often not clearly defined, neither on the strategic nor on the operational level.
The insights in this work package were disseminated at an international conference in Davos, Switzerland in May 2008 with participants from seven European countries. The focus of this conference was on presenting and discussing the results of the project with not only scientific researchers, but also practitioners and administrators.