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Boosting Disaster Prevention through Innovative Risk Governance

Insights from Austria, France and Switzerland

image of Boosting Disaster Prevention through Innovative Risk Governance

In 2014 the OECD carried out work to take stock of OECD countries' achievements in building resilience to major natural and man-made disasters. The report suggested that albeit significant achievements were made through effective risk prevention and mitigation management, past disasters have revealed persistent vulnerabilities and gaps in risk prevention management across OECD. Based on the findings of this OECD-wide report a cross-country comparative study was undertaken in Austria, France and Switzerland to test the recommendations put forward in specific country contexts. This report summarises the individual and comparative country case study findings. It highlights that the risk prevention policy mix has shifted in favor of organisational measures such as hazard informed land use planning or strengthening the enforcement of risk sensitive regulations. In the meantime, the great need for maintaining the large stock of structural protection measures has been overlooked and vulnerability might increase because of that. The report highlights the need for better policy evaluation to increase the effectiveness of risk prevention measures in the future. The report highlights practices where countries succeeded to make risk prevention a responsibility of the whole of government and the whole of society, by analysing supporting governance and financing arrangements.

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Boosting resilience through innovative risk governance: the case of the Rhône river in France

This chapter summarises France’s progress in bolstering resilience against natural disasters through innovative risk governance across the Rhône River Basin. Due to the basin’s large size, natural hazards include river and coastal floods, but also torrents, storms and earthquakes. The chapter shows that a major Rhône flood is considered a critical risk for France, given the basin’s size and economic importance. The chapter explains that recent floods have sparked a number of disaster risk prevention reforms, emphasising the need for a basin-wide approach, as well as giving local communities an important role in engaging in local risk management. It is shown that during reform processes it is key to dedicate adequate financial and technical competences to those with new disaster risk prevention responsibilities. Finally, the chapter emphasises the large untapped potential of a whole-of-society approach to risk management, where clear roles are assigned and risks are effectively communicated to all stakeholders.

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