Research and policy advisors share thoughts on flood risk at Paris conference

The 2019 European Conference on Risk Perception, Behaviour, Management and Response was an extraordinary event, where research and policy advisors met to exchange thoughts on research results, knowledge, ideas and perspectives regarding risks, especially flood risk.

My personal impression was that lots of information, tools, studies and knowledge are available, but only partially applied in decision-making and practice. Discussions of interest were around the role of power and control at different governance levels, and also in analysing the power behind decision-making processes, which might be an interesting field of research. What also raised my interest was the issue of disaster risk creation, so looking at disasters from a point of mal-development, but also the issue of increasing inequalities between groups of society and the impact of disasters on these quite heterogeneous groups. This led me to realise that social aspects need to become more widely considered in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, thus disaggregating population and social vulnerabilities in research, but also in decision-making processes.

A topic that was touched upon is cross-border collaboration, which is increasing, partly due to efforts in implementing the Floods Directive, but there is still a way to go.

We also looked at the roles of individuals, who can do quite a lot in terms of impact reduction, motivation to take adaptive action, and individual capacity and resources as contributions to public activities.

Finally, the importance of indicators was discussed, but due to the absence of a baseline to measure against, monitoring might not reach its aim of identifying and depicting change. But indicators stemming from Sendai, SDGs and Paris were seen as pertinent. Also in this context, the issue of social vulnerability was again highlighted as very relevant.

Due to the many activities from different actors at the conference, a broad overview was provided and participants had the option to explore different challenges, but also solutions from very many different angles and perspectives.

Thank you for this great and inspiring event, as well providing the opportunity to present the efforts of PLACARD and especially the Foresight workstream.