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Flood Risk ANticipation and Communication in the Alps (LIFE FRANCA)
Start date: Jul 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background Recent hydro-geological events in Italy, such as floods and landslides, have increased public awareness of the link between climate change and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The EU Floods Directive requires Member States to produce flood risk maps for all watercourses and coastlines and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce flood risks. Specific recommendations were included in the “Guidelines on local adaptation to climate change for water management and natural hazards in the Alps” (Alpine Convention, 2014). The Italian National Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change that was adopted in 2015 identifies Alpine regions as highly vulnerable: special attention must be paid to the management of water resources in these areas. Medium-to-long term strategies and adaptation measures for mountain areas must be developed to increase climate changev resilience. The complexity of future risk flood management scenarios suggests they must be accompanied by a communication strategy to allow the different actors and stakeholders to be better able to face the challenges. Objectives The LIFE FRANCA project aims to support the anticipation and awareness of flood risk, by identifying shortcomings and developing communication strategies on flood risk in selected areas of the Alps – specifically in the Autonomous Province of Trento. The project will focus particularly on the management of emergencies and attitudes to flood risk. Research has shown that different social groups have different understandings of flood risks and different degrees of acceptance of the necessary management measures). The project will address attitudes linked to the perception of “zero risk” conditions or the total delegation of responsibilities. Specific objectives of the project are: To improve communications on flood risks, by supporting both providers of information (through training for public bodies) and those who receive the information (through education and awareness raising of different stakeholder groups); To involve communities and stakeholders and encourage habits that can minimise the risks in a given territory; To develop an attitude of co-responsibility between public and private actors when it comes to undertaking actions; and To produce guidelines on communicating and anticipating flood risk. Expected results: The project expects to increase awareness of flood risk and the need for collaborative attitudes among different social actors in vulnerable Alpine areas. It will do this through the creation of long-term sustainable tools that will permanently improve awareness of and preparedness for climate change-related risks. These include the following: Customised maps of flood risk in case study areas for different user groups (decision makers, technicians/professionals, general public); An analysis of how the different target stakeholder groups perceive flood risk; Creation of a digital platform (app and webGIS module) to disseminate information about flood risk maps and scenarios; Creation of an educational project with digital interactive exhibits/web media for schoolchildren and their families; A model of anticipatory governance for flood risk in the Alps, including a support programme for involving stakeholders in anticipatory exercises; A handbook for flood risk communication designed to be used by public bodies and professional groups in all Alpine regions; A communication strategy that includes meetings with local communities, public servants and technicians, training events for planning officers, journalists and relevant professional groups (architects, engineers), and a range of information materials (leaflets/videos etc.) hosted on the project’s website; and Development of a collaboration network for preparing wider projects (with and without EU funds) involving other regions and entities (Basin Authority of Eastern Italian Alps, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, ARPA Emilia-Romagna, ARPA Veneto, ARPA Valle d'Aosta, ARPA Friuli Venezia Giulia, Fondazione Lombardia per l'Ambiente, and EURAC).
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