Mitigating Spatial Relevant Risks in European Regi.. (MiSRaR)
Mitigating Spatial Relevant Risks in European Regions and Towns
Start date: Dec 31, 2009,
End date: Dec 30, 2012
The MiSRaR project is about protecting people, environment and property against the destructive impact of natural and technological hazards. Recent examples of such hazards are the 2005 floods that hit Germany, the forest fires in Greece in 2007 and the fireworks disaster in Enschede, the Netherlands in 2001. These events damaged the homes of countless people, the businesses of many entrepreneurs and had a devastating impact on natural beauty. A growing number of European local and regional authorities start to design and implement strategies to minimize the impact of such extreme events. These strategies are called Spatial Mitigation strategies and are the first, and very important, step in a disaster management strategy. The ambition of this project is to exchange experiences and best practices with partners from around Europe that have incorporated the corner stones of mitigation - risk assessment and risk management - in their daily spatial planning practice.A hazard becomes a risk when the vulnerability of the threatened area is high due to the presence of people, nature and property. Extensive attention has been given to reactive orientation on disastrous events in regional policy development, while preventive orientation concentrating on spatial mitigation is an underestimated area. European experience and best practices are widespread but rarely exchanged, which often leads to reinventing the mitigation process wheel over and over again, while this is specifically an aspect of disaster management that consists of similar processes, tools and models that can be applied by local and regional government throughout the EU. The MiSRaR project has been able to identify and select European partners from six countries that deal on a daily base with the challenge of mitigating spatial risks in their regions and/or towns and are involved in spatial mitigation planning on local and regional level.The MiSRaR project has an ambitious agenda. To identify, collect, review and disseminate experiences, the project organizes 16 thematic seminars each covering a specific aspect of risk assessment and risk management. Seminars will be held in each country and focus on exchange of technical knowledge and best practices, stakeholder consultations with relevant public and private organizations and a field visit to witness the actual implementation of mitigation measures. To make sure that other European towns and regions can profit from the exchange activities the project will produce a number of brochures on risk assessment and management topics and a Mitigation Handbook for local and regional policy and decision makers. At the end of the project each partner will organize a dissemination seminar in their home town or region to disseminate the project results and look for opportunities to advocate the use of risk assessment and management in spatial planning efforts. Achievements: The MiSRaR project is about protecting the environment, people and property against the destructive impact of natural and technological hazards. Throughout the EU extensive attention has been given to the reaction to disastrous events in regional policy development, which means that disaster management was aimed primarily at preparedness, response and recovery. However prevention, which entails long-term safety measures and tools, is still and underestimated and less used practice. European experience and best practices are widespread but rarely exchanged, which often leads to reinventing the mitigation process wheel. In response to this development, the MiSRaR project was launched on the 1st of January 2010 aimed at the exchange of best practices in the field of disaster mitigation among the project partners.Through this exchange of expertise, the project is strengthening the development of an integrated European mitigation approach to assist regional and local governments in developing their spatial mitigation plans. Throughout the project, the partners will exchange experiences in each step of this process, starting with a risk assessment leading up to the implementation of actual spatial relevant measures. This process is a continuing cycle. One of the major challenges from the start of the project was the development of a common understanding of the mitigation process and its terminology. The first four seminars were used to draft such a shared understanding, while simultaneously experiences in the field of 1.) hazard identification, 2.) risk analysis and 3.) risk evaluation were exchanged. These first three steps make up the risk assessment phase.The second phase of the disaster mitigation strategy leads to the actual development of a mitigation plan. After the external orientation of the risk assessment, this phase is more focused on the internal organization, targeting 1.) organizational capabilities, 2.) setting objectives and 3.) choosing mitigation instruments. These aspects were tackled during the first half of 2011, leading up to the actual design of mitigation plans themselves. Experiences in the setting of a mitigation plan, including a cost-benefit analysis and the setting of financial and legal frameworks were exchanged in the second half of 2011, leading up to the last step, the actual realization of mitigation measures and the use of lobby and advocacy to obtain these objectives. Experiences in these fields were successfully exchanged during the first half of 2012.Even though the exchange activities are directed towards the project partners and their regional networks, we aim to make MiSRaR a truly European project. Dissemination of the results is therefore at the core of our project. Both the theoretical setting and the practical examples are being presented on the project website and we inform the relevant stakeholders and our national networks on project results through press releases and our bi-annual newsletter. We have also presented our approach towards the risk mitigation process with the relevant stakeholders through the publication of articles on the subject. The results of the project will eventually be brought together in a European handbook and three brochures on risk mitigation. The brochures on Risk Assessment, Mitigation Planning and Implementing Mitigation Strategies have been published in the first halve of 2012. These MiSRaR publications are at the core of the project on a European level.
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