Home Database Research and knowledge projects Enhancing risk management partnerships for catastrophic natural hazards in Europe

Enhancing risk management partnerships for catastrophic natural hazards in Europe (ENHANCE)


The frequency and economic damage of natural disasters has increased in Europe. Losses are expected to continue to rise as a result of urban and economic activities and climate change. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is required to reduce the risk from natural hazards. DRR, however, is a complex task that involves many actors and often cuts across sectors and geographical scales. ENHANCE aimed at developing and analysing new ways to enhance society’s resilience to catastrophic natural hazard impacts.

As a result the ENHANCE project recommends (new) Multi-Sector Partnerships (MSPs) for managing DRR, based on 10 case studies. MSPs involve a mix of partners from the public and private sectors and civil society organizations. Project results show MSPs have the potential to significantly improve disaster risk management. Using the ‘capital approach’, MSPs were assessed on their healthiness to cope with natural disasters, resulting in the following general recommendations that support the UNISDR Sendai Framework for DRR and the UNFCCC Loss and Damage discussion.

Risk Assessment:

  • Risk extremes and economic damage should be taken into account in international risk reduction and risk financing initiatives. This supports both the Sendai Framework as the UNFCCC Loss and Damage approach.
  • Reliable and accurate risk information is key for the well-functioning of an MSP. For this, the availability of empirical loss data is imperative, and a concerted action is needed to make such data public.
  • Risk assessment methods of extremes through extreme value analysis and joint probability distributions (Copula’s) significantly enhance the reliability of risk scenario’s.
  • In-direct economic effect from disasters in areas that are not directly affected, but are linked to the disaster area through supply of goods and services, may account up to 40% of the total damage. More research is needed to further assess adaptation options to reduce this risk.

Perception and Behaviour:

  • Risk perception is an important driver for DRR. Risk perception is largely influenced by factors such as: experience with previous disasters, financial incentives and socio-economic conditions, of individuals.
  • By better targeting individual behaviour of households towards DRR through, e.g., communication and providing financial incentives such insurance deductibles, risk reduction can be improved up to 35%.
  • EU regulation such as the Flood directive should provide more incentives to households, activating the enormous potential of DRR through individuals.
  • Insurance schemes should be better linked to EU regulation (flood directive, Solvency II, EU Solidarity fund), as they already have close ties with individual households, and can stimulate DRR at local levels.
  • For this, we need an improved understanding of individuals’ perception and behaviour towards disaster risk. Agent based Models are powerful tools to simulate effects from human behaviour on DRR

Insurance & Economic Instruments:

  • Risk transfer schemes such as insurance and the EU solidarity fund, are only viable in the future with considerable increase in physical protection measures/DRR
  • Without DRR, premiums for, e.g., flood insurance in several EU countries such as Germany and France may increase up to 120%.

Disaster Risk Reduction/Adaptation

  • DRR measures may significantly decrease risk; more efforts are needed to involve individual households.
  • Adaptation/DRR efforts should include the whole realm: from warning systems, protection to spatial planning effort.

Project information


Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam - NL


Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam - NL
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei - IT
Helmholtz- Zentrum Geesthacht, Zentrum für Material-und Küstenforschung - DE
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis - AT
London School of Economics and Political Science - UK
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - CH
Université catholique de Louvain - BE
European Business and Innovation Centre Network / ARCTIK - BE
Instituto de Ingeniería del Agua y Medio Ambiente, Universitat Politècnica de València - ES
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford - UK
HKV Consultants - NL
Joint Research Centre, European Commission - EU
Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa - PT
Academia de Studii Economice din Bucaresti - RO
University of Iceland - IS
Institute for Earth and Environmental Science, Universitaet Potsdam - DE
ClimateWise - UK
Willis Research Network - UK
Empresa Mixta Valenciana de Aguas S.A. - ES
OpenTrack Railway Technology Gmbh - AT
Perspectives GmbH - DE
Agenzia Regionale Prevenzione e Ambiente dell’ Emilia-Romagna - IT
Wadden Sea Forum e.V. - DE
Metacortex S.A. – PT

Source of funding

EU FP7 - grant agreement No 308438

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Feb 24 2021

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