CRISMAS is built on experiences of the Interreg IVC project MiSRaR and the EU project PRISMA. In MiSRaR good practices on “spatial mitigation” have been shared between 7 decentral governments across the EU. This has resulted in a practical, non-technical MiSRaR handbook with lessons on the design and implementation of public risk management processes. In PRISMA these lessons have been tested on actual cases for transport of hazardous substances, wild fires and urban fires.
The MiSRaR handbook covers the following subjects (chapters).
On each of these subjects the handbook describes the general principles and issues, provides lessons learnt by the MiSRaR partners, gives examples of good practices and helps with concrete checklists with the steps to take.
The understanding of risk management and Disaster Risk Reduction starts with the understanding of risk. In practice local partners across Europe use different definitions of risk, derived from international literature. Comparison has shown that the various definitions ultimately amount to the same thing. The definitions only put different elements of the risk concept on the foreground. The two main definitions are:
Risk = probability x impact
Risk = hazard x vulnerability
An important distinction is that between the English terms risk and hazard, which in several languages both translate into the same word. Given the second definition the difference between a risk and a hazard lies in the vulnerability of the risk recipients: a potential hazard involves only the (likely) negative effect of an incident (disaster or crisis). The degree of vulnerability of people and the environment for such an effect determines whether this also amounts to a significant risk. To illustrate: a flooding itself can be seen as a hazard. However, if this occurs in an uninhabited area, without economic or ecological value, there is no or little risk.
Vulnerability is a composite concept, which consists of exposure and susceptibility. To illustrate: the extent to which buildings are vulnerable to a flood, depends both on the extent of the exposure (what is the height of the water?) and the degree to which it is actually truly affected by water (of what material and how solid is it built?).
The difference between the two definitions lies in the grouping of concepts. Combining these concepts creates the following aggregate definition:
The most important lessons can be summarized in what the MiSRaR project has come to call the RISCE approach (pronounce: ‘risky’). This approach states that for a successful mitigation strategy at least the following five basic principles have to be taken into account:
Risk assessment: insight in risks is the starting point for successful mitigation.
Integral: only when all effects and all vulnerabilities are taken into account a meaningful mitigation strategy can be designed. A successful strategy includes measures in all layers of multi layer safety.
Structural: mitigation is a continuous process, which has to be embedded in the relevant organizations.
Cooperation: all relevant government agencies, civil society, industries and inhabitants need to cooperate.
Early: risks can be most effectively mitigated if safety is considered in spatial development as early as possible.
Risk management and territory development are dynamic processes with different rhythms. Therefore, it is essential for succesful mitigation that an active link exists, not only between spatial and mitigation plans, but also between the spatial and mitigation processes.
For more information on the MiSRaR approach, ideas, lessons and good practices, have a look at the MiSRaR handbook: