ESPREssO: a European project for transboundary management of natural disasters

Borders do not exist when a natural disaster strikes. This is why 7 partners from 6 European countries have worked together under the ESPREssO project from June 2016 to December 2018.
20 February 2019

ESPREssO: transboundary management of natural disasters

Borders do not exist when a natural disaster strikes. This is the underlying observation that gave birth to the European ESPREssO project.

The aim of the project, which brings together 7 partners from 6 European countries, is to improve synergies between countries in order to manage natural risks more effectively.

© ESPREssO

Borders define modern society. Borders between countries define your nationality, borders between professions define your work life, and borders between properties, your home. Nature, on the other hand, knows no such borders. The 2013 European flooding affected millions of Europeans across 8 European countries. Along with climate change-induced extreme weather, increasing urbanization and ever more dependence on technology and infrastructure, Europe is still more vulnerable to natural hazards. And accordingly, we need to figure out how to work around borders when disaster strikes. The Espresso project wants to enhance synergies in disaster prevention across Europe. We will focus on breaking down three kinds of borders. The borders between countries and how we can improve the framework for preventing disasters affecting more than one European country. The borders between existing efforts, specifically, how to integrate the efforts to adapt to climate change with those reducing impacts of natural hazards. And finally, the borders between research and policy, that is, how we might create better knowledge-based policies and regulations, as well as get researchers to produce more policy-relevant knowledge. Together with experts from all over Europe, we will, in the coming two years, discuss how we can make our home a safer place.

With climate change, accelerating urbanisation and increasing human dependence on technologies and infrastructure, Europe is becoming more and more vulnerable to natural risks.

The ESPREssO project, which involves 7 European partners including the BRGM, was launched in June 2016 under Horizon 2020, the European research and innovation programme, and ended in December 2018. The aim was to help build a new strategic vision for natural risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, geared to opening up new horizons for research and public policy development.

Reaching beyond borders to manage natural risks

The aim of the ESPREssO project was to work across borders to manage natural disasters:

  • across national borders to improve the management of natural disasters that affect more than one European country;
  • removing barriers between existing efforts, especially those geared to mitigating and adapting to climate change, and those aiming to reduce the impacts of natural disasters;
  • closing the gap between research and the world of public policy-making, to develop better regulations and encourage researchers to produce more knowledge relevant to policy decisions.

ESPREssO final outcomes

The ESPREssO project has produced two strategic documents:

  • guidelines on risk management,
  • a perspective on future research strategies to better define priorities following the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction 2015-2030.

The ESPREssO Vision Paper and Guidelines represent a major achievement for the ESPREssO project, being the result of an intense collaborative activity that extended beyond the Consortium partners thanks to the strong collaboration with the scientific community and relevant stakeholders engaged.

The two documents have been presented during the Second Stakeholder Forum and the Final Project Meeting which took place in Brussels on October 18th and 19th, 2018. These events have been a fruitful moment to share the final outcomes with relevant stakeholders and EC-DGs representatives.

Both documents are available in English, French and German.

Partners

The ESPREssO consortium comprises seven European partners with solid expertise in the legal, governance and management aspects of natural risks, the socio-economics of resilience and statistical multi-risk approaches to resilience. The group, chaired by AMRA Scarl (Italy), includes GFZ (Germany), the BRGM (France), Deutsches Komitee Katastrophenvorsorge e.V. DKKV (Germany), ETHZ (Switzerland), Huddersfield University (UK) and Københavns Universitet (Denmark). To facilitate interaction with stakeholders, the BRGM will be supported by the AFPCN (French association for natural disaster prevention), which is also involved in the project as a member of the steering committee.