The transboundary regions of the western Alps have an abundance of highly diverse natural environments, from coastal regions to the Mont Blanc.
The whole area is exposed to both natural and technological risks as well as to climate change effects such as retreating glaciers, hydrogeological imbalances, gravity-related ground instability, soil erosion and increasing exposure to wildfires, flooding and coastal erosion.
Involving local populations in managing natural risks in the Alpine area
The PITEM RISK project (2018-2022) is the outcome of a decision to combine two transboundary networks in the Alcotra area, one managing natural risks, the other managing emergency situations, and both with well-proven experience.
The aims of the project were to improve capacities for action beyond borders in the ALCOTRA Alpine area straddling France and Italy, provide for communication and educational activities for the general public and training for active players, and overcome a number of operational difficulties that still arise. The most significant transboundary methods and tools were tested in pilot zones.
The PITEM RISK project was coordinated by Italy's autonomous Aosta Valley Region with the Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur SUD Region, the council for the Hautes-Alpes département, the fire and emergency services for the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Savoie départements, the Piedmont Region, the Turin Metropolitan Area, the CIMA Foundation and the BRGM.
The project comprised 4 thematic components and 1 coordination component:
- PITEM RISK-COM on resilience, information, society and communication
- PITEM RISK-GEST on local areas and data interoperability
- PITEM RISK-FOR on crisis management
- PITEM RISK-ACT on pilot activities
- The PITEM RISK Coordination and Communication component
A new momentum for the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region
In this context, the BRGM brought a new momentum to the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region, with its co-founding partners, the DREAL for the PACA Region and the SUD PACA regional authority.
This involved a complete redesign of the website for the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region, in order to make the data available not only on regulations and for information purposes, but also to display georeferenced maps thanks to interoperable data sharing with Italian sources.
The Observatory will also become a hub for natural risks observations in the region by introducing communication innovations, exchanging knowledge on natural risks with Italy and acting as a focal point for all knowledge dissemination on major risks.
Regarding the component on risks in the local area, the BRGM's activities concentrated on processing and distributing the results of the Alcotra AD-VITAM project, which investigated the relationships between rain and landslip triggering in order to apply the scientific methodologies and models developed by the project in several pilot sites in the Alps. The aim was to improve prevention and prediction of ground movement phenomena to increase the response capacities of the services involved.
PITEM Risk ended on 13, 14 and 15 March 2023 with the PITEM Risk-ACT closing seminar, which was held in Aosta, Italy, with all the French and Italian partners, and the participation of several target audiences such as schoolchildren, mayors and geological technicians, engineers and mountain guides in participatory workshops and exchanges on digital risk management support tools.
This seminar also allowed BRGM to present the main achievements of the project, in particular the redesign of the Regional Observatory of Major Risks in Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (ORRM PACA) or the study on the socio-economic consequences of the isolation of valleys, as well as the more specific actions on the theme of gravity (in particular concerning the Pas de l'Ours landslide in the Hautes-Alpes). All the project's products are available on the PITEM Risk website.