EGU General Assembly 2007
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  Information - NH9.05 Economic aspects and societal decision making in hazards and risk management

Event Information
In the planning of mitigation measures against natural hazards, there is an increasing need for interdisciplinary approaches.
The session discusses the role, influence, and value of scientific information in societal (collective) choices, decisions, and outcomes on the one side, and the consideration of economic information on the other side.
Scientific information and the potential actions taken by decision makers addressing any issues relating to natural hazards and risks are expected to improve policy and management outcomes for society. However, analysis of community vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards and risks depend on more than just the natural science input for policy implementation. Decisions depend, in large part, on human preferences and behaviour. We can assume that societal decisions involve uncertain human behaviour and depend on less than perfect statistical measurement of the natural or man-made hazard. Regardless of how informative scientific information is for application, human preference and judgment varies widely among decision makers. Decisions concerned with setting policies and codifying regulations are affected by the statistical content and accuracy of the scientific information. Sources of information include local knowledge, regional data, and national projections, as well as short and long time periods, often including anecdotal historical perspectives. Further, because the sources of scientific uncertainty pertain to long hazard recurrence intervals and widely varying regional settings, significant variation of risks will occur among otherwise comparable communities. While systematic application of scientific information is a critical input to policy and regulatory decisions, communication of the information and uncertainty affects its utility.
Along with technical, ecological, and aesthetical requirements, the consideration of economic aspects became more and more important during the last years, mainly due to limited financial resources of the public sector in most European countries. Thus, economical valuation techniques like cost-efficiency-analysis and cost-benefit-analysis are increasingly applied in order to optimise the allocation of financial resources for the mitigation of natural hazard risk. Furthermore, discussions on market solutions versus politically determined approaches had been raised, leading to innovative studies in the field of natural hazard risk management. However, methods used for economic analyses differ, as well as assumptions made within the valuation processes. Consequently, the results of different studies can hardly be compared to each other. Thus, there is a need for inter- and trans-disciplinary exchange with respect to the variety of methodologies used and results obtained.
For this session we invite contributions both from the technically oriented field and the economical field. We invite presentations about the use and value of scientific information for decision making under uncertainty and any further topic related to science and societal decision making. From the economic point of view, contributions should address the valuation of technical, biological, organisational and land use planning measures and their optimisation in the technical and/or economical sense; but also with respect to other factors such as e.g. policy. Reducing societal risks depends on many economic, psychological, and social factors that are not part of a site-specific natural science or engineering investigation. We will hopefully get an insightful overview in research related to the topic of the session with the aim of an open-minded and far-reaching discussion.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


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