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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
WED7.6: Risk governance
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 6:55pm - 8:00pm

Poster Session


Institutional responses to coastal hazards: a comparative perspective


hebrew university, Israel, State of

Institutional failure resulting in bad governance has been regarded by some as a root cause of human vulnerability to disasters. The social construction of natural hazards and the impact of governance structures on vulnerability require an in-depth look at the role institutions play in mediating crises. Hence, the general objective of this study is to understand how institutions response to natural disasters and to identify the non-market costs associated with these responses. We first unpack the possible institutional responses into its contributory components based on the typology created, a cooperative case study of eight cases is conducted. The aim of the comparative study is to examine the institutional responses taken in real life by the different case studies and to identify the non-market costs of these responses. It was found that the motivation to create the institutional response is mostly from a physical trigger or from an institutional one. The creation of institutional response mechanisms is a sluggish and tough process which takes time; in the case studies a lag between the motivation to the response and the response implementation is frequently apparent. The inception of the natural hazard is often limited in scale so it serves as a 'wake-up call' to the public and the authorities to respond. This 'wake-up call' results in a response before the major disaster happens, so most cases are of a pre-disaster nature, evident by their focus on mitigation and preparedness and less on emergency response and recovery. Given the political cost of dismantling existing institutions the most common organizational form that we should expect is a governmental body, either in a local or a central form that coordinates the activities of existing institutions. Given the cost of institutional response we should not expect an ideal setting where institutions have both fiscal and regulatory independence at a high level.

Processual political methodology as a legitimate response to pluralism and uncertainty issues

Julia ORNAF1, Alexandre RAMBAUD2

1Univeristy of Lausanne - Institue of Land Use Policies and Human Environment; 2Paris Dauphine University - Dauphine RM

The Global risk relates to possible political turbulences in an interdependent world and to possible ecological disruptions in a globalised world. The difficulty to process risks and conduct a relevant global policy relies on the one hand, on the nature of the information and on the other hand, on the obsolescence of our political procedures.

Uncertainty of risk, unquantifiability of a great part of information and abundance of information make it difficult to synthesize the situation in a non-controversial way. Furthermore, real uncertainty cannot be captured by probability or statistical models and pluralism of goals cannot be reduced to individualism and subjectivism. Thus, a reaction based on calculation is defeated here while bargaining and rationalism are the political standards.

We would like to shed light on the “processual methodologies” as the most promising political tool to process risks’ issues in a plural assembly. A processual political methodology helps to produce a common hermeneutic and common culture, on the base of a continuous building process. The continuous aspect of this political process helps to overcome the rejection of hard law and create a new value of legitimacy.

Therefore, we would like to present the possible institutional reframing of the debates, specific institutional means and specific procedures to support a fruitfully dialectic between diverse parties on such a blurred object. With the help of contributions coming from different backgrounds (Legal, Epistemological, Ontological, Philosophical and Political) we will argue in favor of the processual methodology as a serious lead to progress in governance process on non-quantifiable and controversial questions.

IRGC concepts and tools for risk governance

Marie-Valentine FLORIN

International Risk Governance Council, Switzerland

Since 2005, IRGC has developed a series of tools for risk governance, which many organisations are using for their own purposes.

This poster will present an overview of these tools: risk governance framework, risk governance deficits, contributing factors to risk emergence.

IRGC is now interested in introducing these concepts for developing appropriate risk governance cultures, in particular in emerging economies and developing countries. This poster will serve to this purpose.

Progress and new initiatives in IRG project/IHDP

Qian YE

Integrated Risk Governance Project/IHDP, China, People's Republic of

IRG-project was formally launched in Beijing, China on May 11, 2011. With about 11 new initiatives (several have been funded) that were developed in 2011 (the details shown in section 3), IRG-project comprises a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, policy makers as well educators around the world who have come together to develop and apply theoretic, mathematic and computational tools for the decision making processes in the case of very large-scale disasters around the globe. To make our IRG-Project stand out from many existing risk related international academic organizations and international and national government sponsored programs, our science team has taken all possible opportunities to promote ourselves by co-sponsoring and attending other international activities including workshops, conferences and community network development. Meanwhile, a designated international journal for the IRG-project has been approved by Chinese government, which provides us an excellent opportunity to share our up-to-date research results and the IRG-project’s activities with the international risk research community. One of the purposes of establishing the Integrated Risk Governance Project (IRG-Project) is to provide network and platform support to share models, data sets, knowledge and open source technologies, as well as to coordinate the training and dissemination of these tools to the international risk governance research and education community. Based on the past three years’ experience of conducting an International Summer Institute on Disaster Risk Sciences at BNU at Beijing Normal University, a call for developing a global university consortium for integrated risk governance has been initiated recently by several universities. In 2011, IRG-project has made substantial progress with a focus on forging alliances around the world to assure that the efforts of the planned research foci were well integrated toward the attainment of common and specific goals.

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