Costs of Natural Hazards


CONHAZ (a Coordination Action Project funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme) aimed at compiling and synthesising current knowledge on cost assessment methods to strengthen the role of cost assessments in the development of integrated natural hazard management and adaptation planning. In order to achieve this, CONHAZ has adopted a comprehensive approach, considering natural hazards ranging from droughts, floods and coastal hazards to Alpine hazards, as well as different impacted sectors and cost types. Its specific objectives have been 1) to compile the state-of-the-art methods for cost assessment; 2) to analyse and assess these methods in terms of technical aspects, as well as terminology, data quality and availability, and research gaps; and 3) to synthesise resulting knowledge into recommendations as well as to identify further research needs.

Important recommendations are that costs can be assessed more comprehensively by including indirect and intangible effects. Furthermore, CONHAZ outlines the importance of identifying sources of uncertainties, of reducing them effectively and of documenting those remaining. One source of uncertainty concerns data sources. A framework for supporting data collection on the European level ensuring minimum data quality standards would facilitate the development and consistency of European and national databases. Furthermore, an improvement of methods is needed with regard to a better understanding and modelling of the damaging processes. In particular, there is a need for a better understanding of the economic response to external shocks and for improving models for indirect cost assessment based on this. However models to estimate direct economic damage also need to be based on more knowledge about the complex processes leading to damages. Moreover, the dynamics of risk due to climate and socioeconomic change have to be better considered in the models to unveil uncertainties about future developments in the costs of natural hazards. Finally, there is a need for appropriate and trans- CONHAZ REPORT WP09_1 6 parent tools and guidance to support decision makers integrating uncertain cost assessment figures into their decision making process.