Jaroslav Mysiak, senior scientist at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)

Could you describe your role and your involvement in the project? What kind of expertise Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei is offering to the ENHANCE project?

Well, FEEM has a long standing expertise in risk analysis, damage and loss assessment, natural resource management, and disaster risk reduction.

Within the context of the ENHANCE project, we study legislations and regulations that nurture the development of multi-sectoral/stakeholder partnerships (MSPs). This means in practice that we analyse European policies (such as insurance regulation; cross-border and trans-national cooperation; or transportation safety and security) that are connected to the ENHANCE empirical case studies and the national policies that influence them.

Our research aims at identifying areas in which partnerships are actively encouraged or at least possible. Besides, FEEM is leading partner among the ten case study teams. This means that we support the case study leaders in their specific research endeavour.

What can be learned from the 10 case studies and what do they have in common? What is so particular in focusing on multi-stakeholders / sector partnership?

The case studies explore various opportunities for partnerships of different kind, all pursuing the same goals: reducing disaster risk and/or enhancing resilience to low probability/high impact hazard events.

In some cases we analyse the public-private partnerships, e.g. for affordable and socially fair insurance schemes against risk posed by natural hazards and climate variability; or for financial investments in critically important infrastructures that cannot be mastered by public governments (in wider sense) alone. In other cases the partnership is among public entities across jurisdiction, set up to join forces and optimise use of available resources; or across borders, to devise shared vision for regional, climate-or disaster-proof development.

The 10 case studies are very heterogeneous, providing for a breath of insights across the cases, while preserving the analytical strength and innovation within each case separately.

Over the past months, the project partners facilitated the development of multi-sectorial partnerships (MSP). Do you have one concrete example? What elements are key in partnerships and what can be transpose to other situations to reduce risk related to natural hazards?

Sure, let me mention a few examples. The Flood RE is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the UK government and the insurance companies put up to guarantee access to insurance of properties located in areas prone to high risk. Without a similar partnership, the owners of many of these properties would be left alone to cope with the flood risk and the financial repercussions in the aftermath of a flood. Another example is the flood storage on agricultural land, a partnership devised in 2012 after the devastating earthquake in the Northern Italy. The earthquake has damage the critically important water drainage infrastructure without which many small- to medium-sized towns in the downstream part of the Po river would face soaring flood risk and expected damage. The inter-regional civil protection agreement prevented this by paving a way for controlled flooding at low value land uses in order to protect the urban centres with higher (by orders of magnitude) potential damage. In this case, ENHANCE research has helped to refine the risk assessment (the damage avoided and exacted), and to devise compensation arrangements (and cost recovery).

The legislative frameworks, including the international blueprint for disaster risk reduction that will be adopted in March in Sendai, are under the spotlight of the project. What insights learned or conclusions can you draw from these frameworks for the development of partnerships on resilience and disaster risk reduction?

Next week, I will participate at the UN sponsored World Congress on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai. This is a very important event, set to renew the international commitment to disaster risk reduction (DRR), as a follow up of the previous decadal plan (Hyogo Framework for Action HFA). Perhaps the WCDRR is a bit overshadowed by the upcoming UNFCCC COP meeting later this year in Paris. But the WCDRR is not less important. The zero draft declaration includes specific policy targets for risk reduction that are echoed by the targets suggested by the Open Working Group for the sustainable development under the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Partnerships (e.g. between North and South, or between public and private sectors) play a vital role in this context.

However, as any other public policies, the MSPs should be effective, efficient, transparent, and inclusive. Policy analysts have yet to develop yardsticks for evaluation of MSPs’ performance. The Enhance project will contribute to this quest.

In this regard, what hints of recommendations would you share with policy-makers so far?

You mean besides taking the risk and policy analysis and assessment seriously? There are many specific recommendations that we have developed and I would invite everybody to regularly visit the project’s website for an update. If I had to summarise the motivation for doing so in few words, I would say: a more efficient natural resource and risk management can play a prominent role both in short-term fiscal consolidation and long-term sustainable growth strategies. There is a large potential yet to be exploited. Don’t miss the chance today.

As you mentioned, on 14-18 March 2015, the UNISDR is organising the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), designed to elaborate the Post 2015 Hyogo Framework for Action. How can ENHANCE contribute to this new framework?

In many ways we hope. First, by embracing the call for evidence base risk assessment and disaster risk reduction. The case study teams are completing the assessment of risk against hazard scenarios specified in collaboration with the partners organisations. The wealth of the assessment approached used provides for a good bases for others to follow. Second, by showing the advantages of the MSPs compared to more traditional policy instruments such as regulation and economic incentives. During the conference, several ENHANCE partners are taking part in an side event ‘Flooding in Europe – new risks and strategies to build resilience’ organised in collaboration with German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV).

ENHANCE will also be present at the ignite stage platform. Will be happy to report about the discussion during and accomplishments of the WCDRR once back from Japan.

Note to readers:

Dr. Jaroslav Mysiak is a senior scientist at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and the director of the research division Risk assessment and adaptation strategies of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change (CMCC). In the ENHANCE consortium, he is coordinating the case study driven research, and leads a work package on regulatory policy instruments.

Dr. Mysiak graduated from the Technical University of Zvolen (Slovakia) and obtained a PhD from the University of Goettingen (Germany). Apart of FEEM and CMCC, he also teaches, as external teacher, at the Ca’Foscari University Venice. His research interests comprise water economics and governance, risk analysis and climate adaptation. Dr. Mysiak is a key expert of the European Environmental Agency’s Topic Center on Climate Change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation (ETC-CCA) and member of the scientific advisory board on several prominent research organisations and initiatives. He was the lead author of the Italian National Climate Adaptation Strategy.

The ENHANCE project has received funding under the
Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union
under grant agreement No 308438

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