Foresight Initiative for Reducing Risks of Future Disasters

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Sandy THOMAS, (UK Government Office for Science) Présentation effectuée lors du 7ème rendez-vous entre la communauté scientifique et les gestionnaires du bassin de la Loire et ses affluents - 18 septembre 2013 Orléans.

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Foresight Report: Reducing Risks of Future Disasters. :

Foresight Report: Reducing Risks of Future Disasters . 7th Annual Meeting of the Loire Scientific Community and River Managers Professor Sandy Thomas Head of the UK Foresight Programme

PowerPoint Presentation:

Professor Sandy Thomas is the Head of Foresight at the UK Government Office for Science. She trained as a scientist at the University of London (BSc Botany and Zoology, PhD Plant Genetics). After lecturing in genetics at the University of London, she became a Research Fellow at Science and Technology Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex (1987-1997) focussing on the life sciences and biotechnology. From 1997-2006, she served as Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics through a secondment from the University of Sussex. Over the past decade, she has published widely on the development of public policy for biotechnology, particularly on Intellectual Property rights. She has also served on several national committees, including the DFID Commissions on Intellectual Property Rights in Development. Foresight is a dedicated programme which helps government think systematically about the future. Foresight combines first class science and analysis to develop a robust evidence base to support government’s decision making when tackling complex issues and in meeting important challenges of the 21st century. Foresight aims to assist policymakers in understanding how government can reach stable solutions that are more resilient to future uncertainties.

Why was the Foresight RRFD report commissioned?:

Why was the Foresight RRFD report commissioned? Important drivers of change could substantially increase future risks of disasters, notably the increasing frequency of extreme weather events due to climate change, and large population increases in cities exposed to natural hazards. However, choosing to deploy resources to reduce these risks presents significant challenges for policy makers. There can be real difficulties in justifying expenditure to address hazards that may occur infrequently, or indeed may never materialise in a given location. In responding to those challenges, it makes clear sense to make full use of new developments in science and evidence. Aims This project considered disasters resulting from natural hazards. The aim was to provide an independent look at the latest science and evidence, and its role in disaster risk reduction, so that the diverse impacts of future disasters can be effectively reduced, both around the time of the events and in the longer term.

What approach did the RRFD study adopt?:

What approach did the RRFD study adopt? This framework is used in many sectors for addressing risk: Identify risk Decide how to respond to risk Act to address risk Monitor outcomes 1 2 3 4 For disaster risk, science plays an important role at each stage

What are RRFD’s findings on flooding?:

What are RRFD’s findings on flooding? Understanding the interaction between the meteorological hazard and the regional hydrological and geomorphological characteristics are essential to forecasting flood risk. Two main barriers to hydrological forecasting: Lack of data. For some river systems data are either not accessible or do not exist. However, data on flow can be generated synthetically from models or, in the future, through the use of satellite technology; Lack of understanding of flood processes at, or below, the ground surface – eg prevents estimation of time an area will remain underwater. Particular challenge for agricultural lands. Opportunities for future progress lie with improved hydrological and land surface modelling. Given recent progress, the ability to forecast floods should improve significantly over the next 30 years.

What are RRFD’s key messages?:

What are RRFD’s key messages? More people are at risk than ever from natural hazards, particularly in developing countries. This number will rise over the next 30 years. The use of science to reduce the effects of future natural hazards such as floods, droughts and earthquakes must be stepped up and adopted more widely. Emergency response is vital but it’s important to ask whether more can be done to anticipate these events and limit their impacts, saving lives and livelihoods. Choosing to deploy resources for disaster reduction, but science has the potential to help make these decisions. It tells us why disasters happen, where many of the risks like and for many disaster when they will occur. So disaster and death are not the inevitable consequence of greater exposure to hazards. Impacts can and should be stabilised. Source: UNICEF 2012 Source: CERN Source: Argonne National Laboratory These messages apply globally and in the Loire catchment

What might other Foresight reports mean for the Loire?:

What might other Foresight reports mean for the Loire? The messages of the Foresight report “Future Flooding” (2004) have significantly influenced the management of flood-risk internationally-for example in China and the USA-as well as in the UK. Key messages: Major flood risk reduction is achievable under all scenarios Many structural solutions raise significant issues of sustainability and desirability. Non-structural measures can reduce the need for costly engineered flood defences. Integrated flood risk management can deliver affordable, feasible and sustainable responses. Acting now in developing new policies will allow non-structural measures to be effective in time. These generic findings are also likely to apply to the Loire catchment.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Quantitative and qualitative modelling coupled with scenario analysis, map future risks and the impact of response measures. By combining response measures, future risk can be reduced to acceptable levels. How has “Future Flooding” impacted decision making? 2080 “Business as usual” leads to unsustainable risk Response portfolio reduces risk to acceptable levels Impact FF significantly informs: Increased government spend on flood defence; England’s 20-year strategy for flood risk management; Recommendations and action in response to UK 2007 flood events; Legislation – Flood and Water Management Act 2010; and Major infrastructure planning – eg Thames Estuary 2100 project

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