Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

  • 15 November 2016

Multi-sector partnerships are key in disaster risk reduction, the ENHANCE project concludes

Cover image from the ENHANCE report

The cover image from ‘Novel Multi-Sector Partnerships in Disaster Risk Management’

The results of the EU’s ENHANCE project, which the ECI’s Dr Katie Jenkins contributed research on the economic effect of surface water flood risk and climate change on Greater London, has been published 10 November 2016.

‘Novel Multi-Sector Partnerships in Disaster Risk Management’ presents the final outcomes of the 4-year ENHANCE project, the core objective of which was to develop novel ways to enhance society’s resilience to natural disasters by focusing on 10 case studies which span the European continent and address a diverse range of risks and hazards. ENHANCE was carried out by 24 partners, including academic institutes, governmental sector, private companies and international organisations, from 11 European countries.

The ECI’s researcher, Dr Jenkins, in collaboration with LSE senior research fellow Dr Swenja Surminski, has focused on the role of insurance in risk management. Their work points to better ways of aligning flood insurance and flood risk management efforts – an aspect that is currently missing from the new Flood Re insurance scheme.

“Our research investigates the UK flood insurance scheme [Flood Re], which is based on a partnership between the public and private sector,” explains Dr Jenkins. “We assess the relative merits of household and community risk reduction measures, using an agent-based model to factor in perspectives from a number of different stakeholders.

"The aim is to foster greater resilience to flooding by utilising flood insurance."

Dr Katie Jenkins, Environmental Change Institute

Her research supports concerns that Flood Re will not influence key groups such as homeowners, national and local governments, developers and insurance companies, whose behavior will determine future risk levels, and highlighting that Flood Re was not designed to incentivise greater resilience to flooding. Such issues become even more apparent when considering climate change and urbanisation, she says, both of which are likely to lead to an increase in damages from surface water flooding.

The ENHANCE project has delivered concrete scientific and political results at the EU, national and local levels, with outcomes ranging from promotion of knowledge sharing to policy recommendations.

Beyond local and national levels, ENHANCE has contributed to a number of new European and international policy frameworks, among them the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognises that while the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, the responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders.