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Social Capacity Building For Natural Hazards: Toward More Resilient Societies

Brief description

CapHaz-Net is a Coordination Action funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, Theme 6 "Environment (including Climate Change)".

CapHaz-Net will contribute to the improvement of the social resilience of European societies to natural hazards by suggesting ways of how to do this. Improving the resilience is, above all, to be accomplished by strengthening social capacities.

By social capacity we mean the societal assets, skills and resources necessary to anticipate, cope with and recover from stresses and disasters.

Based upon this, the overall objectives of CapHaz-Net are:

  • To identify and assess existing practices and policies for social capacity building in the field of natural hazards at all societal levels across Europe for elaborating strategies and recommendations for activities to improve social capacity building in order to enhance the resilience of European societies and communities to the impacts of natural hazards.
  • To identify further research needs in these fields.

The main research themes CapHaz-Net will include: risk perception, social vulnerability, risk communication, risk education, societal resilience, social capacity building and risk governance. CapHaz-Net wants to overcome the present fragmentation of these research approaches and related practices and to come to an integrative perspective.

DIALOGIK contribution

DIALOGIK leads Workpackage 3 (Risk Perception) and contributes to WP 5 (Risk Communication) and WP 6 (Risk Education). The specific objectives of all partners including DIALOGIK are to

  • develop a comprehensive and systematic overview of the current state-of-the-art of knowledge in the main fields of social-science research on natural hazards. CapHaz-Net will produce a structured know-how inventory for the topics outlined above by taking into account key studies, initiatives, best practices and legal tools;
  • identify current gaps in the knowledge base as well as issues requiring multi- and interdisciplinary research;
  • evaluate the contributions and relevancy of the above outlined themes for the creation of more resilient societies and communities by identifying and assessing existing practices and policies at different spatial scales across Europe;
  • develop and apply a conceptual frame for institutional learning and transfer of existing knowledge and best practice into action. Therefore stakeholders and policy-makers are included in the main activities of CapHaz-Net to enhance and foster communication between the scientific community, practitioners and policy-makers;
  • provide guidance and recommendations for further research and to improve future policy and practice in the field of natural hazards.

Project partners

  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig (Germany)
  • Institute for International Sociology (ISIG), Gorizia (Italy)
  • Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC), London (UK)
  • Autonomous University Barcelona (Spain)
  • Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Switzerland)
  • University Lancaster (UK)