Disaster Risk Reduction and Space-based Applications - CERIS workshop (15 September 2021)

The dramatic flooding event that occurred in Germany and Belgium on the 15-16 July 2021, affecting also neighbouring countries, has highlighted a clear gap between available scientific information and impact forecasting tools and the timely communication and consideration of related warnings by local authorities, which resulted in an insufficient capacity to evacuate people at risk. This gap sadly reflects the insufficient understanding by local authorities and populations of risk exposure for this type of extreme events (exacerbated by climate change), as well as a lack of clear governance mechanism to react to sudden extreme events. This requires a cross-sectoral, cross-border, cross-disciplines integrated approach as well as a full risk awareness at all levels, including by citizens. 

In this respect, based on recommendations made by civil protection experts, policy-makers and the scientific community, the Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Disaster-Resilience Societies for Europe thematic area (DRS) has issued several topics on integrated disaster risk reduction (DRR) aspects. These topics recognise that, besides modelling and impact forecasting tools available to date, space-based applications have a strong role to play in DRR, for instance for tracking the evolution of forest fires or convective clouds precursors of flash floods. Within the 2021 Horizon Europe call, four DRS topics therefore indicate that “if projects use satellite-based, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, they must make use of Galileo/EGNO, as well as other data and services, while the use of Copernicus for earth observation is encouraged”. In this regard, and in order to clarify and facilitate interactions among the DRR and spatial communities, the workshop (organised in the framework of the Community for European Research and Innovation for Security, CERIS) has highlighted relevant DRS topics with possible spatial components, inviting experts to express their view about the scope of the research actions and their links to space-based applications. 

The event gathered more than 150 participants around presentations made about the Horizon Europe DRS topics with potential spatial applications, introductory views about Copernicus from a first responder, service-oriented views by “Be-Alert” and “Predict” representatives, examples of spatial applications related to disaster risk reduction and views from ANYWHERE, a H2020 project dealing with impact forecasting of extreme flood events.

Relevant information about the workshop and related presentations, as well as other activities in the context of EU security research can be found on https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/CERIS  

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