Disaster risk governance in volcanic areas

Research reports and studies
October 2013


A broad range of measures have been under taken at different scales of governance to manage the risks associated with environmental hazards in an attempt to strengthen the resilience of social, physical and coupled systems. This paper develops an approach under Work Package 4 (WP4) of the Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA) programme for analysing the institutional factors that shape collective action to reduce disaster risk at different scales.

The key messages include:

·         The Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA) programme aims to reduce the risks associated with volcanic activity. Work Package 4 contributes to this goal by analysing how collective decisions are taken to manage risk across spatial and temporal scales in volcanic settings.

·         Volcanic risk is dynamic, with hazards, vulnerability and exposure of populations constantly changing. To manage risk effectively, disaster risk governance systems need to be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. The concept of disaster risk governance provides a useful analytical framework for assessing the capacity of governance regimes to undergo incremental and transformational institutional shifts in response to volcanic risk.

·         STREVA will engage with stakeholders in a joint assessment of how different dimensions of disaster risk governance have contributed to resilience in places with a recent history of volcanic activity. It will identify opportunities for decision-makers to improve the complementarity of informal and formal institutions, build networks of actors and strengthen vertical coherence in disaster risk management.

·         The conceptual framework developed here can be used to assess the norms governing risk management for a range of extreme socio-ecological events.