Towards optimised protection against natural hazards
On 20 August 2003, the Swiss Federal Council took cognizance of the vision and strategy report on «Protection against Natural Hazards» by PLANAT, and assigned DETEC, assisted by PLANAT:
- to draft a summary estimate of the means and resources implemented for the protection against natural hazards;
- to evaluate basic principles and methods for handling risks;
- to effectively communicate the strategy to stakeholders and to the population;
- to report to the Federal Council by the end of 2004 on the accomplished work and to draw up a «to-do-list» for the second stage starting in 2005.
PLANAT conducted the corresponding investigations and tasks in three partial projects. The findings are summarized in the synthesis report «Swiss Strategy for the Protection against Natural Hazards».
Synthesis report results
A total of CHF 2.5 billion is currently spent per year on protection against natural hazards; 56 percent of which is carried by the private sector (including the portion for insurance against damage due to natural hazards at 33 per cent), 15 percent by the Federal government, 13 percent by the cantons and 16 percent by the communes. Prevention accounts for 41 percent. In terms of hazards, floods rank first receiving nearly a third of total costs (CHF 800 million).
To achieve strategy goals:
- Guarantee of an accepted level of protection based on standardized criteria
- Reduction of existing risks and prevention of new risks
- Effective and efficient use of resources to optimise risk reduction
Measures need to be taken in the following key areas:
- Risk analysis (What can happen?)
- Risk evaluation (What may happen?)
- Integrated measure policy (What needs to be done?)
- Risk dialogue (Basis for risk awareness and thereby for assuming responsibility)
- Strategic performance measurement; monitoring development with periodical investigation of costs, risks and damages as a basis for future shifting of priorities.
The Swiss Federal Council takes cognizance
On 18th May 2005, the Swiss Federal Council took cognizance of the synthesis report by PLANAT and initiated the third step of the «Swiss Strategy for the Protection against Natural Hazards».