The 23rd Society for Risk Analysis – Europe (SRA-Europe) Conference: Analysis and Governance of Risks beyond Boundaries1

16-18 June, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
Organised by: Istanbul Technical University
(http://www.itu.edu.tr)

Reporting Author: KUNDAK, Sedaa

a Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, kundak@itu.edu.tr

Abstract The 23rd SRA-Europe Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 16-18,2014 with the main theme "Analysis and Governance of Risks beyond Boundaries". This report evaluates the outcomes and contribution of the conference which are associated with HFA and the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Keywords Risk analysis, conference, SRA, Istanbul.

1  Introduction & Context

The Society for Risk Analysis was founded in 1981 to provide an open platform for those who are interested in risk related issues. It also offers a wide range opportunity for cross-disciplinary and international exchange and communication with stakeholders in industry, politics and society (www.sra.org). In 1987, the European Section of SRA was founded with a special focus on risk related issues in Europe (www.sraeurope.org). Since its establishment, twenty-three European Conferences were organized in different cities of Europe, including the last one which was held in Istanbul in 2014 (Figure 1). As cited at the official website of the SRA-Europe, “the annual conference of SRA-Europe offers academics, researchers, students, policy makers and industry representatives an opportunity to discuss “state of the art’ theory, research and policy relating to risk”. The members and delegates attending to annual conferences also discuss future directions and challenges in risk analysis and risk management. The main themes of the SRA-Europe Conferences also highlight emerging issues in risk, such as: “Innovation & technical progress: benefit without risk?” (Ljubljana,2006); “Building bridges: issues for future risk research” (The Hague, 2007); “Learning from the past, building the future” (Valencia, 2008); “From the everyday to the extraordinary” (Karlstad, 2009); “Risk, governance and accountability” (London, 2010); “Multi-risk analysis in a global world” (Stuttgart, 2011); “Risk and society: decisions & responsibilities” (Zurich, 2012); and “Safe societies – coping with complexity and major risks” (Trondheim, 2013).

The 23rd Society for Risk Analysis-Europe Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey in June 16-18, 2014. The special theme of the conference reflects increasing complexity, connectivity and mobility in human activities which lead the world system to extend beyond artificial borders labeled as “regions”, “territories” and “countries”. Indeed, similarly, we have witnessed that the consequences of natural disasters and technological accidents propagate to larger terrains. On the other hand, technological and scientific novelties dare to install new paradigms which dramatically substitute or eliminate the old ones. These new circumstances urge risk community to develop new strategies in both evaluating and coping with well-known and less-known risks. Consequently, the special them of the 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul is “Analysis and Governance of Risks beyond Boundaries” to emphasize that risks are able to travel through the virtual boundaries, to promote recent scientific novelties in risk reduction and to enhance inter-disciplinary approaches in filling the gaps.

Figure 1: SRA-Europe Conferences since 1988
Figure 2: Opening of the 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference

2  Conference Aims & Objectives

2.1  Profile of participants

The SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference hosted 259 participants not only from Europe and Turkey but also from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Iran, Japan, South Africa, Taiwan and the U.S.A. About 70% of the participants were academicians and 15% were affiliated to researches institutes. The representatives from governmental bodies and private entities had a share of 15%.

The SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference received support from several governmental institutions such as: Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency; Istanbul Governorship, Istanbul Project Coordination Unit (IPKB); The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK); Turkish Catastroph Insurance Pool (DASK-TCIP). The representatives of these entities contributed with presentations on their recent projects and achievements. As a non-governmental organization, Beyaz Gemi Social Project Agency attended the sessions with their experts and staff who work on community awareness projects and trainings at national and international scales.

2.2  Major aims and objectives

The main aim of the conference was to provide an international and an interdisciplinary platform to discuss novelties and innovations in risk related issues which would enhance risk reduction and risk governance. Consequently, in the early stage of the conference organization, the event had been announced through several networks (i.e. SRA, IDRC and ERSA – European Regional Science Association). At the local scale, announcements, both in Turkish and English, were sent to universities and relevant governmental organizations. Therefore, academicians, researchers and decision makers from several disciplines came together in the SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference.

3  Outcomes & Contribution towards the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

3.1  Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA)

Even though the SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference did not directly address the HFA, the presentations covered the subjects which have been cited in the priorities for action of the HFA. In the Figure 3, the number of papers is given according to their main emphases which are related to the priorities of the HFA. During the conference, three plenary sessions, 13 symposiums and 27 parallel sessions were organized; 163 papers and 16 posters were presented. The most emphasized topics were risk perception and risk communication where the participants assessed and discussed community’s behavior on risk related issues with the recent triggers (climate change, nuclear accident in Japan, energy etc.); and innovative approaches to enhance risk dialogue among stakeholders to contribute risk governance. Food security was another highlighted topic referring the safety gaps in production and processes, susceptibility to chemical and radioactive contamination; and consumer responses to new technologies. The sessions on urban and structural risks addressed risk assessment in urban areas and mitigation methods in different case studies. The overall program of the conference is given in the Table 1.

Figure 3: The main scope of the presented papers related to the priorities of HFA
Table 1: Program of the SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference
Monday June 16Tuesday June 17 Wednesday June 18
Plenary Session: Renn & WeichselgartnerPlenary Session: Comfort & ErdikPlenary Session: Menoni & Eiser

SRA-E & ERSA JOINT SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM - Socio-Spatial Vulnerability and Resilience of Regions

SRA-E & ERSA JOINT SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM- Disaster Governance and Regional Adaptation StrategiesSRA-E & ERSA JOINT SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM - Urban Vulnerability and Resilience Planning
SYMPOSIUM – Emerging Risks: From the basic concept towards a European Risk Radar – applications to New Technologies related risksSYMPOSIUM – Resilience as an Orientation for Inclusive Risk Management (I)FOOD SECURITY II
MAJOR RISKS ICLIMATE CHANGERISK PERCEPTION IV
RISK COMMUNICATION ISAFETY AND SECURITYRISK IN TRANSPORTATION
RISK MANAGEMENTRISK COMMUNICATION IIIRISK COMMUNICATION IV
SYMPOSIUM – Managing Energy Transition in the U.S. and Germany: Governance, Infrastructural Planning ,and Public AcceptanceSYMPOSIUM – Resilience as an Orientation for Inclusive Risk Management (II)ECONOMIC LOSSES AND INSURANCE
SYMPOSIUM – Governance of Emerging or Slow-Developing Catastrophic RisksSYMPOSIUM – Risk –based SecurityPolicyURBAN AND STRUCTURAL RISKS III
RISK PERCEPTION IFOOD SECURITY IFOOD SECURITY III
RISK COMMUNICATION IIURBAN AND STRUCTURAL RISKS IIRISK ASSESSMENT II
HEALTH RISKSRISK ASSESSMENT IDECISION MAKING
SYMPOSIUM – Public Perception of Climate ChangeSYMPOSIUM – Small Islands, big Risks 

SYMPOSIUM – Data Analysis as a basis for effective crisis response strategies

SYMPOSIUM – Risk Communcation and Cyber Security 

MAJOR RISKS II

RISK PERCEPTION III 

URBAN AND STRUCTURAL RISKS I

UNCERTAINTY AND COMPLEXITY OF RISKS 

RISK PERCEPTION II

RISK VISUALISATION 

3.2  Research in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

During the last decade, it has been noted that risk related issues should be assessed and interpreted with the contribution of different disciplines. Even though several serious attempts had been done in cross-disciplinary projects (i.e. EU Projects, bilateral agreements), still there are some gaps to associate valuable outcomes of these projects which would provide solid basis for further scientific activities. Moreover; systemic risks, global threats, digital technologies, extreme events, food security, health risks are likely the highlighted fields of research in risk society in the coming years.

3.3  Education and training in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

The papers presented in the sessions on risk perception, risk communication and risk visualization can be related to the education and training activities as they cover individual/community’s assessments on risk and stakeholders’ dialogue. Risk communication techniques and visualization of risks are crucial topics for decision makers and academicians who work on public participation in risk governance. Risk perception studies, on the other hand, deserve more emphasis in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, because individual risk perception is susceptible to external triggers such as extreme events and miss-information from various sources which may affect the risk interpretation and the willingness to participate community resilience programs and trainings.

3.4  Implementation and practice in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Within the disaster risk reduction programs, implementation activities and best practices have been set to solve problems due to amplification of risks at every level. The recent achievements and failures in risk reduction show that these activities should be tailored, rather than adapted. Furthermore, community involvement should be enhanced by social innovation either in the hubs of living-labs or in the other platforms where all stakeholders would find opportunities to evaluate and prioritize the risks that they are facing with and to create synergy to produce tangible and applicable solutions which would lead the community to contribute risk reduction.

3.5  Policy improvement for the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

The SRA-Europe Istanbul 2014 Conference addressed “Analysis and Governance of Risks beyond Boundaries” as the main theme. Policies on risk reduction are strongly associated to governance system as it deals with the implementation processes of policies. Consequently, relevant policies, governance system and legislation should be coherent to support risk reduction rather than to raise obstacles. In other words, in the risk governance system, each sequence and inter-connectivity of sequences have to be endorsed with legal basis without causing gaps or overlays. On the other hand, there is an emergence to consider risk reduction policies not only at the local/national scale, but also linkages with cross-border relations should be established.

4  Conclusions

The Annual Conferences of SRA-Europe offer a distinguished scientific environment for researchers, policy makers and professionals to exchange ideas and to collaborate in risk studies in various fields. The 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference has successfully accomplished its mission with bringing international experts together from different discipline, with attracting governmental bodies in such a scientific environment and with inspiring young researchers who work on risk related issues.

The outcomes of the 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference and other SRA conferences can be considered as valuable contributions to the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction activities. The post conference publications (i.e. Special Issue in Journal of Risk Research) will enable the dissemination of scientific outcomes of the conference as well. In 2015, the SRA-Europe Conference will be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands with the special theme: “Science, Policy and Society: Bridging the gap between risk and science”. The other focal risk topics (i.e. science-informed risk decisions, evidence and risk) will also bring insights in risk issues to complement disaster risk reduction.

Conference Documentation

The 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference, Book of Abstracts.

The 23rd SRA-Europe 2014 Istanbul Conference, website, http://srae2014.itu.edu.tr

References

Society for Risk Analysis, the Official website, http://www.sra.org

Society for Risk Analysis – Europe, the Official website, http://www.sraeurope.org.

Citation

Kundak, Seda. (2014): The 23rd Society for Risk Analysis – Europe (SRA-Europe) Conference: Analysis and Governance of Risks beyond Boundaries. In: Planet@Risk, 2(5), Special Issue for the Post-2015 Framework for DRR: p. 337-340, Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, Davos.


1
This article is a summary of the above mentioned conference with a special focus on proposed elements for consideration in the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.