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Social capacity building for natural hazards: toward more resilient societies

Activity Code: ENV.2008.
Coordinator: Dr Christian Kuhlicke, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ


The main objectives of CapHaz-Net are to identify and assess existing practices and policies for social capacity building in the field of natural hazards and to elaborate strategies and recommendations for activities to enhance the resilience of European societies to the impacts of natural hazards. This will be achieved by bringing together different scientific disciplines and by enhancing and fostering communication between researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from across Europe.
CapHaz-Net focuses on synthesizing and integrating knowledge and perspectives from five topics: risk perception, social vulnerability, risk communication, risk education, risk governance. These are central for developing social capacities of societies and communities for natural hazards. For each topic, main perspectives, actions and initiatives are identified and assessed that can improve capacity building. The project is structured in three phases: In a first phase key studies and initiatives will be identified and assessed within each of the main topics, achieved through literature review work and thematic meetings.
The outcome will be a living document representing the state of the art and providing initial suggestions on how to improve society's capacity building. In the second phase these results will be down-scaled in particular regional contexts and evaluated in respect of local experiences and existing practices and tools, achieved through a series of regional hazard workshops. The network will consider three geographical areas representing different natural hazards types. During these workshops best practices and chances of improved legal tools and strategies but also gaps of knowledge are identified and assessed.
In the final phase, the network will integrate findings and develop recommendations that provide a synthesis concerning specific steps to improve social capacity building of European societies facing natural hazards and give guidance for future research.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.06.2009
End Date: 31.05.2012
EU Contribution: 910,000 Euro
Total Costs: 1.13 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Coordination (or networking) actions
Administrative Contact Person: Annette Schmidt, annette.schmidt@ufz.de
Scientific Coordinator:
Dr Christian Kuhlicke, christian.kuhlicke@ufz.de
Project Website:http://www.caphaz-net.org/ 


  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
  • Znanstvenoraziskovalni center Slovenske akademije znanosti in umetnosti, Slovenia
  • ISIG - Istituto di Sociologia Internazionale di Gorizia, Italy
  • Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Switzerland
  • Middlesex University Higher Education Corporation, United Kingdom
  • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Dialogik Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft für Kommunikations- und Kooperationsforschung mbH, Germany
  • Lancaster University, United Kingdom