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Teaching Europe to bounce back from disaster

27 April 2018

New guidelines show the way to making Europe’s cities more resilient to natural and man-made disasters.

Europeans are no strangers to high-impact disasters. Ranging from natural events such as earthquakes and floods, to man-made crises in the form of cyberattacks and terrorist incidents, such disasters are becoming increasingly frequent and more severe. This jeopardises critical infrastructures (CIs) like power grids, transport networks and telecommunications systems – that are essential for a society and economy to function.

We need to ensure that our modern societies are better equipped to withstand and bounce back from both expected and unexpected crises. In response to this need, five EU-funded projects, DARWIN, IMPROVER, RESILENS, RESOLUTE and SMR, have developed guidelines for improving European cities’ resilience to natural and man-made disasters. Their efforts have culminated in a ‘White Paper on Resilience Management Guidelines for Critical Infrastructures’. The report provides key recommendations for policymakers to improve policy and implementation strategies throughout the EU.

The White Paper presenting the new guidelines was launched at the Critical Infrastructure Resilience 2018 Conference held in Brussels on 10 April. Resilience experts and end users across the five projects spoke on topics such as resilience intervention tools and benefits, resilience policy, standardisation and current needs, further needs and a roadmap to integration.

Techniques and tools for resilience

To support uptake of the resilience management guidelines, the projects developed a series of techniques and tools. These include conferences and industry presentations, webinars, workshops, and experiments providing hands-on experiences to engage end users.

To teach players about resilience concepts, DARWIN developed a serious game based on virtual reality. RESILENS activities included the creation of an e-learning hub and a resilience management matrix and audit toolkit. SMR developed a Resilience Maturity Model, a strategic tool that provides an ideal roadmap for how the resilience building process should be. Its Resilience Information and Communication Portal, another of its project outputs, serves as a toolbox that can complement and enhance the platforms and software that cities already have in place.

IMPROVER’s cooperation with the European Reference Network for CI Protection has yielded a series of CI operator workshops on CI resilience to ensure that practitioners both inform and benefit from the project’s work. RESOLUTE’s focus on urban transport resilience has resulted in a game-based training app aimed at improving citizen preparation. Another project outcome is an emergency mobile app to keep citizens updated and advise them on what action to take to stay safe in an emergency.

DARWIN (Expecting the unexpected and know how to respond), IMPROVER (Improved risk evaluation and implementation of resilience concepts to critical infrastructure), RESILENS (RESILENS: Realising European ReSiliencE for CritIcaL INfraStructure), RESOLUTE (RESilience management guidelines and Operationalization appLied to Urban Transport Environment), and SMR (Smart Mature Resilience) are now drawing to a close. The European resilience management guidelines resulting from their efforts will guide stakeholders towards helping Europe’s cities to respond to crises more quickly and effectively.


Open European Day 2018 set to be biggest edition in the series

18 April 2018

The fifth edition of Open European Day has proven to be the most popular edition yet. Cities are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing and are coming together to discuss these challenges and share solutions with their peers and experts from the world of science and research.

Speakers to join the opening discussion reflecting on the past year and years to come for climate adaptation in Europe will include Nicolas Faivre, DG Research, European Commission, Stefanie Lindenberg, NCFF European Investment Bank, Bernd Decker, EASME/LIFE Programme, Stefania Manca and Paolo Castiglieri, Municipality of Genoa (Italy) for the Climate Adaptation Partnership of the EU Urban Agenda, Eleni Myrivili, City of Athens (Greece), Joanna Kiernicka-Allavena, City of Wroclaw (Poland)/44MPA project and Marian Barquin, Basque Government.

Breakout sessions will see cities discuss topics including flooding, insurance, nature-based solutions, cultural heritage and partnerships and will include contributors from the cities of Arnsberg (Germany), Bologna (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), Cascais (Portugal), Copenhagen (Denmark), Glasgow, Greater Manchester (United Kingdom), Guimaraes (Portugal), Helsinki (Finland), Kristiansand (Norway), Paris (France) and Thessaloniki (Greece). The Open European Day’s successful Marketplace will be back this year as a unique space for exchange and partnerships.

As a new addition for the fifth Open European Day, breakout training sessions will provide expert training on topics including critical infrastructure protection, citizen engagement and financing adaptation.

Strathclyde Business School and Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) will provide training on critical infrastructure protection, using the outcomes from the Smart Mature Resilience and RESIN projects, which are co-organising the event.

On:Subject and the European Environment Agency will provide training on citizen engagement for adaptation and EASME/LIFE Programme and the European Investment Bank will provide training for cities on how to access financing to fund urban adaptation. Registration is now closed.

More information and the final programme is available here



New Research Will Lead to a More Resilient Europe

10 April 2018

54 partner organisations across five EU-funded projects have come together to recommend new European Resilience Management Guidelines. Developed over the last three years, these guidelines have the potential to improve the security and safety of citizens and society.

At a major event in Brussels today, these projects - Smart Mature Resilience, DARWIN, IMPROVER, RESILENS and RESOLUTE – launched the ‘White Paper on Resilience Management Guidelines for Critical Infrastructures,’ outlining key recommendations for European policy makers.

To support the uptake of these guidelines, the five projects have developed a series of innovative tools, ranging from serious gaming based on virtual reality and gaming-based training apps, to e-learning hubs and resilience management matrix and audit toolkits.

A panel of end users reflected on the tools developed by the five projects. Silje Solvang, city of Kristiansand, said, "The most valuable outcome of our participation in the SMR project has been the cross-sectoral collaboration, which is essential for resilience." City representatives emphasised the need for access to data, which is only provided by privately owned critical infrastructure providers when the latter is legally obliged to do so. 

SMR project coordinator Jose Maria Sarriegi summarized the outcomes of the panel by notin gthat cooperation is essential for resilience, there is a challenge in communicating resilience, resilience is not only about technology and must include soft factors, there is a need for funding to facilitate further work, and finally, there is a need for the tools and methods produced to be adaptable to changing circumstances.

The European Resilience Management Guidelines and the associated tools were showcased at the Critical Infrastructure Resilience 2018 Conference, which took place on Tuesday 10th April from 09.00 to 16.00 at the Research Executive Agency (Covent Garden), Place Rogier, Brussels.

Attendees, including policy makers, resilience managers and practitioners, heard from resilience experts and end-users across the five projects on topics such as, Resilience Interventions Tools and Benefits; Resilience Policy, Standardisation and Current Needs; and Status, Further Needs and Roadmap to Integration.

The five projects are part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and cooperate together under crisis management topic 7: ‘crisis and disaster resilience – operationalising resilience concepts (DRS-7)’.

Download the white paper here.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 653569.