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ERA-NET CRUE: Press release 29 January 2007

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First report from the Floods ERA-NET (CRUE): compares research programmes across Europe

Vienna, Austria – A survey published today shows how eleven European countries seriously affected by floods in recent years are responding to the challenge of climate change and increased vulnerability with research to better understand the causes and consequences of flooding. Research programmes across all eleven countries fund over €55 million of flood-related research each year.

The largest research programmes are conducted in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands, reflecting both their financial capacity and their exposure to flood risk. Although the research is still focused predominantly on natural sciences and technical disciplines, some programmes are developing a stronger integration with socio-economic research to understand better how floods affect people and their property.

Flood-related research represents on average 1 – 4% of the total annual national investment in flood risk management. Most of the funding comes from the public sector – primarily Government Ministries, Agencies and Research Councils.

Increased flood risk is likely to be one of the most damaging impacts of climate change in Europe. One recent study by the insurance industry suggests that by the end of the century the costs of flooding in Europe could increase 10 – 20 fold to over €100 billion each year if no action is taken, because of a combination of climate change and increased vulnerability.

The report comparing research programmes across Europe was produced as part of the CRUE ERA-NET Initiative – a network of national funders of flooding research supported through the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme – and provides an important starting point for better integration of floods research across Europe. The CRUE Project is co-ordinated by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Speaking in Vienna, Austria, at the kick-off meeting of approved research projects for the first trans-national funding initiative on flooding, Dr Sebastian Catovsky, CRUE Project Co-ordinator, said:

"Developing a deeper understanding of the impacts of flooding and climate change is essential to avoid escalating costs and damages. The report we are publishing today shows how Europe is already taking the first step – by strengthening its research base on flood risk management and integrating national research programmes more closely."

Notes to Editors

  1. The first ERA-NET CRUE Report "National research programmes on Flood Risk Management across Europe" is available from www.crue-eranet.net/partner_area/documents/D2-1Brochure.pdf
  1. The vision of the ERA-NET CRUE project – which is a funding initiative within the Sixth EU Framework Programme – is to accomplish the integration, consolidation and dissemination of research work and its results in the field of flood risk management in Europe and to implement them on an institutional level across the 11 European partner countries.  CRUE is the acronym for “Coordination de la Recherche sur la gestion des inondations financée dans l’Union Européenne” (Coordination of the research financed in the European Union on flood management).

  2. Currently ERA-NET CRUE consists of partners (organisation name in brackets) from Austria (BMLFUW), England (Defra), Finland (SYKE), France (MEDD), Germany (BMBF, PTKA-WTE, FZJ-PTJ), Hungary (VKK), Italy (APAT), The Netherlands (V&W), Poland (MSHE), Scotland (SE-ERAD) and Spain (MEC). Defra (England) is the Co-ordinator.

  3. First Common Call: Common trans-national pilot calls initiated by the partner countries are one principal activity within the ERA-NET CRUE. Towards the end of 2005, a call for research projects was published by six of the CRUE countries on the topic of “Risk Assessment and Risk Management: Effectiveness and Efficiency of Non-structural Flood Risk Management Measures”. From the submitted proposals, seven joint projects were selected as candidates for funding. Some more procedural details and the full titles of the projects can be taken from the website http://www.crue-eranet.net/calls.asp.

  4. Vienna Kick-Off Meeting: The purpose of the kick-off meeting, which takes place in Vienna (Austria) on 29 – 30 January 2007, is to offer project leaders of approved research projects an opportunity to get acquainted with the set of selected projects. There will be the possibility to establish links between projects and to initiate cooperation where it seems useful.

  5. In recent years, Europe has suffered a number of severe river and coastal floods that have caused loss of life and property. Climate change is likely to increase the risk of such events in the future. A recent insurance industry report suggests that the financial costs of floods in Europe could increase 10 – 20 fold by the end of century, because of a combination of climate change and increased vulnerability (more assets and wealth in flood risk areas).  This would take the annual flood bill to over €100 billion if no action is taken to manage the rising risk. “Financial risks of climate change“, June 2005, Association of British Insurers, http://www.abi.org.uk/flooding

Press enquiries to Dr Jule Harries, CRUE Dissemination Officer, +44-20-7238-6101, info@crue-eranet.net
technical enquiries to Andreas Pichler, +43-1-71100-7252, andreas.pichler@lebensministerium.at

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