Switzerland

Switzerland National Platform

Switzerland National Platform for Natural Hazards (Nationale Plattform Naturgefahren, PLANAT) Date of creation: 1997 Website: http://www.planat.ch

History 

In light of Switzerland’s exposure to natural hazards, there is a long tradition of awareness in dealing with them. This awareness is important to our country’s development and is reflected in the constitutional mandate to protect the population and to preserve natural resources essential to livelihood.

The National Platform for Natural Hazards PLANAT was created in 1997 by the Swiss Federal Council and made responsible for coordinating concepts in the field of prevention against natural hazards. The main objective of the extra-parliamentary commission is a paradigm change from protection against hazards to the management of risk.

Structure

The national platform for natural hazards PLANAT is a governmental structure. It consists of eighteen specialists coming from all regions of Switzerland. The Federal Council appoints them for periods of four years.

Representatives of

·       Federal Central Government

·       Cantons

·       research community

·       professional associations

·       private sector

·       insurance companies

They are members of PLANAT. The members are experts in such diverse fields as land use planning, forestry, civil defence, risk management and natural hazard prevention, infrastructure, international development cooperation, climate impact research and many others.  The Federal Council appoints them for periods of four years. The next elections will be held at the end of 2019.

The president is nominated by the plenary and elected by the Swiss Federal Council. The members elect a committee constituted by 5 persons, which prepares the plenary sessions of the commission. The platform is supported and backed by a secretariat with 2 employees, based in Bern.

Working groups are established on project basis. The size of the groups varies between two and five members. As per today two working groups are active on:

·        permanent working group “Information and Communication”

·       permanent working group “International collaboration”

·       project group “Update: Website”

·       project group “What’s the price of security? Yearly expenditure for protection from natural hazards”

·       project group “Update: Security level”

Mandate

The commission holds a threefold mandate:

  1. Strategic work: PLANAT works on prevention and management of natural hazards and risks on a strategic level. The platform is highly engaged in making Switzerland more resilient and in protecting the Swiss population, its natural environment and considerable material assets effectively against natural hazards.

  2. Creation of awareness: PLANAT works towards a long-tern shift from fighting natural hazards to developing a risk culture The committee promotes the shift from solely averting danger to a risk informed and competent way of dealing risks. It makes sure that measures are being taken which are ecologically compatible, socially just and economically efficient and therefore sustainable. 

  3. Coordination and collaboration: PLANAT builds on synergies. PLANAT exchanges knowledge and experience on a national as well as on an international level.

Budget

PLANAT has an allocated budget of 300’000 CHF per year. Additionally, the secretariat (125%) is payed for by the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN.

Activities

In 2016 PLANAT started the process of updating the Swiss strategy ‘protection against natural hazards’ from 2004. The strategy was taken note of by the Federal Council on July 4th 2018.

The update became necessary because of the following reasons:

Past and present protection efforts notwithstanding, the increasing utilisation of our living environment and the rise in extreme weather events associated with climate change are increasing the risks from natural hazards. At the same time, resources for managing natural hazards are limited. Recognition of this led to ratification of the framework agreements Hyogo 2005 and Sendai 2015 at international level. In Sendai, the international community adopted seven global targets and four priorities for action to reduce disaster risks. However, Switzerland has seen changes in its national situation since the first strategy “Protection against Natural Hazards” was published: strategies that have been developed in various policy areas (e.g. sustainable development, adaptation to climate change) bear on management of risks from natural hazards. This has seen advances since 2003 in response to experience gained from natural events such as the floods of 2005.

With these considerations in mind, PLANAT defined objectives for managing risks from natural hazards and set out the principles for achieving them. Proven elements such as the integrated risk management approach will continue to be pursued and developed. The updated strategy advocates to continue to adequately protect society and the economy against natural hazards. To this end, society must not only become more resistant but also capable of rapidly regaining functional capacity after an event, as well as being prepared and capable of adapting to changed conditions. Achieving these goals necessitates individual responsibility at every level and cooperation between all stakeholders.

A comprehensive, broad-based assessment of Switzerland’s current condition was compiled in the 2016 report “Management of Natural Hazards in Switzerland”, which incorporates all stakeholder viewpoints in identifying measures that will substantially contribute to implementation of the updated strategy 2018.

In the strategy PLANAT recommends priorities for achieving the objectives formulated and identifies the stakeholders concerned. The strategy 2018 is directed at all whose activities and decisions influence the management of risks from natural hazards.

By implementing this strategy, Switzerland will secure it’s living and economic environment for the long term and strengthen national competitiveness.

Currently, PLANAT accompanies the implementation and develops tools and aids for this process.

Apart from this, PLANAT is involved in the following activities:

·       coordination of the Sendai reporting process and collaboration with other institutions in the follow up process after adopting the Sendai Framework for DRR. Addressing the gaps revealed by the Sendai Framework as chair of a working group mandated with this task.

·       Updating its publication “Security Level” to be consistent with the updated strategy

·       updating its publication ““What’s the price of security? Yearly expenditure for protection from natural hazards”

·       refacing and modernising the PLANAT website.

 

Share this