This paper discusses the institutional barriers to the adoption of multi-risk approaches, summarizing the results of the fieldwork conducted in Italy and Guadeloupe and of workshops with disaster risk reduction practitioners from eleven European countries. Results show the need for a clear identification of responsibilities for the implementation of multi-risk approaches, as institutional frameworks for risk reduction remain to this day primarily single-risk centered. Authorities are rarely officially responsible for the management of domino effects between e.g., tsunamis and industrial accidents, earthquake and landslides, floods and electricity network failures. Other barriers for the implementation of multi-risk approaches include the limited measures to reduce exposure at the household level, inadequate financial capacities at the local level and limited public-private partnerships, especially in case of interactions between natural and industrial risks.
Adapting the scale of institutions to that of multi-risk environments remains a major challenge to better mainstream multi-risk approaches into policy. To address this problem, this paper proposes a multi-risk governance framework, which includes the phases of observation, social and institutional context analysis, generation of multi-risk knowledge and stakeholder engagement processes. Yet, more research is needed in order to test the framework and to identify the hallmark characteristics of effective multi-risk governance.
Multi-risk environments are characterized by domino effects that often amplify the overall risk. Those include chains of hazardous events and increasing vulnerability, among other types of correlations within the risk process. The recently developed methods for multi-hazard and risk assessment integrate interactions between different risks by using harmonized procedures based on common metrics. While the products of these assessments, such as multi-hazard and -risk indexes, maps, cascade scenarios, or warning systems provide innovative and effective information, they also pose specific challenges to policy makers and practitioners due to their novel cross-disciplinary aspects.