Within the INDICATORS project the research focused on the vulnerability of
different social groups, of critical infrastructure as well as on the
vulnerability of the environment
at the local level to water related natural hazards, with particular
emphasis on floods.
In this context vulnerability is seen as the starting point for innovative
strategies to enhance human security, particularly regarding preventive civil
protection and disaster management.
The project has been conducted by UNU-EHS in collaboration with the
academic partners Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the German Aerospace
Centre (DLR), and in close cooperation with partners from practice, the German
Flood-protection Agency in Cologne and the City of Cologne as well as the
Environmental Agency of the City of Dresden.
The project has been financially supported by
the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) in Bonn.
– September 2009
of the project was to apply a concept of vulnerability (with three major
components - exposure, susceptibility, coping capacity) towards flood events
for key areas (population, critical infrastructure, environment) that need to
be protected in emergency situations. Therefore, criteria and indicators for
the vulnerability components have been developed to allow a systematic
assessment of vulnerability.
indicators are seen as a key for developing effective strategies for preventive
civil protection. Moreover, vulnerability indicators can serve as an important
tool within the framework of hazard and risk communication (early warning,
Further, in order to enable the application and transfer of research
results, the elaborated assessment methods have been presented in a guideline
for municipalities, explaining step by step the assessment methods and required
project field (population, critical infrastructure, environment), a concept of
vulnerability has been applied assuming that a combination of exposure,
susceptibility and coping capacity determine the degree of vulnerability.
(e.g. based on household interviews in Cologne and Dresden) as well as
qualitative (e.g. based on expert interviews) methods have been deployed in the
assessments were based on flood scenarios, namely HQ scenarios. HQ scenarios
describe a flood event with a special statistical interval of occurrences.
Thus, an HQ100 scenario refers to a flood event that statistically occurs once
in 100 years.
for all key areas Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have been applied in
order to evaluate, link, and visualize data and results.
Due to the close cooperation with partners from practice named above, it
was possible to evaluate and discuss the scientific findings with practitioners
and to assure that the research results will be applicable in municipalities.
from the INDICATORS project have been presented at international conferences
such as the ICLEI Resilient Cities Congress. Further, besides the guideline and
the project report (see "Downloads"), results have been published here:
Birkmann, J., Bach, C., Vollmer, M. (2012): Tools for
Resilience Building and Adaptive Spatial Governance, in: Raumforschung und
Raumordnung, 70(4), p. 293-308.
Birkmann, J. & Krings, S. (2008): Die
Vulnerabilität kritischer Infrastrukturen gegenüber (möglichen) Auswirkungen
des Klimawandels. Zeitschrift Notfallvorsorge, 4, 25-30.