Improving Infrastructure to Withstand Natural Hazards – a Major R&D Project for a Safer Society

Natural hazards – infrastructure for floods and slides (NIFS) is a multi-disciplinary project based on Report no. 15 to the Storting15 (2011-2012) entitled How to live with the risks –about floods and slides, and the subsequent parliamentary debate.

Photo: Kjell Aulie

The Norwegian National Rail Administration (JBV), the Norwegian Water Resources and
Energy Directorate (NVE) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) have been working well in partnership over a number of years and within a number of areas. They are now drawing on this experience as they embark on a major targeted R&D initiative. The project has a wide remit and will be throwing light on challenges ranging from the strategic to the operative sphere in connection with natural hazards. The project period has been set to 2012 – 2015, and NOK 42 million as well as considerable internal resources have been allocated to the task.

Significant importance is being attached to joint solutions and collaboration across agencies, as well as liaison with other resources in society within this area. These include research and teaching organisations, trade and industry and other public institutions. The project outcomes are published on an ongoing basis on our joint website Relevant research outcomes will be implemented in accordance with the resolutions of our three organisations.

The overall objective of the project is a safer society with more robust infrastructure, safe buildings, safe transport and good forecasting systems for landslides, snowslides and floods.
The programme’s main objective is to build and propose good partnership platforms by coordinating the activities of the agencies in order to reduce vulnerability and prevent accidents and injuries caused by avalanches and floods.

In order to achieve this objective, the agencies have to equip themselves with relevant tools and acquire the knowledge required to raise awareness and adjust their contingencies for situations that involve unacceptable levels of risk. Also, coordination and partnership in connection with databases, hazard mapping, forecasting systems and R&D will ensure more efficient use of government funds. The programme takes account of current and future climate challenges. Climate change introduces increased vulnerability for society as a whole, as a consequence of changes to and increased frequency of floods and snowslides. Collaborative work to reduce the level of vulnerability is achieved by adapting to the consequences of expected climate change. The organisational structure of the Government Agency Programme and its sub-projects:

The organisational structure of the Government Agency Programme and its sub-projects

It is clear from the figure above that there is an extensive need for data and information to be coordinated across the sub-projects.

Impact targets are used to describe the future situation the project should seek to attain. We wish to reach them through:

  • Improved level of safety for the population, by providing infrastructure which is better designed to withstand the impacts of natural hazards, at their present level and in the future when there are heightened intensities and frequencies as a consequence of climate change.
  • Step-by-step contingencies to ensure better preparedness in natural disaster situations.
  • Better cooperation between agencies in disaster situations.
  • Optimal use of financial and professional resources to solve shared challenges associated with natural hazards.
  • Raised levels of safety and robustness, and improved regularity.

Specific outcome targets and results are defined under the various sub-projects. Our report no. 57 Programme plan 2012-2015 for the Government Agency Programme “NATURAL HAZARDS – infrastructure for floods and slides” (NIFS). This report, along with an increasing number of interesting project reports, are available for downloading from our common website

Photo of Bjørn DolvaContact:
Bjørn Dolva
NPRA, Norway
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