Risk Analysis

Integrated Risk Assessment and Management Methods Are Necessary for Effective Implementation of Natural Hazards Policy

Early View

Abstract A transdisciplinary, integrated risk assessment and risk management process is particularly beneficial to the development of policies addressing risk from natural hazards. Strategies based on isolated risk assessment and management processes, guided by traditional “predict, then act” methods for decision making, may induce major regret if future conditions diverge from predictions. Analytic methods designed to identify robust solutions—those that perform satisfactorily over a broader range of future conditions—are more suitable for management of natural hazards risks, for at least three major reasons discussed within. Such approaches benefit from co‐production of knowledge to collaboratively produce adaptive, robust policies through an iterative process of dialogue between analysts, decisionmakers, and other stakeholders: exploring tradeoffs, searching for futures in which current plans are likely to fail, and developing adaptive management strategies responsive to evolving future conditions. The process leads to more effective adoption of risk management policies by ensuring greater feasibility of solutions, exploring a wide range of plausible future conditions, generating buy‐in, and giving a voice to actors with a diversity of perspectives. The second half of the article presents Louisiana's coastal master planning process as an exemplary model of participatory planning and integrated risk assessment and management. Louisiana planners have adopted a decision framework that incorporates insights from modern methods for decision making under deep uncertainty to effectively address the deep uncertainties and complexities characteristic of a variety of natural hazards and long‐range planning problems.

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