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Why

The 2013 floods in Central Europe have been a stark reminder of how vulnerable and hazard-prone European countries are and how costly disasters are even today both in terms of economic damage and loss of lives. In Austria and elsewhere, extreme events such as heavy precipitation, storms and debris flows are expected to differentially exhibit changes in terms of severity, frequency and duration. At the same time, the number and value of assets and critical infrastructure is on the rise, which is the key factor behind changes in risk (IPCC 2012). Overall, our changing climate coupled with dynamic socioeconomic drivers of risk will cause substantial changes in the risk landscapes around the globe and in Austria and strongly affect future decisions made by public authorities, households and business. It appears necessary to bolster options that reduce risk to an acceptable level as well as finance residual risk by means of an integrated, iterative and forward-looking risk management approach. Sustainable and scientifically sound disaster risk reduction is considered a key element of climate change adaptation strategies by both the academic and practitioners’ worlds. The nexus is established and evident; however, user-oriented methods in the form of hybrid techniques (top-down and bottom-up, model-driven and participatory) remain limited for application at the local level in Austria.