Published works

Published works

Understanding values at risk and risk ownership workshop synthesis report

TitleUnderstanding values at risk and risk ownership workshop synthesis report
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsYoung, C, Jones, R, Symons, J
Document Number225
Date Published09/2016
InstitutionBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Report Number225

When natural disasters are large and combine in unpredictable ways, they also cross domains; moving from the private to the public realm, and shifting from a local, to a state or national concern. Most climate-related natural hazards, and the number of people living in hazard-prone areas, are increasing – raising the potential of future, unmanaged risks. Deficits in important social and environmental values could arise if they are not adequately accounted or compensated for in decision-making processes. Communities and the environment are vital components of liveability and sustainability, but their underlying values are not well understood. If a risk is owned – in that who is responsible for managing the values under threat can be clearly identified – then we can assess this imbalance. If a risk is unowned, these values may be more likely to be damaged and degraded, or lost.

Values underpin the foundations of decision-making and shape the choices we make, yet often they only become visible when they are lost. Values can be social, environmental or economic and can be measured as tangible (monetary) or intangible (non-monetary). To date, there has been little clarity as to the worth of different types of values and the role that they play in decision-making within and across institutions. Preventing future loss of values and the associated costs from uncertain but potentially severe natural hazard events can be difficult but necessary in order to make the case for investment. It is also important for understanding more fully the implications of the trade-offs associated with different mitigation options to improve strategic decision-making.

The increasing intensity of some natural hazards, changing demographics and environmental conditions, are placing many of these values at greater risk. This is driving the need to ensure effective management by better understanding which values are most vulnerable, their worth and the risks that threaten them, and identifying who has ownership of these values at an institutional level.

This report provides an analysis of four workshops and supporting research for the project Mapping and understanding bushfire and natural hazard vulnerability and risks at the institutional scale, undertaken for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC). These workshops were designed to provide a basis for testing work to date and for identifying key components needed for the development of the final outputs for this project.

The workshops were undertaken in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales and developed in collaboration with our end users. They were designed to explore preferences in decision-making that relate to values at risk and current understandings of risk ownership. We also wanted to test the Draft Values at Risk Map developed by the project as a research tool, to determine the best future use for this output. 

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