Impacts of decentralization or centralization on the implementation of multi-risk assessments (MRA)

Recent Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) research addressed how a multi-risk approach (MRA) can be implemented in different governance systems marked by different degrees of centralization in policy and decision-making processes.

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Multi-risk assessment

A 2013 study by RPV researchers [1] looked at potential implementation of multi-risk assessment in different governance systems in the European Union, marked by different degrees of centralization in policy and decision-making processes. 

The study compared natural risk governance systems in Italy and France which are characterized by different degrees of decentralization not only between the countries but also across natural hazards in the same country. 

The study took into account the existing tools and institutional characteristics for risk assessment and also interactions between different levels of governance systems, such as local, national, and regional; possibilities for synergies in risk mitigation strategies; and existing division of interests, power relations and conflicts between the multiple stakeholders involved into risk mitigation. 

The results show that both centralized and decentralized governance systems have their own strengths and weaknesses. Elements of decentralized governance can favor creation of local multi-risk commissions, while elements of centralized governance can lead to improvement of inter-agency communication and creation of an inter-agency environment. However, both governance systems suffer from such deficiencies as lack of financial, technical, and institutional capacities at a local level.


[1] Komendantova N, Scolobig A, Vinchon C (2013) Multi-risk Approach in Centralized and Decentralized Risk Governance Systems: Case Studies of Naples, Italy, and Guadeloupe, France. International Relations and Diplomacy Journal (1)3: 224-239.

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Last edited: 22 May 2014


Nadejda Komendantova-Amann

Research Scholar

Advanced Systems Analysis

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Landslide risks may benefit from decentralized approach

Options Summer 2013

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