CapHaz-Net – Social Capacity Building for Natural Hazards:
Toward More Resilient Societies


Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology


EU (7th FP, Theme 6 "Environment, including Climate Change"), Coordination Action




CapHaz-Net wants to contribute to the improvement of the social resilience of European societies to natural hazards. This will be done by identifying and assessing existing practices and policies for social capacity building in the field of natural hazards. By social capacity we mean the societal assets, skills and resources necessary to anticipate, cope with and recover from natural disasters and environmental stress.

Main topics of CapHaz-Net are:

  • Social capacity building
  • Risk governance
  • Risk perception
  • Social vulnerability
  • Risk communication
  • Risk education
  • Societal resilience

CapHaz-Net is mainly interested in:

  • Heat-related hazards (e.g. droughts, heat waves, forest fires) in Southern Europe
  • Alpine hazards (such as mass movements, flash floods, avalanches or debris flows)
  • Plain floods in Central Europe

Major aims of CapHaz-Net are to:

  • Evaluate the contributions and relevancy of the aforementioned themes for the creation of more resilient societies and communities by identifying and assessing existing 'good' and 'bad' practices and policies at different spatial scales across Europe
  • Develop and apply a conceptual frame for institutional learning and transfer of existing knowledge and best practice into action
  • Summarise the state of the art of social science research in the aforementioned themes
  • Provide guidance and recommendations for further research and to improve future policy and practice in the field of natural hazards

The UFZ is coordinating CapHaz-Net and is also responsible for the work package on social capacity building as well for the synthesis work package on improving the resilience of European societies. Furthermore, it will prepare, conduct and evaluate a workshop on plain floods in Central Europe.

Stakeholders and policy-makers are included in the main activities of CapHaz-Net. If you are interested in our activities or if you want to join the extended network of CapHaz-Net, please register at

The partners cooperating in CapHaz-Net are:

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig (Germany)
Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC), Middlesex University, London (UK)
Mass Emergencies Programme (PEM), Istituto di Sociologia Internazionale di Gorizia (Italy)
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain)
Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center Slovenske akademije znanosti in umetnosti, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf and Davos (Switzerland)
DIALOGIK Non-Profit Institute for Communication and Cooperative Research, Stuttgart (Germany)
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University (UK)

Related publications

Steinführer, Annett; Kuhlicke, Christian; De Marchi, Bruna; Scolobig, Anna; Tapsell, Sue; Tunstall, Sylvia (2009): Local Communities at Risk from Flooding: Social Vulnerability, Resilience and Recommendations for Flood Risk Management in Europe. Leipzig: Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, 88 pp.
Task11_Broschuere_7-09 (11.3 MB)

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