Italy and France cooperate to raise local awareness about cross-border natural hazards

Cross-border Alpine territories present a number of natural hazards such as avalanches, ground movement or flooding. Various institutions in France, Italy and Switzerland collaborated on the RiskNET project in order to better inform the public. This has resulted in:

  • the creation of a cross-border platform on the topic of natural hazards;
  • the development of methodologies;
  • the launch of pilot actions relating to good practice. 

A network of key players is structured through the establishment of a political steering committee and a technical steering committee.

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RiskNET Alcotra project - photo of the Lys glacial lake (Aosta Valley - Italy) © Fondazione Montagna sicura - Montagne sûre RiskNET Alcotra project - photo of the Lys glacial lake (Aosta Valley - Italy) © Fondazione Montagna sicura - Montagne sûre

" RiskNET represents the capitalisation of the cross-border network relating to natural hazards, born out of the Alcotra RiskNat strategic project (2009-2012) "

Alessandro Benati, Fondazione Montagna sicura - Montagne sûre

The creation of the www.risknet‐alcotra.org website, the RiskNat geoportal, and a data bank, have helped to improve the dissemination of knowledge. An exchange of real-time data emerged when monitoring networks (rain, air temperature, snow depth) managed by different actors all linked up.

Educational initiatives have raised awareness among school groups and the general public to help develop a civic culture of protection in respect of natural hazards. Technicians and cross-border operators have benefited from training in the form of "summer schools".

More concretely, the RiskNat geoportal provides access to geographic data and 3D visualisation services that are independently updated by the various agencies active in the cross-border region. With regard to the database, it capitalises on useful information for key players in technical, scientific and political institutions that carry out projects in the Western Alps.

In terms of education, an analysis was conducted on innovative practices to promote the memory of risk, which, in turn, led to a report and the creation of good practice fact sheets. Actual and virtual education courses linked to natural hazards encountered in the mountains have been designed with the aim of fostering cognitive abilities. Training made available to technicians (two summer schools of one week each, one on avalanches and the other on hillside movements, and six workshops) have helped support local employment.

Methodologically, RiskNET has enabled guidance for analytical methods to be developed, for example with regard to the drawing up of comprehensive maps for safer management of roads.

RiskNET was also an opportunity to create synergies with other projects looking at natural risks, such as Alcotra PEEF "Pôle Formation et éducation d'excellence” [Training Hub and Excellence in Education], GlaRiskAlp (risks related to the evolution of the glacial environment) and MASSA (study on landslides).

Overall, the project has helped the cross-border technical community to learn how to recognise, compare, develop and share analytical methods, data and practical experiences on the prevention of natural hazards in the Alpine landscape. Capitalising on the experiences of RiskNat, the RiskNET project was an opportunity to discuss new themes (social networks, economic risk assessment).


Total investment and EU funding

A total of EUR 1 080 139 was invested in the RiskNET project. The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 484 659 under the ‘Italy-France’ (Alps - ALCOTRA)’ operational programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority of “safety”.


Draft date

28/08/2017