A conceptual approach to the use of Cost Benefit and Multi Criteria Analysis in natural hazard management
Decision-making for protection measures against natural hazards entails major complexities for final decision makers. The issue in question does not only implicate a variety of criteria that need to be considered but also scarce financial resources make the allocation decision a difficult task. Furthermore, these decisions appear to be multidisciplinary in nature. Stakeholders from experts over politicians and the public are among the affected parties in making and dealing with the consequences of such decisions. In order to capture the complexity that arises when incorporating the varieties of interests as well as impacts protection measures have on the environment, the economy and society, transparent and multidisciplinary decision support techniques are needed. This paper looks at how Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), a tool already applied to decisions concerning protective measures, and Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA), even though new to the field as such but already successfully practiced in other environmental areas, perform according to the abovementioned criteria. A conceptual overview of the methodologies will be given along with a discussion of the respective strengths and weaknesses. Looking at past applications, this overview gives an analysis about the potential of socio economics in its contribution to natural hazard research.