Riederalp 2017 Workshop on Risks




In a general context of rapid and dynamic change in environmental and socio-economic spheres, present-day societies are confronted with a number of hazards that may be on the rise in coming decades. Major catastrophes resulting from extensive floods, droughts, or massive slope instabilities have already occurred in the past. However, more recently, climatic change – along with increasing population pressures in regions at risk – have compounded the human and economic costs related to many such events, a trend that is likely to accelerate as a result of a warmer global climate. It is thus essential that the scientific community, working across different disciplines, interacts closely with civil society, enterprises, and governments to address these issues and suggest viable solutions to minimize the risks associated with such events.

The proposed Riederalp-2017 Workshop will bring together specialists from the natural, social and economic sciences to discuss the implications of multiple hazards generated by multiple stressors, in terms of enhanced scientific knowledge, adaptation strategies, and policy guidance. A particular focus of the meeting will be on urban systems, whose proximity to unstable complex terrain, for example, make them highly vulnerable to many types of hazard. An additional focus will also be on risks in the natural environment in the hinterland or urban areas that can also have an influence on the vulnerability of cities, e.g., through climate-triggered landslides that disrupt communication routes between urban centers.


The key topics that will be covered, and for which contributions are welcome, include:

  • Climate-driven hazards
  • Mass movements in urbanized mountain regions
  • Large-scale floods
  • Large-scale droughts
  • Societal and economic risks related to these hazards
  • What do societies need to prepare for?
  • How are these processes likely to change in a context of climate change and increasing urbanization
  • Adaptation strategies
  • Economics of adaptation to hazards
  • Technological solutions
  • Learning from traditional techniques for hazards protection
  • Bridging the gap Science and Policy to convey the urgency of action in the face of these changes
  • Scientific input for decision-making
  • Collaboration with authorities specialized in emergency services


Additional issues that will be raised in Riederalp include for example:

  • Special Issue of a leading journal with selected papers from the meeting
  • Development of an interdisciplinary and international project (EU funding or otherwise) based on recommendations formulated at the meeting.


The venue: Riederalp, Canton of Valais, Switzerland

Riederalp is a car-free resort in the UNESCO World Heritage “Aletsch Glacier” Region. The resort is at equal distance (roughly three hours by train) from Geneva-Cointrin, Zurich-Kloten and Milano-Malpensa airports. Please note that you will need to change trains in Brig and take the small mountain railway as far as Mörel, and then the cable-car to Riederalp. Information on times and connections is available on the Swiss Federal Railroadswebsite. Simply type in your station of origin and “Riederalp” as your destination.

Riederalp is a small summer and winter village in the region of the largest glacier of the European Alps, the Aletsch Glacier. It lies on a south-facing slope with spectacular views to the high summits of the Valais Alps on the other side of the Rhone Valley. It is one of about 14 Swiss resorts that are free of all road traffic. The village is located at close to 2,000 m altitude above sea-level, and end March should still be a good time of the year for skiing (despite global warming!), with ski runs reaching above 2,500 m.

The meeting will take place at the Art Furrer Resort Hotel, where a block of rooms has been set aside for the meeting. All meals, coffee breaks, plenary sessions and possible breakout meetings will take place in the hotel. Based on the 4 nights/4 days of the meeting, prices at the hotel range from CHF 850.- (shared double room) to CHF 990.-(single rooms), which include the room, half-board (breakfast and evening meal), taxes, and all coffee breaks.

Because this will be a full 3-day meeting, with an important final wrap-up session on the morning of Saturday, March 25, participants are expected to arrive in the afternoon or evening of Tuesday, March 21, 2017 and depart after noon on Saturday, March 25, 2017. While you are expected to confirm your participation by filling in the form below, hotel rooms need to be booked individually at: Please make sure you mention the “2017 Risk Workshop” in the subject line to benefit from the special workshop conditions.



As in past Riederalp events, the meeting format will consist of a set of presentations in the morning, followed by free afternoons for skiing or other outdoor activities, and a couple of hours of discussions (or further presentations) prior to drinks and dinner. The number of participants in previous meetings has ranged from 25 to 40 (the latter being a maximum number, both from the facilities available but especially in terms of the interactivity between participants). An important final wrap-up session will take place on the final morning of the meeting (Saturday, March 25), thereafter enabling participants to leave in time to catch afternoon or evening flights in Geneva, Zurich, or Milan – or stay on for the rest of the week-end.



A registration fee of CHF 100.- will be charged for the full event, that will help cover the administrative costs related to the event. Cash-only will be accepted upon registration during the meeting, as we do not have the facilities to charge credit cards.



You can then fill out your contact details and includeg your short abstract, and then return to Martin Beniston and Markus Stoffel at the e-mail addresses indicated on the form.



While you are expected to confirm your participation by filling in the registration and abstract submission form above, hotel rooms need to be booked individually by clicking on the Online Hotel Booking Form. You can further contact the hotel, if needed, via: In this case, please mention the “Joint Risk Workshop 2017” in the subject heading for any correspondance with the hotel.

Log In

Create an account