During the Geo.X workshop from March 24th to 26th, 2015 in Berlin 30 representatives from different fields of science, politics, industry and civil protection organizations discussed on natural hazards and georisks in the globalized world. Geo.X is a regional geoscientific network in the area Berlin-Potsdam. It displays the expertise of four universities and five research institutions. The topics of this network are natural hazards and risks, natural resources, raw materials and human living environment.

The key topic in Berlin was the Geo-risk research and its contribution for a coordinated development of risk management strategies.

Especially the urban growth is one reason for the increase of the vulnerability of the society due to natural hazards. The evidence for this is the increasing number of 5-million-cities in the world. Only seven of these so-called megacities existed in 1950, but in 2020 there will be more than 60. The infrastructure cannot follow this trend.

The facets of vulnerability are diverse and ranging from physical, political, social and financial to the point of economic and ecological aspects. The main challenges for risk management are based on the responsibility, finance, information, social acceptance and the psychology of the people. Professor Jochen Zschau of the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) summarized key messages to the public during the closing event on the EUREF-campus. Thus, an interdisciplinary dialogue for integrated research and practice with scientific, cultural and social perspectives is necessary. In addition, networks of scientists, politicians and economists have to set up, and global and interactive risk-app must be developed. Zschau emphasized that risk management can also be an opportunity for economic growth.

Text: Karl Dzuba, Earth System Knowledge Platform