Natech II Project: Effective Precaution for Natural Catastrophes and Chemical Accidents

Natural disasters often cause destruction on a massive scale. A particular risk occurs when such natural disasters cause accidents in technical installations that handle dangerous substances. In addition to damages in the infrastructure, toxic, flammable, and explosive substances may leak into the environment. Emergency services may need to extinguish burning refineries that have sustained heavy damage, and the environment could suffer from the release of toxicants. Flooded chemical storage units or destroyed oil tanks are merely two examples of such Natural Hazard Triggered Technological Accidents, so-called Natechs.

Effective risk management on Natechs requires particular attention from public authorities as well as from private operators. Potential natural hazards need to be identified and considered in the planning and authorisation of the construction and during the operation of industrial facilities. Comprehensive mitigation measures are needed in order to prevent Natechs, while comprehensive emergency plans and sufficient capacities in disaster management are required for when a Natech eventually happens.

As a result of the previous “Natech I” project, in 2015 the OECD issued an Addendum on Natech risk management for the "Guiding Principles on Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response". The aim of the “Natech II” project is to foster implementation of the Guiding Principles. In addition, the project team identifies, evaluates, and spreads good practice examples of Natech risk management. The probable consequences of climate change and their effects on Natechs receive particular attention. Furthermore, the team will develop recommendations on how to reach the goals of the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development by considering the particular challenges posed by Natechs.