Under the 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) activity ‘Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’ (GMES), the European Commission will provide €1.1m support for a new research project, called “ASSIST”, on improving risk warning and risk management of landslides, avalanches, debris flows and floods in Alpine regions. The results of this project can easily be extended to other mountainous areas. GMES is a joint initiative of the Commission and the European Space Agency aimed at improving environmental and security-related information to better manage crisis situations. Under GMES, the Commission is currently funding 14 projects. ASSIST is the latest and fifteenth project.
Mountain ranges or chains account for 30% of EU territory, with some 30 million inhabitants. Areas include the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Island of Crete, the Pyrenees, the Apennines, the Sierra de Estrela, the Massif Central, the upper Tatra and the Carpathians. Mountain areas represent over 50% of the territory in Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal. The goal of ASSIST is to implement pre-operational services and establish advanced integrated safety and information services for the Alps.