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Application of the Agent Based Model (ABM) in the Danube Region and the importance of agricultural and transport sectors – Second Focus Group

The Danube Region Pilot project has unveiled preliminary results from a cutting-edge macroeconomic Agent-Based Model (ABM), highlighting the interconnectedness of the Danube Region countries and the economic impacts of natural hazards. The recent stakeholder meeting (FG2) was a pivotal moment, presenting these findings and gathering crucial feedback to refine the model and policy recommendations.

The ABM, designed to simulate economic interactions following natural hazards, provided insights into the systemic impacts of hazards like floods and earthquakes. Among the key findings:

  • Floods have a more significant negative impact on agricultural production compared to earthquakes. In contrast, the agriculture sector in many countries saw increased output following an earthquake, except for Romania and Austria, which suffered substantial direct impacts.
  • The transport sector experiences prolonged declines in output across all Danube countries following floods, with better recovery rates after earthquakes.
  • The financial sector faces severe disruptions under consecutive hazard scenarios, particularly in Romania and Germany, with slow recovery rates.

Stakeholder feedback was instrumental in refining the ABM. Stakeholders emphasised the need to include detailed data on pollution and drought hazards to better reflect the region’s complexities. They also called for adapting modelling scenarios to show the effects of upstream water use for irrigation on downstream ecosystems and users.

The FG2 setting provided an opportunity to discuss potential cross-regional policy options to mitigate the impacts of interconnected hazards. Stakeholders identified the need for:

  • Improved alignment of policies across water management and agriculture sectors.
  • Enhanced cross-border cooperation, especially in sharing data and addressing discrepancies between countries.
  • Proactive measures to reduce economic impacts, highlighting the financial benefits of preventive actions over-reactive responses.

Moving forward, the project will incorporate stakeholder input to enhance the ABM’s accuracy and relevance. Detailed presentations of the results will be made to specific groups, such as the Flood Protection Expert Group, to ensure a broad understanding and application of the findings. Additionally, simulation events are planned to bring the results closer to practical applications and field operations.

The Danube Region Pilot project’s innovative approach, combining ABM with stakeholder engagement and sectoral analysis, promises to provide valuable insights for policymakers and help build resilience against future natural hazards. As the project progresses, the focus will remain on refining models, integrating stakeholder feedback, and developing robust policy options to safeguard the region’s economic stability.