Nomination for the Sasakawa Award 2013: Recognizing excellence
in reducing disaster risk for a safer, more sustainable world
Acting as One Nominees: Karlstad Municipality and MSB in Sweden
Disaster Risk Reduction Project:
Implementation of the Karlstad Municipal Flood Mitigation ProgrammeTo: Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General
(SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction
Dizery Salim, Sasakawa Focal Point, UNISDR
[email protected]
Nominating an institution
Institution name: Karlstad Municipality and MSB Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
Address of headquarters: Karlstad Municipality 651 84 Karlstad, MSB 65181 Karlstad,
Date of creation: City of Karlstad was created by the King of Sweden in1584. MSB was
created on January 1, 2009,
Main fields of activity: Municipality functions / civil protection
Size Organization Structure: The City of Karlstad has approximately 86,000 inhabitants.
The municipality has about 7500 employees working in 9 different departments.
Karlstad Municipality is government by the City Council, and various committees and
government departments. The politicians serve for the mandate period of four years. The
Karlstad Municipal Government prepares and presents the issues that the City Council makes
decisions on. The Municipal Government also consists of politicians who are appointed by the
City Council. Karlstad Municipality has 13 political committees each with its own special
The annual budget for the entire city management and operations including revenues from
taxes is approximately 470 million euros. The sources of income are taxes 62% fees 6%,
sales 4%, national subsidies 10%, rents 3 %, sales of electricity 3% other 12%.
MSB is a government agency with departments for risk and vulnerability reduction;
emergency preparedness, exercises and education; emergency operations, lessons-learned as
well as administration and support. 850 employees work at the MSB in one of four office
through the country. The annual budget is 123 thousand euros.
Name and title of chief executive officer: Anna Sandborgh, Chief Executive of Karlstad
Municipality and Helena Lindberg, Director General of MSB
For those submitting nominations
Nominator’s name: Johan Palsgård, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations
Address: Case Postale 190
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Email: [email protected]
Present position: First Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs
In less than 100 words, please describe the remarkable and innovative effort carried out by the
nominee to reduce the impact of disasters and build disaster resilience.
Karlstad municipality has since the 1990s worked to prevent flooding. Early on they built up a hydraulic
model and sounded the river in order to model different flood scenarios. The physical properties of the
river have been measured since 1940. In recent years, Karlstad Municipality has worked on building
resilient and adapting to climate change City experts have communicated with citizens and other
stakeholders as part of DRR. Guidelines have been written on sustainable urban planning as part of
the Flood Mitigation Programme. Karlstad is at the forefront of this work among Swedish
municipalities. The municipality’s politicians and government employees have built up considerable
expertise on risk management. Much of the success lies in an exchange between other cities outside
Sweden and other countries. To be at the forefront also means working with innovation and
development of new solutions which can be seen in the flood mitigation programme.
MSB has written regulations on risk and vulnerability assessments as well as guidelines for municipal
risk management. Guidance, training and numerous seminars and workshops have been conducted in
order to support municipalities and provincial governments in identifying specific risks such as flooding
and to investigate the impacts of climate change. The DRR reports, tools, methods developed by MSB
and the universities for the local level often have the purpose of strengthening decision making
capabilities for flood management.
MSB is also active in promoting disaster prevention at the European Union level. Much progress was
made during and after the Swedish Presidency. MSB has promoted information sharing and
exchanges including city –to-city learning for European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction and the
Making Cities Resilient campaign.
Every year MSB monitors the development of the spring flood by collecting details from the County
Administrative Boards about water discharges. In this way early signals are received about the need
for barriers and other resources in the event of high water discharges and flooding. The development
of other types of high water discharges is also monitored.
MSB has developed and supports a digital radio communications system used by public policy, public
security any public health entities in case of an emergency. The MSB is also the focal point for coordinating Swedish national information security which includes the preparedness of media
contributions to societal safety.
In less than 100 words, please describe how the nominee’s actions have heightened awareness
about the need to reduce disaster risk.
Karlstad also acts as one on the international front. In 2010 Karlstad Municipality became the first city
in Sweden to join the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient campaign. They entered as a champion city and
a politician and city director participated in international conferences in Germany, Mexico and China)
as an advocate for disaster risk reduction. Karlstad’s City Councilman Åke Pettersson Frykberg, as a
champion for the campaign supported the Bonn Declaration of Mayors at the Climate Adaptation
Forum. The deputy director of the city spoke about the flood mitigation program at the Shanghai Expo
2010 “Better Cities, Better Life” Shanghai in July 2010.
MSB has accomplished a number of actions to bring all levels together to act as one for disaster risk
reduction. MSB arranges national platform meetings, Nordic HFA meetings, seminars for
municipalities to learn more about the law, and writes guidelines for implementing the laws. MSB also
arranged seminars to profile the good work of the counties and municipalities specific areas of disaster
risk reduction. MSB also receives government commissions for investigation related to flood risk and
mitigation. Cooperation with other municipalities is important in MSB’s work. The National Platform
carried out a national seminar series on the challenges of flood risk during which time cities met and
presented their solutions. A handbook was published with all these examples. Thereis an example of
the continual feedback and exchange of experiences.
Karlstad Municipality, the County Administrative Board of Värmland and MSB all supported the
establishment of the Centre for Climate and Safety at Karlstad University. These bodies contribute
with financial resources and are active members of the steering group. This university collaborates
with the municipality for the flood mitigation walk where researchers, government decision makers,
citizens etc. can view the risks in the field and hear about the different mitigation options.
Karlstad Municipality has increased the awareness of individual property owners that they need to
consider the risks when purchasing or building a home. It is the homeowner’s own insurance that pays
for damages that might occur. The municipality has developed brochures to citizens, information in
various magazines, etc. to inform individuals of the risk and how they can reduce vulnerability. The
website features updated information on how the municipality is working on these issues and that
there are flood maps: The municipality has also had open
consultations regarding technical prevention methods.
In less than 100 words, please describe how the nominee’s actions resulted in new
partnerships that strengthen disaster resilience.
Karlstad’s Contingency Plan for floods is in progress. Here Karlstad Municipality, together with many
different actors, both private and public, are doing an inventory of how vulnerable different objects
important to society are prone to flooding and what to do to protect them. Energy companies, telecom
companies, health care organizations etc. are collaborating in this project.
MSB works closely with universities including a special call for research proposals for climate change
adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Seminars are arranged to disseminate the results. The
university and the city work together not only on research projects but also with disseminating
information about risks to target groups.
One recommendation in the Flood Mitigation Programme was to carry out a flood exercise with the
participation of all relevant actors working with rescue, environment, health, planning, engineering,
property, social services, and IT. The goal of the exercise goal was to test the capability and to
practice handling high flows and its consequences. This was done in collaboration with relevant
organizations. Through the exercise the respective players learned one another’s responsibilities and
capabilities (skills and resources).They identified gaps and ambiguities. The exercise strengthened
cooperation and coordination between stakeholders. It also gave clear picture of what support different
actors need from each other and the rest of society.
In less than 100 words, please describe how the nominee’s efforts satisfy different elements
essential to reducing and mitigating disaster risk. These can include: using a multi-hazard
approach, gender perspective, community participation, cultural diversity, capacity building,
technology transfer and training and education.
Communication is one important tool within disaster risk reduction. Karlstad has done much to educate
about flood risk of Karlstad such as flood hazard maps that are published on the website. Citizens can
follow the water levels on the website and a flood risk walk around the city has been established. The
County helps with the flood risk walks. There is also collaboration between schools and the university
regarding flood risk and mitigation.
Karlstad Municipality is also part of different networks and groups, together with other municipalities
and the County Administrative Board, who share the same catchment area. The MSB supports the
establishment of local river coordination groups working as forums for collaboration and coordination
of concerned stakeholders in the catchment area of a river. These forums increase knowledge about
which coordinated actions will be taken and who is responsible for each. A river group for Klarälven
River is active in discussing and finding solutions to flood risk issues.
Karlstad Municipality cooperates with the County for preparedness and operations in case of an
emergency. There is also collaboration for flood risk management with the Norwegian Water
Resources and Energy Directorate as well as the hydropower plant owner Fortum.
In less than 100 words, please describe how the nominee’s work is funded.
Most financial investments are made by the Karlstad’s Technical and Property Management
Department-The investigations have been funded by the Emergency Services Department and City
Planning Office. European Union projects on flood risk such as EU FLOWS and SAWA (360,000 euro)
have provided external funding.
Karlstad Municipality has requested funds for prevention measures from national government
subsidies that MSB administers.
Government financing is available from the MSB budget for implementing of the EU Flood Directive on
the county level and for mapping natural hazrds. New investigations are made in areas where there is
a high risk of flooding to identify the risks and responsibilities for action.

Karlstad Municipality and MSB in Sweden