After three years of hard work, „Culture And RISk management in Man-made And Natural Disasters” (CARISMAND) reached its end. The project final conference „Making a difference Managing differences: Cultural factors in disaster management“ took place in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy, on 18 and 19 September 2018 promoting the CARISMAND Toolkit and its key features and recommendations. The event gathered more than 130 experts and practitioners from the disaster management community across Europe.

The CARISMAND Final Conference started with a project introduction and continued with two key presentations. The detailed overview of project results was followed by a presentation by Dr Sandra Appleby-Arnold (University of Malta) on the cultural factors in disaster management; while Dr Noellie Brockdorff, from the same university, and Alexandra Tsvetkova (LIBRe Foundation) revealed to the audience the development methodology, architecture and functionalities of the CARISMAND Toolkit including its special feature – the Cultural Map.

The two-day event covered three specialized sessions dedicated to the content of the CARISMAND Toolkit. During the first day, Dr Aitana Radu (University of Malta), Dr Sunčica Zdravković (University of Novi Sad), Samuel Iheanyi Nwankwo (Leibniz University Hannover) and Dr Ionut Olaru (SMURD Foundation), presented CARISMAND recommendations for policy makers, while Dr Noellie Brockdorff, Dr Sandra Appleby-Arnold, Laure Fallou (European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre) and Valentin Stoian (“Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy) showcased CARISMAND recommendations for practitioners andcitizens during the next day. Reflections on the CARISMAND concepts and the potential impact of its findings by the special guests of the event – Dr Raid Arafat, SMURD Foundation, and Prof Maurizio Fiasco, Istituto di Studi Politici "S. Pio V", complemented the presentations.

To feel the flavor of the project and to experience the CARISMAND thinking process, all participants were involved in a series of high-table discussions based on some of the CARISMAND Toolkit recommendations presented earlier. The immediate feedback from rapporteurs from each table discussion illustrated the information feedback loop the CARISMAND relied on to produce its findings and was found extremely interesting and useful by both guests and project partners.

A panel discussion involving Ramesh Tripathi (World Meteorological Organisation), Prof Maurizio Fiasco and Prof Joseph Cannataci (CARISMAND project coordinator) was focussed on the importance and specifics of the multi-stakeholder approach undertaken in CARISMAND and the mechanisms for integrating the project multidisciplinary results into the work of disaster managers and practitioners.

CARISMAND Final Conference concluded with the vision beyond CARISMAND, presented by Prof Joseph Cannataci. The final version of the toolkit is planned to be published online in the weeks following the event and will include a downloadable version that could be adaptable by users to suit their specific environments and needs. It was also announced that SMURD Foundation, one of the partners representing the disaster management community in the project, will take over and sustain the Toolkit after the official end in September 2018.