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 Newsletter no.9, October 2005

  Download (PDF): Newsletter no.9
 

 Topics

 

 How can flood management practitioners factor environmental aspects?

 

 World Water Week in Stockholm, 21-27 August 2005 Stockholm, Sweden

 

 Towards 4th World Water Forum

   Social Aspects of Integrated Flood Management
   The Second Southeast Asia Water Forum, 29 August - 3 September 2005, Bali, Indonesia
   APFM Advisory Committee and Management Committee
   Overview of current Flood Management Practices
   Workshops on flash floods in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)
   Environmental Aspects of Integrated Flood Management - Expert Group -
   Special session on Integrated Flood Management on 20 October 2005 in Zhengzhou, China
   Swiss flood- August 2005

 How can flood management practitioners factor environmental aspects?

Integrated Flood Management being a multi-disciplinary approach to flood management, APFM is currently developing an advocacy paper on Environmental Aspects of IFM. The aim is for the flood management practitioners to be able to positively factor environmental considerations in flood management. This need for environmental considerations in flood management brought experts (see BOX) of Ecology, Eco-hydrology and Hydrology together from various regions of the world to WMO secretariat on 6-7 October 2005. The Expert Group addressed issues such as balancing development rights, flood risks and environmental considerations; how flood management practitioners can appreciate the roles of ecosystem services; and how environment friendly flood management measures can be implemented.
 
Decision making processes in flood management with conflicting needs of upstream and downstream reaches or one section of populations vis-vis the other, calls for resolving conflict situations by making trade-off among various stakeholders. The need for looking at various alternative options requires understanding of different perspectives and point of views. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge about the languages that the other stakeholders use makes it difficult to come to amicable understanding. Environmental groups and flood management practitioners use different terminology and the two are unable to share often converging goals. What is important in solving such conflict situation is communication and understanding between various stakeholders and experts. This is the incentive behind developing this advocacy paper on Environmental Aspects of IFM in readably understandable language for flood management, environmental community and other stakeholders.
 
This paper provides information on how flood management interventions have changed natural regime of ecosystems. Basic river morphology and fluvial ecology concepts, e.g. importance of longitudinal, lateral and vertical connectivity of a river etc., are depicted in an understandable language for flood management practitioners so that they can easily address those concepts of ecology. The paper discusses various components of the environment including human development, ecosystems affected by human activity and circumstance under which human being is getting exposed to flood risks. Linkages between major ecosystems, e.g. forests, river corridor, wetlands, pond and lakes and costal wetlands and mangroves with flood processes are evaluated in terms of positive roles and limitation of the ecosystem services.

The roles of the ecosystems and floods are followed by understanding impacts of structural and non-structural options on ecosystems and how negative impacts of those options can be avoided and mitigated. The paper also addresses decision making processes that environmental considerations can be addressed to adequately take into account the environmental considerations along with other relevant aspects such as economic and social components.
 
TSU will develop the draft paper based on the discussion at the Expert Group Meeting as mentioned above and comments and suggestions to be provided by the experts. The draft paper is planned to be prepared by the end of November 2005 and posted on the APFM website for wider comments. If you are interested to receive information on this, please contact us (apfm@wmo.int).

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 World Water Week in Stockholm, 21-27 August 2005 Stockholm, Sweden
 The World Water Week was held in Stockholm from 21 to 27 August 2005. Among many interesting and useful seminars and workshops, the Panel Discussion on the continued need for large infrastructure to cater to the extreme hydrologic events was most interesting. It brought to the forefront the existing and increasing variability of water availability vis-vis ever increasing demand for water for once, the debate was more on objective evaluation than on rhetorics. Mr. Avinash Tyagi, head of TSU of APFM and Director, WMO chaired a workshop on "Coping with Climate Variability, Climate Change and Water-Related Hazards". In the workshop, it was recognized that the science should make continuous effort to provide credible information on the climate variability and climate change. At the same time, it was for the society to improve its coping capacity to the water-related hazard because whether these damages caused by such events will be attenuated or aggravated depends on the social structure, and adoptability measures taken at various stages of risk management cycle.

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 Towards 4th World Water Forum
APFM, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan; Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Netherlands; and French Water Academy, propose to co-organize a session on "Adopting Integrated Flood Management within the Integrated Water Resources Management" at 4th World Water Forum (WWF). It is expected that the outputs of this session will 1) Establish the principles of IFM; 2) Establish a platform for various stakeholders; 3) Create a basis for developing capacities in the countries; 4) Establish a mechanism to take care of environment; and 5) Promote awareness, information sharing and public participation.
 
Leading up to the 4th WWF, WMO together with other beacons is organizing a Virtual Workshop on "Risk Management" from 24th of October 2005 for one month period. The occasion would be used to get regional inputs for the base line document on "Risk Management" (http://www.worldwaterforum4.org).

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 Social Aspects of Integrated Flood Management
 In recent years, there is greater appreciation of the need to involve the society in the process of decision-making and increasing their resilience against flood hazards. However, flood management has often been dealt with through engineering interventions without wider consultations and without involving communities in the decision-making. The implementation agencies for flood management in the countries essentially remain mono-disciplinary organizations with little interaction with social and environment streams.
 
It is, with this background, that the advocacy paper on Social Aspects of Integrated Flood Management is being developed. This paper will address social and cultural factors that influence the flood management decisions and the way society can participate in flood management planning and reduce its vulnerability adopting community level approach at various stages of risk management cycle.
 
Community solidarity in face of natural hazards plays an important role in building resilience against flood disasters. Moreover, in any disaster response situation it is important that the weaker sections of the society get special attention. Floods in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina recently present a clear need for adopting such an approach. This paper, addresses all such and other related issues.
 
This paper is one of supplementary papers of IFM Concept Paper (www.apfm.info/publications.htm) to facilitate the implementation of IFM principles into the development planning practice. If you are interested to receive information on this, please contact us (apfm@wmo.int). 

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 The Second Southeast Asia Water Forum, 29 August - 3 September 2005, Bali, Indonesia
APFM participated in "The Second Southeast Asia Water Forum", which was held from 29 August to 3 September 2005 in Bali, Indonesia, and made presentation on Integrated Flood Management (IFM) at the session of "Reducing vulnerability from floods, droughts and other water-related natural disasters", which was organized by Mekong River Commission (MRC), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the International Flood Network (IFNet). Presentation was followed by a panel discussion where the importance of public participation and flood forecasting was recognized.

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 APFM Advisory Committee and Management Committee

The APFM Advisory Committee and Management Committee Meetings were held on 17-18 June in Geneva, Switzerland to review the progress of the programme activities during the third year of APFM and discuss the activity plan for 2005/2006.  The Committee has appreciated that APFM is making excellent efforts towards advocating an integrated approach to flood management and is helping countries in putting into practice the concepts of Integrated Flood Management (IFM) through the pilot projects. These activities will be continuously developed further so that importance of IFM, which has been conceptualised within the context of IWRM, can be widely disseminated and adopted in county policies and on the ground.

Phase I of APFM is coming to a close in March 2006. In the Phase II of APFM, the emphasis is being placed on wider implementation of the IFM concepts in the field, capacity development and provision of HelpDesk services on flood management to support countries in implementation of IFM principles. Government of Japan has committed itself to continue to support Phase II of the programme.

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 Overview of current Flood Management Practices
In order to understand the current status of flood management, case studies have been collected from countries in various regions of the world. Based on the case studies, Overview Situation Paper on flood management practices (OSP) has been prepared with the aim to provide; information on present trends and approaches to flood management; need for an IFM approach; and recommendations on how IFM can be put into practice through lessons learned and gaps identified in the limited number of the case studies.
For more information: http://www.apfm.info/case_studies.htm

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 Workshops on flash floods in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)
The frequency of flash floods in the Central and Eastern Europe appears to be on the rise as is apparent from recent flood disasters in the region. Flash flood forecasting is still far from satisfactory. Under the circumstances there is need to develop resilience within the communities prone to flash flood threats. With this objective in view the pilot project in CEE aims at the community resilience to cope with the effects of flash floods especially under the circumstance where early warnings are not readily and timely available.
 
As a component of the APFM pilot project in Central and Eastern Europe, workshops were organized by participating countries in early summer in Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, especially dealing with flash floods, early warning, public awareness and preventive measures. Participation ranged across sectors including national hydrological and meteorological services, civil defence authorities, as well as representatives from municipalities and NGOs.
The conclusions and recommendations of the "Summary Report on the Historical Floods" can be downloaded through the APFM website at "http://www.apfm.info/regional_projects/ceetac.htm".

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 Environmental Aspects of Integrated Flood Management - Expert Group -
- Expert Group -
- Collin Creighton, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
- Claudio Meier, Universidad de Concepci, Chile
Currently at University of Montana, USA
- Ognjen Bonacci, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Croatia
- Mogens Dyhr-Nielsen, UNEP Collaborating Centre on Water and Environment (UCC-Water), Denmark
- Fabrice Renaud, The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Germany
- Videh Upadhyay, Partner, Enviro Legal Defence Firm (ELDF), India
- Maria-Franca Norese, Polotecnico di Torino IV Facolta' di Ingegneria,  Italy
- Mike Acreman, CEH Wallingford, UK
- Peter Goodwin, University of Idaho, USA
- Ania Grobicki, Independent consultant, WMO

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 Special session on Integrated Flood Management on 20 October 2005 in Zhengzhou, China
 APFM is organising a special session on Integrated Flood Management in collaboration with the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) during the 2nd International Yellow River Forum (IYRF) in the morning of 20 October in Zhengzhou, China.

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 Swiss flood- August 2005
The Swiss flood policy comes very close to the Integrated Flood Management Approach. However, as the recent experience has shown Integrated Flood Management is not a one-time approach. Nor does it end with adoption of IFM principles. It requires a consistent follow-up.
 
During the recent floods in Switzerland the warning systems proved to be very effective. But unless those warnings are effectively transferred into emergency actions they are not likely to yield desired results. Andreas Gz: Federal Officer for Water and Geology realizes this important fact and points out the need to make further improvements in the flood warning chain. He said, "All the players have to work together to ensure that we have the best possible use of a warning system". Another important aspect these floods revealed was that there are many difficulties in implementing flood management strategies such as land use regulations, because when the strategy requires continuous financial inputs, it always causes controversy and is likely to be given lower priority after the memories of the large floods have faded. Peter Volkart: head of the Hydraulics Laboratory at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich said in his comment about the floods of River Aare. "Various measures to protect against flooding had been tabled since the late 1980s, but they had run into opposition from environmentalists, fishermen, homeowners and conservators". In the face of natural disasters, there is a window of opportunity to reassess the policies and if the policies are in place, to review their implementation. Flood practitioners have to act as a moving force in the process involving public, policy makers, media and all other stakeholders.

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