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Conference on Flood Management Highlights Adaptation and Preparedness

30 September 2011: Participants at the Fifth International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM5) underscored the gaps in understanding, policy planning, and capacities to respond to flood-related risks, calling for international efforts to share innovative developments and link researchers and the development community to those responding to and mitigating impacts of floods.

The meeting took place met in Tokyo, Japan, from 27-29 September 2011, and included a high-level International Forum on Mega-disasters. A draft Declaration was circulated at the meeting, to be finalized in November 2011, which highlights an increase in the number of floods and the risks they pose. It also acknowledges the inevitability that events beyond expectation will occur and that there is an increasingly complex network of dependent activities resulting in local events having international significance. Noting that eliminating flood risk is impossible, it stresses the need to integrate flood management into integrated water resource management (IWRM), as well as greater balance between infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions. The draft highlights the importance of floodplain protection and a focus on preparedness for events that exceed expectation. The Declaration agrees to: implement the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation's Hashimoto Action Plan on Water and Disaster; spread the declaration to relevant international meetings; and engage in sharing knowledge, training and holding meetings.

Addressing the conference, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud described new advances in climate science and policy highlighting the new Global Framework for Climate Services to build climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction capacity. The meeting noted the shift in disaster risk management from disaster response to a more holistic approach including preparedness and prevention strategies. The meeting discussed a range of issues from: flood management policy to strategic planning; risk assessments; land use regulation; hydro-meteorological monitoring; and emergency management and recovery.

The meeting was organized by the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) through the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). [WMO Press Release] [Hashimoto Action Plan] [Conference Website and ICFM5 Declaration Draft]