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International Flood Initiative


The International Flood Initiative (IFI) workshop on “Charting Global Agenda for Meeting Today’s Flood Management Challenges” was held as one of the 5th World Water Forum side events in Istanbul on 21 March 2009. In response to increasing worldwide flood disasters and related damages, this workshop was organized by the IFI to catalyze global agenda toward Integrated Flood Management. The main conveners of the event were UNESCO, WMO, UNU, UN/ISDR, and ICHARM as the IFI Secretariat. Other IFI partners, such as IAHS, IAHR and ICLR, also took part in the workshop.

Mr. Bruce Stewart from WMO-CHy was the chair of the session at the workshop. The session had dual sections. In the first section, the workshop started with a presentation by Ali Chavoshian, research specialist of ICHARM, to introduce IFI activities. Hıs presentation was followed by those of other representatives on their flood-related activities. The speakers included Bruce Stewart and Avinash Tyagi of WMO, Srikantha Herath and Janos Bogardi of UNU, Arthur Mynett of IAHR, Slobodan Simonovic of ICLR, and Kuniyoshi Takeuchi of ICHARM.

The second part started with a presentation by ICHARM Director Takeuchi on IFI commitments. He highlighted two specific IFI commitments in the “Water and Disaster” report published by the high-level expert panel on water and disaster of UNSGAB as follows:

A- National government to promptly develop people-centered warning systems, comprehensive flood risk maps and assessments linked to communication systems such as cell phone networks. These systems to include observation and warning for flash floods. The panel requests WMO and UNESCO (via International Flood Initiative) to assist governments in undertaking the proposed actions and invite international financial institutions to support the fulfillment of the proposed actions. (Item No. 2 in annex 1, list of actions)

B- International Flood Initiative and international hydrological and hydraulic institutes to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster prevention measures and develop disaster preparedness indices for implementation by local authorities. (Item No. 30 in annex 1, list of actions)

The participants also reported progress and had discussions on three main IFI activities as well as discussions on future plans. Three main activities discussed in the workshop were:

1- IFI briefs: A multilingual publication (about 2, at most 4, pages) to communicate flood issues and available solutions to governments and policy makers.

2- IFI reference series: A kind of guidebooks and manuals to fulfill gaps and elaborate in detail on flood issues and solutions for practical use. (Reported by Mr. Tyagi)

3- IFI web tutorials: Web-based education and training. (Reported by Mr. Herath)

Before closing the workshop, dates for the 5th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM5) were discussed and decided to be 27-30 September 2011. The next meeting of the IFI AC/MC will be held at the WMO Headquarters in Geneva on the occasion of the 2nd Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held on 16-19 June 2009.