5th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM5)
27-29 September 2011, Tokyo-Japan

                       Floods: From Risk to Opportunity 

ICFM5: Statement Annex 2

International Forum on Mega‐Water‐Disaster Outcome

The International Forum on Mega‐Water‐Disasters was organized in conjunction with ICFM5 in order to incorporate recent experiences and lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Sessions of high‐level experts and decision makers were convened and the discussions were reflected during the conference. The outcome and message of the Forum (Tokyo Statement) is as follow:

Tokyo Statement
‐ to be better prepared for Mega-Water-Disaster in future ‐
September 27th, 2011, Tokyo, Japan

Water is life. But, water is also a threat to life. When a mega-water-disaster strikes a country people suffer, and national development is severely hampered for years, making recovery even more challenging. Unfortunately, many areas of the world are struck by such disasters over and over. These disasters also know no borders, severe value chains and result in political social and economic shocks, severely affecting human development.  

Countries that are considered vulnerable to recurring disasters often also have to deal with highly variable and challenging water, natural resources, social and economic situations. The poor suffer the most from disasters as they tend to live under more vulnerable conditions with less protection and preparedness. Human rights are recurrently violated through vicious circle of their living in lowland slums and losing everything by water-disasters.  

Global changes including climate change, population growth and fast urbanization are drastically increasing risks of water-disaster. There are increasingly more people in crowded urban areas who will feel the impact of climate change through water. Green growth will not be materialized without squarely addressing mega-water-disasters.  

Having the above in mind, we share common understanding that water disaster should be urgently addressed by leaders at global, national and municipal levels. Towards this end, we recommend the following as priority actions for the international community which are inspired from Action Plan by HLEP/UNSGAB:  

·           International community, especially the UN, to conduct regular dialogue and promote actions in order to share experiences and lessons globally and develop effective counter measures to mitigate mega-water-disasters. 

·           Governments to build social, administrative, and technical systems to be “reduce disaster risk before disasters strike and be prepared for unexpected event” especially those to ensure “best mix” of structural and non-structural measures that optimally mitigate mega-water- disasters. 

·           Regional bodies, including UN Regional Commissions and regional development banks to establish mechanisms for regional cooperation to ensure concerted disaster response especially across river basins. 

Appropriate processes and mechanisms should be established to turn the recommended actions into reality. To implement the above we strongly support the recommendation by HLEP/UNSGAB that a plenary discussion session on water and disaster takes place at the next UN General Assembly.