Marcel Bottema, 8 Nov 2016
Short report from FLOODrisk 2016 Conference
From 18-20 October the 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management took place in Lyon, together with some side events (FLOODrisk 2016, www.floodrisk2016.net ). Over 200 papers were presented covering a wide range of Flood Risk Management issues. The number of participants was over 500, covering research institutes as well as consultants, government and NGO’s, and covering not only many European Countries, but people outside Europe, notably the US. Some highlights of relevance to both the dam and levee world are given below. But first and foremost, it should be mentioned that FLOODrisk is as much a Community of Practice gathering as a conference.
FLOODrisk as an overarching Community of Practice
Although the FLOODrisk conference only takes place every four years, FLOODrisk can still be considered to be an event that facilitates communities of practice within Flood Risk Management (FRM). This is partly due to the history of the FLOODrisk conferences, linked to the EU-FLOODsite and FloodProBE projects and the International Levee Handbook. But it is equally linked to the special character of the Conference, which is not just a set of lectures, but also includes some side events and planned as well as spontaneous workshops. In fact FLOODrisk serves not only to support individual Communities of Practice, but acts rather like an overarching FRM-community gathering, connecting various topic-specific Communities as well as different types of actors.
Workshops and side events
The FLOODrisk conference included a range of special sessions in workshop format. These sessions covered topics like the EU Floods Directive Implementation, Governance of FRM Programs, Natural and Nature-based FRM-solutions, Levee breach and failure mechanisms, Risk model validation and Communities of practice. More details can be found www.floodrisk2016.net and at https://lfd-eurcold.irstea.fr/index.php/floodrisk-2016-as-an-interactive-conference-workshops/
The side events included:
- A meeting of our EURCOLD Working group on Levees and Flood Defences, see https://lfd-eurcold.irstea.fr
- The French PREVIRISQ events on integrated French FRM projects, see http://floodrisk2016.net/programme/special-sessions/previrisq-selected-french-projects-in-frm/
- Side event on emergency management, co-hosted by FLOODrisk 2016, DG HOME.B4 from the European Commission, and the Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) represented by JRC.
Besides this, informal meetings besides the official program took place, for example a meeting of the levee breaching community.
Plenary and parallel conference sessions – on a wide range of topics
The term ‘parallel conference sessions’ may not seem inspiring. Yet it contains as many as 6 overarching topics and 24 sub-topics, each covering a set of interesting papers.
The overarching topics were Flood Hazard, Consequences, Flood Risk characterization, Risk reduction, Flood Event Management and Decision making. All these topics are not only relevant to the FRM-community in general, but also to the levees and dams communities. We intend to explore the added value to the latter communities in a symposium paper for the 2017 ICOLD Annual Meeting in Prague. A brief preliminary summary can be found at https://lfd-eurcold.irstea.fr/index.php/floodrisk-2016-conference-sessions-and-papers/
Planning for future (FLOOD)risk – Next time better?
The final plenary session included a future outlook, where increasing risk and vulnerability are likely, as well as uncertainties and financing issues. Yet the ambition for a future overarching FRM Community of Practice may help in coping with these issues together; moreover the European Commission begins to recognize the importance of Communities and Science-Policy-Interfaces, especially on Secure-Safe-Resilient Societies.
All in all the conference was highly successful. There is only one aspect about FLOODrisk that might be disappointing: those who feel inspired to soon attend the next FLOODrisk conference, will have to wait another four years. The good message is that FLOODrisk 2020 is planned to take place in Budapest: a lovely city in a country with an interesting history on floods and Flood Risk Management.