Alumni Seminar 2019: Resilient Flood Risk Management

This is a joint seminar by TH Köln and TU Kaiserslautern, funded by DAAD.
Venue of seminar: TH Köln, Cologne, Germany / Date: 5 days seminar (October 2019), including excursion to Emscher river as a case study and adjoining web workshops. More than 20 Participants from 14 countries (see map).

Content: Matters of weather-related disasters, their resilient management and governance are in the focus of disaster risk research and policy framing. Recent floods in many parts of the world, like the 2016 Indian floods or the 2002/2013 European floods vividly revealing social vulnerability in an unexpected manner, have underlined the importance of large-scale resilience measures. A resilient flood risk management is necessary for the achievement and sustainability of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) tackling some of the root causes of locally and globally driven vulnerabilities concerning extreme events and underlining national and local risk assessments and maps as well as indicators and system resilience and vulnerability as major foci. Floods are one area where more in-depth integrative and context-sensitive research on appropriate management schemes and assessment techniques is needed to prepare and implement resilient and sustainable strategies and countermeasures.

Especially in context of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), these strategies and countermeasures are needed to prepare for and cope with weather-related disasters and thus increase long-term social resilience from a development perspective. It is also time to review concepts and methods of development research such as resilience and vulnerability. The 2019 DAAD Alumni Seminar aims to serve as an opportunity to develop and enhance strategies and methodologies of resilient flood risk management and thus to strengthen society’s preparedness and adaptive capacities regarding weather-related disasters.

This seminar gathered Alumni from flood risk affected development countries who all have scientific and/or practical background in the field of flood risk assessment and management, including technical oriented data analysis as well as societal preparedness and adaption approaches and invites them to discuss and enhance concepts and methods of resilient flood risk management. The 2019 DAAD Alumni Seminar and the related online phase is targeted at Alumni working on the topics of disaster recovery, rehabilitation, resilience and their effective and sustainable implementation in a development context. The main envisioned project outcomes are as follows:

  • Exchange and enhance conceptual and methodological knowledge of crucial concepts of development research and practice like vulnerability and resilience: What can be learned for resilience and vulnerability method and concept development in context of flood risk and the transfer to other natural disaster cases?
  • Exchange lessons learned on best (and worst) case examples of flood risk management in a development context: Which were the main constraints and external factors influencing the performance of past management approaches?
  • Exchange and enhance knowledge on data collection, analysis and modelling: How to effectively collect and analyse data for improved flood risk management?
  • Increase transferability and applicability of research outcomes:How to transfer existing knowledge on flood risk resilience to other application contexts?
  • Initiate a new phase of flood risk policy and research that acknowledges the importance of scale, scales and context and enhances long-term social preparedness and coping capacities in context of development cooperation

In our DAAD Alumni Seminar Oct14-18 in Cologne, we jointly identified common themes and challenges in Flood Risk Management related to resilience. Despite the diversity of more than 14 countries in four continents and the different transdisciplinary backgrounds, an amazing number of shared current and on-going challenges and opportunities have been identified, that are relevant for those working on the policy-research-practice nexus:

a. Buffer zonation – Governance and social groups
b. Case / city comparisons
c. Community resilience / social vulnerability
d. Evacuation and behaviour/experience
e. Inclusion / participation
f. Integration of urban planning and DRM/FRM
g. Evacuation / Warning
h. Environmental and DRM issues
i. Interchanging hazards – droughts and floods, etc.
j. Measures benefitial for multiple hazards or daily usages (rainwater harvesting)
k. Megaprojects
l. Mountain regions
m. Rain water and flood/storm water harvesting
n. River training and long term monitoring
o. Transboundary co-operation
p. Translation of scientific knowledge into evaluation
q. Urban growth
r. Waste management and drainage
The following slide shows the different contributions in terms of skills but also research interests the participants identified during the seminar. Several papers will be prepared according to different audiences to be addressed; policy briefs, opinion, review and case study research articles.
See more information on our website
Please find here the seminar’s official protocol summarizing the key discussed aspects: DAAD Alumni Seminar 2019_Resilient Flood Risk Management_Protocol
Please find here an explanation video which argues that flood risk management only works if the following aspects are integrated: Technical Protection + Sustainability + Societal Transformation.