High-level Symposium on Integrated Water Cycle Management in the Post-COVID-19 Era
A high-level symposium, “Integrated Water Cycle Management in the Post-COVID-19 Era,” was held on February 18, 2023 to commemorate the 9th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM9).
The International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM), staged every three years, provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders working on flood issues worldwide to engage in exchanges with their peers. The ninth session (ICFM9) took place in February 2023 in Tsukuba, Japan. The objective of the symposium was to bring stakeholders, notably leaders from politics, government, academia and CSOs, to discuss issues, share experiences and knowledge, and reaffirm commitment to action. Approximately 250 people from 40 countries and regions attended. HM the Emperor of Japan graced the first morning session of the symposium with his presence, listening intently and showing high interest with the lectures.
The morning session opened with greetings from Dr. Han Seung-soo, chair of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disaster (HELP) and former prime minister of the Republic of Korea; United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Li Junhua; and GRIPS President Hiroko Ota. The session continued with lectures on water and disaster by President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi; and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Prof. Petteri Taalas.
An opening remark by Dr. Han Seung-soo, chair of HELP
H.E. Ambassador Kőrösi warned that some 1.8 billion people on the planet are threatened by flood risks, and this is a challenge that we can master with ingenuity and determination, calling for science-based solutions and solidarity. He also said that when we crafted the SDGs 10 years ago, we were aware about climate change, but the full magnitude of its impacts through droughts and floods was not yet prominent enough to allow for factoring explicit flood and drought related indicators into SDG6.
A keynote speech by H.E. Ambassador Kőrösi
Prof. Taalas discussed global trends in climate change and introduced the UN Action Plan, "Early Warning for All," led by the WMO and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), announced at COP27 last year. The plan aims to achieve the goal of worldwide introduction of early warning systems within the next five years, but he stressed the need for further effort, noting that only about half of the countries in Africa and few in some other regions have such systems in place. Prof. Taalas’ presentation was followed by the presentations on a recount of the history of water management in Argentina by Mr. Pablo Bereciartua, Chair of Global Water Partnership / President of the Argentinean Engineering Centre (Centro Argentino de Ingenieros – CAI) and in Indonesia by Dr. Ir. Arie Setiadi Moerwanto, MSc., Senior Advisor for the Minister in Water Resources Management, Ministry of Public Works and Housing of the Republic of Indonesia.
A keynote speech by Prof. Taalas
In the afternoon session, GRIPS Professor Kenzo Hiroki, HELP coordinator, moderated a high-level panel entitled, "Integrated Flood Management in the Post-Corona Era," with panelists including Director for SDGs of the Office of the 77th President of UN General Assembly Dr. Johannes Cullmann, and Executive Director of the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) Prof. Toshio Koike. During the panel discussion, each panelist gave a presentation responding to the theme questions,
・"What actions is your institution implementing in the areas of water, disaster and flood management in preparation for the UN 2023 Water Conference?";
・"What opportunities does the UN 2023 Water Conference create for the promotion of such actions?"; and
・"What actions are being implemented to strengthen linkages between the three areas of action: water, disaster risk management and climate change?"
A discussion ensued, with each panelist responding to the questions,
・"As stakeholders in water and disaster issues, what message should we present to the UN 2023 Water Conference?" and
・"As stakeholders in water and disaster issues, what commitments to action should we make at the 2023 UN Water Conference?"
A discussion at the high-level-panel
The outcomes of the symposium discussions will be compiled into a joint message from water cycle and flood control stakeholders, to be input for the process and subsequent activities leading up to the 2023 UN Water Conference.
Click here to view the symposium agenda.