Flood and drought management programmes mark milestones

Source(s): World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Key WMO programmes to improve integrated flood and drought management are marking milestone anniversaries – at a time when devastating droughts and floods in different parts of the world have underlined the need for coordinated action against these major hazards.

The Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), was founded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in 2001. During the last 20th year of its existence, APFM supported government agencies, international organizations, private companies and academia with scientific guidance, tools and pilot projects on Integrated flood management, an holistic approach to monitor, forecast and manage floods to minimize loss of life and livelihoods. 

Integrated Flood Management minimizes the risk of damage to land and property, but also maximizes the benefits derived from the use of flood plains, such as groundwater recharge and soil fertilization, by providing integrated solutions for societies and ecosystems.

Hwirin Kim, head of WMO hydrology and water resources services division, said that the APFM Business model has been used to inform the Volta Basin flood and drought management project and Community-Based Flood management activities. This approach – which emphasizes the need for end-to-end early warnings, with active youth engagement and gender mainstreaming – is widely implemented in  other WMO’s projects. 

APFM commemorated its 20th anniversary on 26 August at its annual support base partners (SBPs) forum, discussing programme implementation and development,taking into account scientific and technical advances in flood-related issues.

At the meeting, the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) was also recognized for almost 10 years of work. In 2013, WMO and GWP launched the IDMP to address drought issues more effectively. IDMP provides advice and guidelines to communities, countries and regions affected by drought through the Integrated Drought Management HelpDesk. Integrated Drought Management mitigates drought risk and builds drought resilience by addressing multiple components of drought management, including disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation strategies and national water policies.

The WMO/Global Water Partnership (GWP) Associated Programme on Flood Management and Integrated Drought Management Programme successfully organized an online session on ‘ Closing the Last Mile: People-centric Flood & Drought Early-Warning-Systems’ during the on-going Stockholm World Week 2022. The interactive session brought together practitioners, and researchers to present and discuss existing issues and new approaches that put people in the center of the warning services for hydro-meteorological events especially through case studies of Germany Flood 2021, Drought in Central Asia, and youth-led early warning systems projects in Indonesia and Tanzania. 

All APFM and IDMP activities and experiences are linked to Early Warning, Early Action in support of the call by the United Nations Secretary-General for Early Warnings for All in the next five years.

During the Last World Meteorological Day 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced that WMO would “spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years.” The two programmes are part of this new action with a specific focus on engaging communities and other relevant stakeholders in the design and development of End-to-End Early Warning Systems for floods and drought. 

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