East Asian Policy-makers Convene to Discuss Regional Flood Risk Management
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Jakarta, May 2, 2012 – Floods can have devastating impacts on urban dwellers in rapidly growing low- and middle-income countries in East Asia and the Pacific, particularly on the poor and vulnerable groups. Given the commonality of flood risks in the region, the World Bank – with the support of the Republic of Korea and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) – are organizing a two-day workshop on the issue, starting today in Jakarta. The workshop brings together representatives from seven East Asian countries to share knowledge on how to build urban resilience against floods. The workshop will also discuss ways of implementing integrated flood risk management measures.
"Flood risk management and urban resilience requires innovations. Cities and local governments are uniquely placed to face challenges like flooding because they have the ability to design solutions that are adaptable to the needs of their local constituents and are consistent with local policy priorities," says the Governor of DKI Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo. "Flooding brings poverty, and it is the poor who we must prioritize first. Experience in Jakarta has taught me, community involvement is crucial to the successful implementation of a flood risk management system. We policy makers and urban development experts must have the ability to listen to the communities we are serving. Only then can success be achieved."
During the workshop, policy-makers, experts and development partners will show-case examples of good practice on flood risk management, and discuss key challenges and measures that cities in the region can adopt to better prepare and manage existing and future flood risks.
“The rapid growth of urban areas provides an opportunity to incorporate integrated flood risk management into regular urban planning and governance,” says Stefan Koeberle, World Bank Indonesia Country Director. “Integrated flood risk management can help make making urban growth a positive force for development.”
The workshop is part of an ongoing collaboration between the World Bank and Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency to strengthen cooperation, and facilitate international partnerships for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Bang Ki-Sung, the Deputy Administrator of the Korean National Emergency Management Agency, reiterates that the Sub-Regional Project is a "flagship program of both Korea and GFDRR, implemented at the regional level, which includes knowledge sharing, technology transfer, capacity development and peer-to-peer learning. We are also working on expanding of this unique project to other parts of the region.”
The workshop was attended by some 50 policy-makers at national and local levels from Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Korea, together with global experts from the field of urban flood risk management and disaster risk reduction, and representatives from donor and partner organizations.
Working closely with partners, the World Bank is committed to reducing risk and strengthening resilience of client countries. Responding to client-needs to build technical capacity, the workshop echoed key messages from the recently published World Bank report “Cities and Flooding: A Guide to Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management for the 21st Century”. Funded by the GFDRR and developed in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the primer offers concrete recommendations for cities facing the increasing challenge of flooding. Building on a series of launch events which started in Tokyo in February this year, the workshop is the first step toward on ground implementation of the Guide’s guiding principles.