Robert Wasson organises a workshop in India on floods along with INSA

Robert Wasson, Senior Research Fellow, IWP organised a workshop in India on floods titled, “Knowledge for Flood Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in India,” held at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, India during February 10-12, 2017. INSA sponsored the meeting, including a substantial fraction of the total cost.

During the past decade, India has witnessed major floods resulting in substantive losses to the economy and loss of life. The 2016 Indian Disaster Management Plan follows the internationally agreed upon Sendai Framework-2015 for Disaster Risk Reduction. By the year 2030, the Plan aims for a substantial reduction of disaster risk, better protection of lives and livelihoods, and public health in all sectors of Indian society.

While the Plan notes the importance of knowledge, consistent with the Sendai Framework, it provides little detail of what is required to implement this knowledge. The intention of this workshop was to provide input to the operationalisation of the Plan, with a focus on knowledge requirements for flood disasters.

The workshop deliberated on the key issues in flood risk reduction: These included hydrology, river changes, histories of floods, the relations between floods and the monsoon and future climate, human vulnerability and resilience, data fidelity, archiving, accessibility, and data mining. The discussion also addressed integrated flood mitigation, including estimation of future human and infrastructure vulnerability, current governance structures, integration of continuous learning in the policy cycle, aspects of institutional memory, and land use regulation and zoning. Ways to achieve an integrated and synergistic understanding of these issues were also considered.

The discussion aimed to produce an integration framework that can inform the discourse for reduction of flood disaster risk reduction governance for all strata of society: the national government, local communities, and individuals. Such a structure will enable stakeholders to create disaster management plans based on an understanding of the entire system. When implemented, it is expected that risk will be reduced and resilience maximised.

A White Paper is being prepared for publication by INSA and wide distribution to government agencies, NGOs and academic institutions.