International workshop shows huge improvements ánd work to do in Central and Eastern Europe

On 15th October 2015 STAR-FLOOD organised its fourth and final international workshop during the 2nd Disaster Risk Reduction Conference at the National Stadium in Warsaw. The workshop allowed for comparison of the STAR-FLOOD research results with knowledge, best practices and examples from other Central and Eastern European countries. These were represented by invited 5 invited guests speakers from Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The workshop was prepared and carried out by members of Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment. It was the last workshop in a series of international workshops aimed at developing an international network and exploring how the lessons from STAR-FLOOD can be effectively applied and which regional nuances are relevant for this.

The workshop was divided into two sessions. The first was dedicated to an introduction of the STAR-FLOOD Project, its objectives, participants, conducted research and results. It included the Polish perspective on flood risk management and similarities and differences between Poland and other project countries. Discussions focused on the strong improvement of Polish the flood risk management system in recent decades and on uncertainty of predictions of floods and its consequences for policymakers.

The second part of the workshop was devoted to a panel discussion, during which the guests from Central and Eastern Europe’s countries presented how flood risk are reduced in their countries. The panel discussion included (among others) the following topics:

  • Institutions engaged in flood risk reduction and management in various countries:
    • Efficiency of the present system.
    • Experiences from different countries.
    • The Polish system and the need for its transformation.
  • Flood defences (dikes and embankments) are a dominating strategy in flood risk management in Poland, and in many other countries.
    • The role of other strategies, such as prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and recovery.
    • Possibility of combination of nature conservation and flood management.

The most important issues that came out of the workshop were:

  • Uncertainty of data and prognosis.
  • Big floods and EU regulations as driving factors, changing the attitude to flood risk management.
  • A great importance not only of natural retention, but also in cities.
  • Implementation of water taxes.
  • Mobile barriers systems should be better connected with flood warning systems.
  • Lack of long term perspective in CEE countries

The workshop participants agreed that flood risk management systems in Central and Eastern Europe have improved hugely in recent times and at the same time there are still vast improvements to be made.