Successful STAR-FLOOD conference in Brussels

Around 150 flood risk management professionals from all over Europe visited the STAR-FLOOD conference. They listened to presentations of researchers, practitioners and policymakers and discussed the future of flood risk management. After two days, the conclusion was that there is a common drive to make Europe more flood resilient!

During the opening session, professor Kundzewicz presented about the current and future flood risks in Europe. Aziza Akhmouch continued with a presentation on the application of the water governance principles to flood risk management. Finally, professor van Rijswick gave an overview of the STAR-FLOOD research project and its results.

During the next series of sessions, many aspects of flood risk management got attention. Presentations from cities like Wroclaw, Geraardsbergen, Dordrecht and Nice showed that flood risks can be managed by local authorities. Yet, local authorities need the right framework to do their work. This framework was discussed during sessions on topics like international cooperation, public participation, liability & compensation and coordination between different levels of governance.

The closing session included an interesting discussion between panellists and audience. Everybody agreed that a more diverse set of flood risk management strategies is needed to become more resilient, but the optimal combination of strategies differs per location. There was no agreement on the responsibilities of citizens, private parties and insurance companies: some said that they should get more responsibilities, others disagreed. Most discussion was on including a basic and common level of flood protection in the Floods Directive. Some argued that a common level of flood protection could be a trigger to improve flood risk management, others argued that local circumstances would make it impossible to define and implement such a common level of flood protection.

Two days of STAR-FLOOD conference gave inspiration for a more resilient flood risk management in Europe. A network of professionals has been created, there is a better understanding of each other and this is a good basis for future interaction. All together, we can say that the STAR-FLOOD conference has been a success!

The presentations given at the STAR-FLOOD conference can be found here. The conference proceedings will be published at this website around the 21st of March.