The 6th International Conferences on Flood Management (ICFM6) marks the continued advancement of flood management practices and policies around the world. The name change from "Defence” as used in the previous four events to "Management" is reflective of the more integrative approaches to flood management that nations are increasingly employing. The first International Symposium on Flood Defence, held in Kassel, Germany in 2000, emphasized flood defence measures with each successive event (Beijing 2002, Nijmegen 2005, Toronto 2008 and Tsukuba 2011) evolving towards more integrative approaches, including risk, vulnerability and capacity building. The ICFM6 theme is "Floods in a changing Environment". ICFM is the only recurring international conference wholly focused on flood related issues. It is designed to bring together practitioners and researchers alike, including engineers, planners, health specialists, disaster managers, decision makers, and policy makers engaged in various aspects of flood management. It provides a unique opportunity for these various specialists to come together to exchange ideas and experiences.
On 16-18 September 2014, the 6th International Conferences on Flood Management (ICFM6) was held in São Paulo, Brazil with more than 230 participants gathered from 31 different nations throughout the world.
ICFM6 - Floods in a Changing Environment
Flooding in many countries around the world continues to cause loss of life and unprecedented damage to economy. Population growth, land use change, economic development and changing climatic conditions are all directly related to floods. The rising cost of flood disasters and the financial burden on the governments is recognizing flooding as the biggest public safety risk for many countries.
Actions to prevent or reduce the risk of flood damage should include actions to address both riverine and urban flooding. Riverine floods are the most common natural hazard experienced across the world.
In the 1960s and 1970s few countries experienced major damage from urban flooding.However, over the past few decades there has been an alarming increase in urban floodlosses. Indeed, water damage from sewers backing up into basements and other losses due to extreme rainfall in urban areas likely resulted in urban flood losses more thanten times greater than riverine flood damage.
Best practices to prevent and reduce the risk of loss from riverine flooding are wellknown, and have been tested around the world for several decades. Prohibition ofdevelopment in zones of flood risk, investments in structural flood defence and a varietyof other tools are available to eliminate or reduce the expected loss from riverineflooding. The foundation for riverine flood management involves a clear determinationof acceptable risk of flood damage.
Best practices for reducing the risk of urban flooding have emerged over the past 25 or 30 years and are distinct from actions to reduce the risk of loss from riverineflooding. The frequency and severity of urban flood damage is determined by factorsthat include rainfall patterns, local actions by property owners and the state of thelocal sewer infrastructure. Best practices to reduce the risk of urban flood damage include local level actions by individual owners and public investments in sewer systems.
The 6th International Conferences on Flood Management – ICFM6 – will provide an interdisciplinary forum for sharing experience on flood hazard assessment, vulnerability analyses, and flood risk management strategies. A large number of oral and poster presentations to be delivered in plenary and parallel sessions will review local flood problems in Brazil, activities of the international community through the implementation of the International Flood Initiative (IFI), problems of large cities, special requirements imposed by changing environment and climate and lessons learned from the recent flood events.
In the name of the ICFM Ad Hock Committee and the Local Organizing Committee I would like to welcome you all to Sao Paolo in September. We are looking forward to another exceptional Conference that may help us all contribute to more effective management of flood risk.
Slobodan P. Simonovic