Urban Resilience and Flood Risk Management

Urban Resilience Issues Concerning Improved Flood Risk Management

Expert Mission from 27 - 29 October 2015 in Santa Leopoldina, Brazil and from 25 - 27 November 2015 in Manaus, Brazil

In cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Connective Cities – the international community of practice for sustainable urban development – organised two expert dialogue meetings on Capacity Building and Capacity Development for Resilience. The two meetings, which were held from 27 to 29 October and 25 to 27 November 2015, involved three Brazilian cities (Curitiba, Manaus and Santa Leopoldina) and one German city (Cologne).

These meetings were a continuation of the 6th Dialogue Event held in Cologne (February 2015) and the workshop on Developing Flood Vulnerability and Risk Analysis for Local Flood Management Planning held in Curitiba (August 2015). Following those events, certain participants from the civil protection departments of Manaus, Curitiba and Santa Leopoldina, and the municipal wastewater utility in Cologne, had requested a further meeting for expert dialogue on urban resilience.

The two meetings involved intensive exchange and sharing of lessons learned through peer-to-peer consulting, specialised presentations and field trips. Topics jointly discussed included flood risk management, developing infrastructure projects for risk reduction, improving flood risk analysis, and early warning and alert systems. Participants focused on how to manage close cooperation between the involved city governments, civil defence departments and affected populations.

As was the case at the project workshop on planning local flood management held in Curitiba, participants once again strongly underlined the key importance of the availability of relevant data, social engagement, and the development and application of vulnerability and risk analyses.

Communication between local authorities and decision-makers was also identified as important for drawing attention to the effectiveness of vulnerability and risk analyses, and integrating these analyses into urban planning processes. In Santa Leopoldina so-called Community Centres of Civil Defence have been established that focus on raising awareness in schools. In this connection, participants attended the opening of the 3rd Urban Disaster Prevention Week in Santa Leopoldina, which emphasised the key role of school students and youngsters for communication between civil society and public institutions.

In Manaus participants visited the inclusive urban development programme (PROURBIS), one distinctive feature of which is the link between environmental and social interests. Public spaces in selected risk zones are being turned into linear parks and used by the local population as sports centres.

All the experts agreed that events of this kind, with small numbers of participants, will in the future continue to promote intensive discussions, high-quality consulting and efficient cooperation.