7th Annual Mekong Flood Forum (AMFF-7) FORUM STATEMENT
About 120 participants - including those from the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Member Countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam and their National Mekong Committees and line agencies, Dialogue Partners: China and Myanmar, regional and international scientists and experts, and representatives of international and national civil society organizations - attended the 7th Annual Mekong Flood Forum, 13 and 14 May 2009, Bangkok, Thailand. The Forum was organised by the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre (MRC-RFMMC) in cooperation with the Thai National Mekong Committee. The theme was 'Integrated flood risk management in the Mekong River Basin'. The participants were involved in two days of interesting presentations, discussions and exchanges of information on the theme and topics of the Forum. Based on this the following statements were produced and supported by the participants at the concluding session of the Forum.
- The theme 'Integrated flood risk management in the Mekong River Basin' is very relevant in the present day situation of the MRC Member Countries and Dialogue Partners. It is understood that only integrated and coordinated approaches can result in effective and sustainable flood risk management and mitigation.
- Under the main theme there were presentations of the MRC Member Countries and the Dialogue Partners. The 2008 flooding in parts of Lao PDR and North Thailand, which was a natural event resulting from the tropical storm Kammuri, has brought about US$ 135 million of damage. It was also a test for the practical application of the new Mekong flood forecasting systems. In general the forecasts have been quite accurate - within 0.10 m for up to two day forecasts - however; especially the dissemination of the forecasts needs to be improved, in order to get the messages well understood at the right place in the right time. Flash floods have caused substantial damage in the region as well. In order to contribute to reduction of their impacts the implementation of the flash flood guidance system as it is now under development is urgently required. The MRC member countries are grateful to China for the provision of daily hydrological data during the flood season, which enhances MRCs capacity to provide more accurate flood forecasts.
- In addition there were presentations on the five Components of the Flood Management and Mitigation Programme (FMMP) and on four Topics: (i) optimal packages for flood management; (ii) recent developments in flood forecasting and early warning; (ii) effective approaches towards trans-boundary flood management; (iv) successful flood risk management approaches. The papers give a good overview of the on-going activities in the Mekong River Basin and of achievements and plans with respect to integrated approaches to flood management.
- The participants expressed their strong wish to continue with their efforts to improve structural measures, flood proofing and the preparedness for floods by improved flood forecasting and early warning, as well as to increase their cooperation based on the overarching objective to reduce flood risk and flood damage in the Mekong River Basin.
- Land use zoning related to flood risk management may be a very effective contribution to the reduction of flood risk and mitigation. The approach for the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, where the focus will be on full protection of shallow areas, partly control of the main flooded area up to early August; no protection for the deep flooded areas and related land use development may serve as an interesting example.
- Due to population growth, urbanisation and industrial development, and the possible impacts of climate change, the risk and damage of flooding in the Mekong River Basin may rapidly increase. This makes especially the poor population more vulnerable for flooding. Based on the various objectives of the Forums, like presentation of the progress made by the MRC Member Countries and the MRC-RFMMC, the interactions with new developments in the region and at global scale and last but not least the networking function there was a common understanding that it would be important to continue with the Forum on an annual basis, if and when required with gradual modifications to the programme, based on new developments and needs. As theme is provisionally proposed:
Integrated approaches to flood risk management and mitigation in Mekong River Basin
- The present phase of the Flood Management and Mitigation Programme (FMMP) will be completed by the end of 2010. Recently there has been a Review Mission with representatives of the MRC member countries and the Mekong River Commission Secretariat. Based on the report the Netherlands Embassy has expressed its satisfaction with the progress made so far. However, they would like to discuss the report, conclusions and recommendations during the next FMMP Steering Committee meeting. This in order to provide stronger focus and awareness on the most useful products. Thereafter a formulation process is envisaged of a follow-up phase in which the member countries will be thoroughly involved, as well as the MRCS/FMMP, the Netherlands Embassy and other development partners. This phase would have to be aimed at securing the sustainability of the core functions of the MRC-RFMMC by the end of the next Strategic Plan (2011-2015).
- The participants like to thank the donors, the Netherlands, USA, Germany and the Asian Development Bank for their support of this 7th Annual Mekong Flood Forum, the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre for organising AMFF-7 and the Thai National Mekong Committee for hosting this important event. The participants support continuation of the Annual Mekong Flood Forums.
Thursday 14 May 2009