Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

  • Home
  • Zoom Interactive Programme
Cliquer pour fermer

Thursday 9 July - 16:30-18:00 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM VIII

3337 -Facing floods and climate challenges: designing governance arrangements and unlocking financing on the pathway to resilient cities

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): J. Jadot (Centre Européen de Prévention du Risque Inondation, ORLEANS, France)

Convener(s): M. Van Mansfeld (Climate KIC , Utrecht, Netherlands)


Governance for resilient cities: insights from the STAR-FLOOD project

C. Larrue (Institut d'Urbanisme de Paris - Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, Marne la Vallée, France), A. Crabbé (University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)

Abstract details
Governance for resilient cities: insights from the STAR-FLOOD project

C. Larrue (1) ; A. Crabbé (2)
(1) Institut d'Urbanisme de Paris - Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, Val de marne, Marne la Vallée, France; (2) University of Antwerp, Faculty of political and social sciences, Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract content

Between 2000 and 2010, Europe has suffered more than 175 major floods, causing deaths, large economic losses and displacement of people. In the decades to come, climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of flood events. As urbanization in flood-prone areas still continues, the flood issue becomes one of the big challenges for cities in the future. Within this context, it appears that flood risk management is not only about controlling the rivers with protection systems anymore. Since the 1990s, most European countries are developing a multitude of strategies against floods.

Within the STAR-FLOOD project (www.starflood.eu), five Flood Risk Strategies are identified: risk prevention, flood defence, flood mitigation, flood preparation and flood recovery. The project investigates these strategies in six European countries (England, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Poland and Sweden). Its overall objective is to assess the institutional embedding of these strategies at the national and local scales from a combined public administration and legal perspective. The project aims to contribute to the identification of suitable experiences of Flood Risk Governance in Europe at the scale of urban regions. National country profiles have already been produced and local cases are researched.

In our presentation, we will discuss stability and change in flood risk management in Europe, we will share our (French and Belgian) experiences with designing and implementing governance arrangements for flood risk management and we will highlight the main challenges and opportunities ahead.


The Resilience Pathway 2.0; a new way of city and area development with promising climate impact

E. Schellekens (ARCADIS and Climate KIC, Amersfoort, Netherlands)

Abstract details
The Resilience Pathway 2.0; a new way of city and area development with promising climate impact

E. Schellekens (1)
(1) ARCADIS and Climate KIC, Water and Environment, Amersfoort, Netherlands

Abstract content

There is an urgent need for climate adaptation to avoid huge socio-economic losses (growing from today’s $6bn to $60bn p.a. by 2050 in the 136 largest coastal cities alone). However, non-availability of money and gaps in capabilities are huge barriers. A flow of private money, either besides or apart from public money, needs to be unlocked if adaptation is to happen quickly enough. Research (ABL / Ricardo AEA, 2013, Defra, 2013) shows that many cities (around 80% in Europe) have low or very low capacity and therefore cannot specify required resilience measures.

To unlock money flows and to raise capacity of stakeholders, ARCADIS and TPL have developed and successfully tested a new and unique high level business model, the ‘Resilience Pathway 2.0’, with European cities and have reached out to potential financial partners, with encouraging results.

Existing high level engineering skills and products and services have been brought together in partnership with leading deal-structuring experts and financial organisations to help riverine and coastal cities to access private and public money for climate adaptation.

Resilience is most needed for long-lasting decisions with outcomes that last 10+ years (e.g. water and other infrastructure), which need to be viable in unpredictable and fast changing future climate and energy scenarios, where the status quo is usually the least likely scenario. These decisions are difficult and / or expensive to reverse (in money and energy terms). This is where identifying ‘moments of change’ and defining ‘investment opportunities’ seem the way to go, while creating a ‘marriage’ between technical, financial and social engineering. The main phases of the Resilience Pathway 2.0 that will be explained with real cases during the speech are as follows;

Phase 1: Scoping. The output of this first phase is a clear briefing document clarifying the challenges to be addressed, also to identify potential opportunities (‘moments of change’) to address them.  Phase 2: Optioneering[1]. The purpose of the Optioneering phase is to identify one or several promising, fundable and feasible business cases around a development (or a combination of developments). These will provide alternative routes to meeting climate and other objectives of projects that will be attractive to private and other investors. This is a unique and crucial phase, where bringing high-level engineering and financial thinking together is essential in unlocking finance for resilience.

Phase 3: Deal Structuring. The purpose of the third phase, the Deal structuring phase, is to transform the selected intervention opportunity – as identified in the Optioneering phase – into a contract with detailed specifications and financial and legal arrangements (e.g. permitting’) to deliver the project objectives: resilient projects with an acceptable (typically low) risk-return profile.


Phase 4: Project implementation

The aim of the project implementation phase is to get the projects or developments realised and well managed. This phase is a missing link in many strategies.

[1] ‘Optioneering’ is a term used by financial intermediaries to identify potential ways of approaching a major deal.


To be able to implement this Resilience Pathway2.0 mid or high level capacity is needed at the relevant stakeholders. The methodology both to assess and to improve the capabilities needed has been tested en proven.

And last but not least, the Resilience Pathway 2.0 generates high climate impact but also creates promising business opportunities to make it economically sustainable as well.


(Keynote speech)


Addressing flood risks at urban scale, the case of Geraardsbergen (Belgium)

L. Van De Casteele (City Geraardsbergen, Geraardsbergen, Belgium), H. Mees (University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)

Abstract details
Addressing flood risks at urban scale, the case of Geraardsbergen (Belgium)

L. Van De Casteele (1) ; H. Mees (2)
(1) City Geraardsbergen, Geraardsbergen, Belgium; (2) University of Antwerp, Sociology, Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract content

With its location next to the Dender river, the city of Geraardsbergen (32.950 inhabitants) is highly susceptible to flooding. The Dender is a typical spate river; whereas its water discharge is normally low, it can rapidly grow in volume during wet periods. Consequently, the surrounding land along the river traditionally functioned as a large floodplain. With the development of the Regional Spatial Plan in 1978, a significant amount of this floodplain was marked as building zone. As a result, a rapid urbanization of the Dender region took place in the following decades. The consequences of this development became clear in the 1990s. Damage was caused by flooding in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2010. Whereas the damage of the previous floods was restricted to a small number of properties, the flood of 2010 had a wide-scale impact; 398 houses were flooded with a damage cost of about 5 million euro (Assuralia 2011).


After the 2010 flood, the City of Geraardsbergen has committed itself to a new approach, which aligns with the 3P’s prescribed by the Flood Directive (2007/60/EC). A coordinator for integrated water management was appointed, who has the task to keep an overview on the actions carried out by the different departments of the City Administration and to be a medium between the several water managers involved in the basin. The City strictly applies the water assessment tool provided by the Flemish government in the deliverance of permits and has invested in measures to enhance preparedness, e.g. the mobile dams and SMS-warning service.


Improvements in flood risk management are however hampered by a number of factors contributing to inertia. Firstly, the existing legislation on spatial planning limits the political and financial feasibility to avoid further development in flood-prone areas. Recently, however, a new legal instrument was developed which should facilitate municipalities to swap land destinations. Geraardsbergen is currently investigating this possibility.

Secondly, the flood safety of the Dender basin is dependent on the infrastructure on the river. By rectifying the river and building up its floodplains, flood damage is only to be prevented by an efficient drainage of the water discharge. This is currently hampered by the outdated sluice infrastructure, which needs to be replaced. Due to complex decision-making procedures, however, the renovation is consistently delayed.


In our presentation, we want to share experiences on integrated flood risk management at urban scale. We will give an overview of recent developments in the flood management of Geraardsbergen, address remaining bottlenecks and present some possible solutions to be discussed with the audience. The evaluation is based on the results of the STAR-FLOOD project, which analysed flood risk management in Geraardsbergen in comparison to two other cities and the national policy-making level. The research was conducted through juridical and policy analysis of relevant legislation, policy documents and interviews with stakeholders. The results of the research were discussed by the interviewed stakeholders on a workshop held in January 2015.



Assuralia (2011). Overstromingen 2010. Meest getroffen gemeenten. Retrieved at 12/09/2013 from



Flood risk management and intercommunal cooperation: Lessons learnt from of the experiences of Nevers (Middle Loire, France) and Le Havre (Seine Estuary, France) Agglomerations

M. Fournier (Ecole Supérieure des Géomètres et Topographes - CNAM, Le Mans, France), G. Mathilde (Université Francois-Rabelais Tours, TOURS Cedex 3, France)

Abstract details
Flood risk management and intercommunal cooperation: Lessons learnt from of the experiences of Nevers (Middle Loire, France) and Le Havre (Seine Estuary, France) Agglomerations

M. Fournier (1) ; G. Mathilde (2)
(1) Ecole Supérieure des Géomètres et Topographes - CNAM, Le Mans, France; (2) Université Francois-Rabelais Tours, Umr citeres cnrs 7324, TOURS Cedex 3, France

Abstract content

The coming decades are likely to see a higher flood risk in Europe, both on coastal areas and along rivers in the inner lands. In this context, the EU PF7 project STAR-FLOOD “Strenghtening and redesigning European flood risk practices: towards appropriate and resilient flood risk governance arrangements” assumes that urban areas will be more resilient if the existing Flood Risk Strategies (risk prevention, flood defence, flood mitigation, flood preparation, flood recovery) are implemented simultaneously and aligned. From this assumption, the STAR-FLOOD project questions, in various case studies from six European countries (Belgium, England, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden), the institutional embedding of those different strategies and flood risk governance at the local scale.

In France, responsibilities for those different Flood Risk Strategies are mainly divided between municipalities and the State administration. Municipalities have competences in the fields of flood defence, flood prevention and flood preparation. Such responsibilities are quite heavy and difficult to face for many of them.  As a consequence, intercommunal cooperation is becoming more and more frequent in this field. In previous researches, we demonstrated that the setting up of intercommunal structures has progressively allowed local authorities to better deal with environmental issues, leading to the production of new action areas and a rethinking of environmental problems (Larrue, Fournier, 2014; Amalric et al., 2011).

Our contribution will illustrate this evolution and highlight the role of intercommunal structures to better address the flood issue and facilitate alignment of the different Flood Risk Strategies locally. Our presentation is based the example of two French agglomerations: Nevers and Le Havre Agglomerations, which are both of them case studies in the STAR-FLOOD project. Both of them are already strongly involved in flood risk management and it is possible to draw lessons from their experience.

Nevers Agglomeration is a medium-size urban intercommunality, regrouping the commune of Nevers (about 36 000 inhabitants in 2011) and 11 other smaller municipalities (about 68 000 inhabitants in total).  It is located at the confluence between the Allier, Nièvre and Loire rivers. It faces slow floods from them and urban runoff. Safety on dikes is also a major issue, as most of them have been built several centuries ago.

Le Havre was about 174 155 inhabitants in 2011. Le Havre is a multi-risk city with an industrial background based on the activity of the harbour. Le Havre is also at the fringe of an agricultural and farming area, composed of intensive agricultural open fields. The main consequence for water management is the increase of soil erosion and land degradation. Above all, Le Havre is losing population since the 1980‘s. The risk of losing population is considered as an immediate danger by the local stakeholders. Floods are seen as less dangerous than a decrease of economical and urban growth.

In this contribution, we will describe how both Agglomerations are progressively taking the lead for flood management and facilitate coordination between Flood Risk Strategies.  

In the case of Nevers Agglomeration, intercommunal cooperation has enabled local authorities to take the lead in a comprehensive approach of the flood risk. In 2007, Nevers Agglomeration launched a major study of the flood risk addressing both hydraulic and vulnerability issues on its territory. This study has provided intercommunal authorities with inputs and resources to negotiate with the State administration on the flood issue. Intercommunal cooperation has also been a real asset to promote innovative strategies, align local protection and mitigation measures and better deal with flood preparation and management crisis locally.

In the case of Le Havre, the intercommunal structure provides a range of resources (human resources, technical skills, engineering response capacity and financial powers) to all the municipalities for risk management, based on a strong local expertise in the field of Industrial Risk Management since the 1970’s. The intercommunal structure gathers a joint coalition to negociate the scenario proposed by the State, not only to discuss the implementation but also to define the level of occurrence of flood.


Sharing the funding of Flood Risk Management: The impact of Partnership Funding on the River Thames Scheme, London

A. P. Micou (Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom), S. Priest, (Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom), M. Alexander (Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
Sharing the funding of Flood Risk Management: The impact of Partnership Funding on the River Thames Scheme, London

AP. Micou (1) ; S. Priest, (1) ; M. Alexander (1)
(1) Middlesex University, Flood hazard research centre, London, United Kingdom

Abstract content

Cities across Europe are suffering increasing flood risks due primarily to urbanization and climate change. As a response to this, a variety of rule changes are being developed to tackle this problem at a European, national and regional level. An assessment of the effects of national policy on the delivery of Flood Risk Management at a local level has been carried out as part of the EU project STAR-FLOOD (http://www.starflood.eu/). In England, the Coastal and Flood Erosion Resilience Partnership Funding  (‘Partnership Funding’  Defra 2011)  describes a new approach to funding which requires the costs of many flood risk management projects to be shared between national and local funding sources, such as via local governments, the private sector or civil society   The introduction of Partnership Funding was as a direct response to the need to unlock additional revenue streams and broaden risk sharing arrangements under scenarios of increasing risk.  However, a consequence of this policy change is also a further impact upon the governance arrangement at a project scale; including the arrangement of actors, their responsibilities, their relationships as well as the power they exert within a decision-making process.

Based on interviews conducted with representatives from the local and national government, this work assesses how the Partnership Funding is impacting on the implementation of one particular project: the River Thames Scheme (RTS), in Southeast England. The RTS involves the construction of three alleviation channels to control floods in the Lower Thames segment (situated West from London), as well as other measures, such as the installation of property level measures and the improvement of warning systems, protecting in total 15,000 properties. The project has been approved but it is still subject to identifying locally sourced funding. The study presents an analysis and evaluation of flood risk governance and highlights the limitations/barriers of involving local government (of which there are seven separate councils involved) in the development of large scale flood risk management schemes.  However, the study also highlights the advantages and opportunities which this new funding mechanism brings to the Flood Risk Management agenda, in particular the increased flexibility which has permitted the previously undelivered flood defence strategies in the Lower Thames. The evaluation considers the impact on efficiency and legitimacy of flood risk governance and on the current and long term societal resilience in the area of interest.


Coupling Mobile Sensing, Earth Observations and E-GNSS in a Novel Flood Emergency Service

C. Rossi (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Torino, Italy), S. Wolfgang (GeoVille Information Systems GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria), B. Conrad (EOXPLORE UG, Weil am Rhein, Germany), Z. Gunter (Terranea UG, Bürgstadt, Germany), C. Nina (NDConsult, London, United Kingdom), D. Poletto (UNESCO, Venice, Italy), S. Emiliano (ALPHA Consult, Milan, Italy), F. Dominici (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Torino, Italy)

Abstract details
Coupling Mobile Sensing, Earth Observations and E-GNSS in a Novel Flood Emergency Service

C. Rossi (1) ; S. Wolfgang (2) ; B. Conrad (3) ; Z. Gunter (4) ; C. Nina (5) ; D. Poletto (6) ; S. Emiliano (7) ; F. Dominici (8)
(1) Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Microsoft Innovation Center, Torino, Italy; (2) GeoVille Information Systems GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria; (3) EOXPLORE UG, Weil am Rhein, Germany; (4) Terranea UG, Bürgstadt, Germany; (5) NDConsult, London, United Kingdom; (6) UNESCO, Venice, Italy; (7) ALPHA Consult, Milan, Italy; (8) Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Mobile solutions, Torino, Italy

Abstract content

Periodic flood events devastating urban and suburban areas are an important issue for mankind. Flood events, especially in Europe, have, in recent years, caused significant human and economic losses, especially affecting densely populated areas. The consequences of floods are exacerbated by urban sprawl and climate change, especially in areas close to large streams and rivers. This situation can produce flash floods that are very difficult to predict and hard to manage with respect to citizen alerting, operational planning, and flood evolution prediction. According to recent reports, between 1980 and 2008 there were around 2800 floods worldwide, with almost 280k people killed and resulting in approximately 400 billion dollars of economic damages.

These facts point to the need to improve the timeliness and intelligence of flood emergency systems to help public administrations to better manage flood related emergencies. Indeed, advanced monitoring and forecasting services are becoming mandatory to better address and mitigate crisis situations arising before, during and after heavy flood events.

Today, most advanced flood emergency management systems can rely on Earth Observations (EO) to acquire relevant imagery for processing, spatial analysis and dissemination via a range of technologies including geographic information systems. In terms of crisis management and monitoring of natural disasters, earth observation is one of the leading technologies, as it allows the capturing of important measurements of the hazard, both in near real-time as well as after the event. The Copernicus Emergency Management System provides mapping services for all actors involved in the management of natural disasters, with accurate geospatial information derived from EO and complemented with in situ or open data sources, whenever available. EO satellites support the collection of a wide range of measurements for different natural disasters including forest fires and floods, and they can also be used to produce detailed Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of the Earth. Overall, EO can provide current data of a specific area, allowing the creation of flood delineation maps with different time resolutions, depending on the geographical area and the satellites orbit. However, due to both the administrative operations required by the activation procedures and the need for satellites acquiring current images, some days can pass between the occurrence of a flood and its first mapping. This delay is not ideal during rapidly occurring emergency events such as flash floods, posing a significant limit in quickly providing reliable flood extent and forecast map. To overcome the aforementioned limitations we propose FLOODIS: a novel Copernicus downstream service that exploits existing space assets together with mobile sensing and state-of-the-art cloud systems in order to provide a faster, more flexible and scalable flood emergency response system, extending the capabilities of the current EMS. FLOODIS leverages the mobile sensing paradigm to improve the timeliness of accessing flood disaster related information by letting users report the flood status nearby through their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets). A Report includes a short description, a photo, and an indication of the water level in its location. We integrate these geolocated reports with EO-derived map information in order to provide a decision support system for public administrations, targeting enhanced flood information and early emergency alerts for citizens as well as for Civil Protection rescue teams. With mobile sensing, and EFAS (European Flood Awareness System) data when available, we also enhance flood extent map updates and predictions by implementing a novel flood forecast model. Furthermore, to increase the accuracy of user data, we improve mobile positioning by implementing a cloud-based service on top of the EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS), which provides differential corrections for GPS, thus achieving both position integrity – in the form of the so-called protection levels – as well as increased accuracy.

In short, FLOODIS aims at achieving the following goals: (i) to provide a flood alert and information service for emergency response teams and affected citizens by leveraging on existing space assets; (ii) to increase social awareness and citizen involvement in flood emergencies through the application of mobile sensing; (iii) to increase the accuracy and the timeliness of flood extent and forecast maps by integrating user reports; (iv) ultimately, to reduce the social impact of floods, both in terms of human as well as economic losses.


Panel discussion:

C. Larrue (Institut d'Urbanisme de Paris - Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, Marne la Vallée, France), L. Van De Casteele (City Geraardsbergen, Geraardsbergen, Belgium), M. Fournier (ESGT-CNAM, Le Mans, France), A.P. Micou (University of Middlese

Abstract details
Panel discussion:
Abstract content