The new framework explores the roles of different national agencies in flood and drought management and how they can collaborate to ensure a joined-up government effort. The session was complementary to a session organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that focuses on the physical interactions between flood and droughts and participants were encouraged to attend both sessions.
The session started off with a presentation of the EPIC Response by the World Bank and Deltares, co-authors of the supporting report. Next, representatives from two developing countries, Egypt and Eswatini, discussed the key policy and institutional challenges and practical lessons learned in their efforts to manage floods and drought in their countries.
About 150 participants joined from all around the world. Participants reflected on the institutional and policy constraints and innovations that they have experienced in their practice. After each presentation, presenters responded to key questions from the audience. Overall, the feedback was positive, with participants considering this approach innovative and useful while recognizing the challenges involved. Deltares and the World Bank hope that the EPIC Response framework helps practitioners to identify those common challenges and find guidance on innovative approaches to tackle them.
Some of the key take away messages from the session include the notion that although floods and drought are opposites in the hydro-climatic spectrum managing them together proves to result in improved overall performance. Dr. Eman, head of the Planning Section of the Egypt Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation shared the complexities of inter-agency collaboration for the preparation of an Egypt Water Resources Strategy that includes floods and drought. Now on their second iteration of the Water Resources Strategy, the nine participant ministries see the benefit of coordination to better deliver on their own mandates.
Also, the session showed the fundamental role of National Strategy Planning for Water Resources, Disaster Risk Management and Drought in setting to context for the combined management of floods and droughts. Mr. Dlamini, Chief Executive Officer for the Eswatini National Disaster Management Agency noted that National Planning provides fundamental framework for initiating and coordinating the actual actions for fight floods and droughts and spur inter-agency collaboration.
These National Plans are an iterative process that create room for incremental improvement of the overall risk management system. The EPIC Response provides a new approach and examples to both inspire and guide practitioners in their quest to reduce the toll of floods and drought and create a more livable and prosperous future.