22-24 June 2021, Virtual Conference

4th European Conference on Flood Risk Management

Science and practice for an uncertain future

Special Session: International river management in the 21st century: challenges and cooperation?

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The special session ‘International river management in the 21st century: challenges and cooperation?’ will take place virtually on Tuesday 22 June 2021 from 16:00 to 17:30.

The session will be lead by Adrian Schmid-Breton and Jan Kruijshoop, International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)

What are the water management challenges facing (international) basins and what can they do to meet them? What can (international) river basins do to prepare and adapt to future changes?

Organised and moderated by the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine, the oldest international environmental river commission in the world, and accompanied by other river basin organisations from all over Europe this session address the issue of preparing (international) river basins for the effects of socio-economic and climatic changes, with consequences on discharge (floods, low water & droughts), the use of the water and water availability. To answer these challenges a strong cooperation within river basins is fundamental. Collaboration between river basins themselves could be also highly beneficial. The session goes beyond solely managing flood risks.

Leading question

“How can international river basin managers prepare for the future -in an integrated way-, in respect of mitigating or adapting the effects of socio-economic and climatic changes, with consequences on discharge (floods, low water & droughts), the use of the water and water availability?”

Sub-issues and particular questions addressed to the participants

  1. What aspects of basin/water resource management will be impacted by socio-economic and climate change? How will this affect governance and management practices? Are there potential conflicts in sight? How can they be prevented or resolved? What is the added value of international river cooperation to answer these challenges?
  2. How are international river basin organizations preparing themselves for these trends (good practice, projects, programs, …)? How are scenarios set up? Are there any examples of approaches combining/integrating the topics of flood, low water and drought?
  3. When it comes to water scarcity/drought/low water, which impacts and potential issues need to be addressed? How can they be valued and thus prioritized? Which challenges does this pose from a stakeholder and governance point of view?
  4. Is there interest in continuing the exchange or cooperation between participants (river management actors in a broad sense, basin organisations and international institutions) after FLOODrisk? For example, would you be interested in meeting (virtually) informally in the near future to continue our exchanges and to discuss the news and challenges of the basins/regions concerned? Should we start a joint program initiative, e.g. based on EU (Horizon2020, Green Deal, et cetera) or national initiatives?


  • For everyone to exchange and get mutual answers, information, experiences on the lead and sub-issues questions as well as confront ideas with others. By this means also get the right contacts for further exchanges.
  • Input to the ICPR for the implementation of the Rhine 2040 programme.
  • In the end, explore possibilities for future cooperation between the participants. The discussion could show that we would like to do something in common in the future (further exchanges, EU programmes, joint initiative etc.).

The programme will include:

90 minutes, web hosted meeting

  • Introduction of the ICPR’s RHINE 2040 program and implementation pathways (20 minutes) (ICPR representative)
  •  Round table and Q/A with representatives of (international) rivers in Europe and international organisations on the "leading question", the "sub-issues" (see above) and eventually questions from the public sent prior or in the session (40 minutes)
  • Additional questions and discussions from/with the public/participants (20 minutes)
  • Conclusion by ICPR on common approaches, differences, lessons learnt for future tasks as well as cooperation/exchange possibilities (eventually, planning a follow-up of FLOODrisk)   (10 minutes)

Please use the 'add to Schedule' button on the Special Session Programme, to register your interest in participating in this special session.

For more information visit the Special Session Hub and the webpage https://hub.floodrisk2020.net/theme/specials/rhine2040/.

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Co-ordinated by:        
Sponsored by:
The conference in numbers:

150 papers

500 delegates

30 countries