Unesco Green Citizens

Flood risk management: a crucial issue for the years to come

28 February 2023

During a speech delivered in Tokyo, Japan on the 18th February, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, raised warnings about increased flood risks in the years to come. Bringing together specialists and scientists from across the world around the theme of integrated management of the post-Covid water cycle, the event aimed to highlight the need for international collective action centered around innovation and resilience. This event aligns with the United Nations’ desire to meet the established Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG6, which aims to guarantee access to clean water for all and sustainable management of water resources, ahead of the United Nations Water Decade Conference from 22th -24th March in New York. Read more about the speech

The impacts of flood risks on ecosystems: key figures

Climate change is accelerating flood risks by increasing the frequency of extreme rainfall events. If global warming exceeds 2°C in the years to come, 177 million people on average could be exposed to flooding by 2050, according to the latest IPCC prediction. According to this scenario, the number of global areas affected by sea level rise would increase by 15%. The world’s natural heritage would thus become strongly threatened by these conditions.

On a human level, the implications are profound. In 2021, the victims affected by natural disasters amounted to 10% worldwide and floods were the main cause ahead of disasters such as earthquakes and storms. According to the President of the UN General Assembly, today, nearly 2 billion people are threatened by the risk of flooding. In 2021, these risks represented a total cost of 82 billion dollars of damage worldwide, which is unequally covered across different regions due to unequal disaster response capacities and different means allocated.

Affected by the risk of flooding and climate variations, citizens have created innovative projects around the world to ensure the preservation of wetlands, essential for local communities and biodiversity.

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