Applying the OECD Principles on Water Governance to Floods

A Checklist for Action

image of Applying the OECD Principles on Water Governance to Floods

This report uses the OECD Principles on Water Governance as a tool for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and practical assessment of the performance of flood governance systems. It applies the Principles to flood-prone contexts to help strengthen governance frameworks for managing the risks of “too much” water. By 2050, 1.6 billion people will be at risk of flooding, affecting nearly 20% of the world’s population at an increasing rate and many times over with dire social, economic and environmental consequences. In this report, a checklist is proposed as a self-assessment tool for stakeholders in flood management, based on lessons learned from 27 case studies that feature practical experiences and highlight common features and key challenges in flood governance.




Flooding is the most common of all natural disasters, and there is growing consensus that the frequency and number of people at risk from floods will increase. Global megatrends, including climate change, population growth and urbanisation profoundly exacerbate the frequency, intensity and impact of flooding. The OECD estimates that the number of people at risk will increase from 1.2 to 1.6 billion people between now and 2050. This will represent around 20% of the world population. In 2016, 23.5 million people were displaced because of weather-related disasters, of which the majority were associated with floods or storms. In between 1998 and 2017, floods accounted for close to one-quarter of global economic losses due to natural disasters.


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