Newsletter XVII - Report on the 2019 Global Flood Partnership (GFP) Annual Meeting, in Guangzhou, China

The Global Flood Partnership (GFP) is a multi-disciplinary group of scientists, operational agencies and flood risk managers focused on developing efficient and effective global flood tools to improve operational global flood risk management. Its aim is to establish a partnership for global flood forecasting, monitoring and impact assessment to strengthen preparedness and response and to reduce global disaster losses. 

Each year the GFP Annual Meeting is organized jointly by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) - which prepares the scientific programme and handles registration of participants - and a local host, which provides the meeting venue and logistical arrangements. This year’s GFP Annual Meeting took place on 11-13 June 2019, in the city of Guangzhou, in the province of Guangdong in southern China, hosted by the School of Atmospheric Sciences of the Sun-Yat Sen University ( 

Despite being the first GFP Annual Meeting to be held outside Europe or North America, the 2019 Annual Meeting attracted wide interest, with over 100 registered participants from five continents. Organizations represented at the meeting included universities, research institutions, emergency managers including Brazil’s National Centre for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN) and Nepal’s International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), international organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), as well as private companies including Google, “Cloud to Street” (a remote-sensing platform that maps floods in near real time), Aon India (, African Risk Capacity (, among others.

 As with all GFP events, the 2019 GFP Annual Meeting proposed various types of activities and interactive sessions, including oral presentations, five-minute “ignite talks”, poster sessions, on-line demonstration of flood risk management tools, a user panel, and a visit to Guangdong province’s Emergency Management Agency. The meeting fostered scientific exchange on the latest developments regarding global flood risk management tools, as well as dialogue with users (i.e. emergency managers and policy-makers). 

Recent severe flooding, such as that caused by tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth in March and April 2019, which resulted in widespread fatalities and catastrophic damage in Mozambique, south-east Africa, highlight the urgent need for further improving tools for flood forecasting, monitoring, and risk management. These tools are particularly required in highly vulnerable developing countries, where coping capacity regarding large-scale disasters is often limited, and where the GFP can play a key role in driving and coordinating these efforts. In this context, the GFP needs to communicate clearly how it can support collaboration in the scientific development of global flood risk management tools, and how it can help to bridge the gap between scientists and users, with the GFP Support Service (see web-link below).

 Details on the outcomes of the 2019 GFP Annual Meeting in Guangzhou, will be published shortly on the GFP web-site (see below). The report on the 2018 GFP Annual Meeting - which took place on 25-27 June 2018 in Delft, the Netherlands, and was hosted by Deltares (an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and sub-surface) - is available on-line at the web-link below.


Lorenzo Alfieri and Peter Salamon
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

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