Milestones of the Associated Programme on Flood Management

Floods are the most frequent type of natural disaster worldwide and have huge impacts on society and the environment. While much progress has been made in improving knowledge and early warnings systems, floods continue to increase around the world due to climate change, urbanization, and deforestation. The Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), founded by the World Meteoritical Organization (WMO) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in 2001, expertly supports communities, countries, and regions in questions of flood management.  

Together with over 30 partner organizations, APFM promotes and implements the concept of Integrated Flood Management (IFM), which combines risk, water and land use management in an effort to prevent catastrophic flood impacts - loss of lives, property and environmental damages - and to improve livelihoods. The aim is to change the prevailing paradigm from disaster management - only reacting to a flood - to a focus on proactive prevention measures. Over the years, IFM has proven the gold standard in flood management as it does not only minimize the risk of damage to land and property, but also maximizes the benefits derived from the use of flood plains, such as groundwater recharge and soil fertilization, by providing integrated solutions for societies and ecosystems.

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Through its online Integrated Flood Management (IFM) HelpDesk, APFM offers tailored theoretical and practical guidance to flood prone countries around the world. The HelpDesk is a repository of knowledge collected from countries, partners and external experts on the ground, who share their best practices and lessons learned with others in need of assistance. It is equipped with three functions:



tools developed in IFM aspects


countries where we have implemented pilot projects


IFM HelpDesk request answered


governments supported in developing strategies on flood management


Support Base Partners around the world


countries where we have provided workshops and/or trainings

APFM Website
Launch of the Associated Programme on Flood Management

APFM is founded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in August 2001. The Programme promotes the concept of Integrated Flood Management as a new, innovative approach to flood management.

Development of a Concept Paper on Integrated Flood Management

This publication establishes the theoretical pillars for the whole APFM and explains the importance, concept and practical steps that need to be taken for integrated flood management. It currently exists in its third edition and has been translated into six languages.

Read paper

The concept paper was also later complemented by an IFM policy series and related case studies that went in depth on various economic, environmental, social, legal, and institutional aspects of flood management policy.

Browse the IFM policy series
First national strategy on flood management co-developed by APFM in Kenya

The Honourable Martha Kharoua, Minister of Water and Irrigation, launches the Kenyan Strategy for Flood Management in the Lake Victoria Basin, which aims to improve development processes through the prevention of flood disasters. The Strategy was jointly developed by Kenyan experts and APFM and put into practice in the following years with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Read strategy
Testing community approaches to flood management

In 2006, a series of pilot projects on “Community Approaches to Flood Management” comes to an end. Initiated in November 2002 by the South Asia Regional Associates of GWP, the projects strengthened community flood management in seven communities in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Manuals describing specific activities for community-based flood management were prepared and made available in local languages. During the monsoon season in 2004, these were tested in the field and found to be very useful in reducing loss of lives and property. In parallel, a draft strategy for Community Based Flood Management was developed.

More information
Launch of the Integrated Flood Management Tools series

IFM Tools are guiding materials that provide flood management practitioners insight into various fields, such as flood mapping, basin flood management planning, loss assessment, forecasting and warning, environmental assessment, insurance, etc. Kicking-off in 2006, many new documents have since been added. The series nowadays includes 27 publications, which are used for the development of international strategies and project proposals by APFM, partners and external institutions alike.

Browse IFM Tool SeriesInfographics on IFM key information
Zambia introduces their Integrated Flood Management Strategy

The Honourable Kenneth Konga, Minister of Energy and Water Development, launches the Zambian flood management strategy after a successful pilot project with APFM in the Kafue basin, a sub-basin of the Zambezi River.

Read Kafue Basin strategy
Recognition of the Integrated Flood Management Concept by the World Meteorological Congress

At its 15th session, the World Meteorological Congress endorses the concept of IFM through Resolution 20, inviting Members to support the implementation of IFM pilot projects.

Read resolution
Establishment of the Integrated Flood Management HelpDesk

The heart of APFM, the IFM HelpDesk, is created with support from the WMO Commission for Hydrology. Built for practitioners, researchers, policy-makers, international organizations and private companies alike, it includes expansive literature, a built-in network and more than 30 expert partner organizations that can offer technical assistance upon request.

IFM HelpDesk
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The Integrated Drought Management Programme is founded

The success of APFM inspires the development of the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP). This APFM sister-programme, which is based on the same model, focuses on drought-affected regions and deals with water scarcity issues in an integrated way.

IDMP Website
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Start of the pilot project “Community-Based Approaches to Flood Management (CBFM) in Thailand and Lao PDR”

Carried out between June 2013 and March 2016, when it successfully concluded, the project aims at improving self-help capabilities of communities. This was done by strengthening their prevention, preparedness, response and recovery capabilities to flood events through community-based disaster risk reduction approaches and practices.

Read more about project

“Flooding [in 2015] was almost the same as [in 2014]. Fortunately, we have already learned from this project; otherwise, the impact might have been worse.’’

- Quote by Mr Lur (Village Head of Ban Kao Many, Lao PDR), Voices from the Field brochure

Read Voices from the Field brochure
Support to the development of the Mexican national strategy on flood management

Mexico requests APFM to provide support and guidance in the development of a national strategy for flood management (Programa Nacional Contra Contingencias Hidráulicas PRONACCH). Similar support is provided by IDMP
in the development of the national drought management strategy.

Read more about strategy
Supporting the development and implementation of IPA FLOODS

APFM contributes to the Programme for Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Floods in the Western Balkans and Turkey (IPA FLOODS). APFM is involved in the development of the project proposal and from 2014 onwards provides implementation support on thematic areas related to Integrated Flood Management, e.g. on flood loss assessment, river basin management plans formulation, etc.

Global Competition for Youth-Led Projects on Flood and Drought Management

To engage with youth and to disseminate the IFM concept at the grass-root level, APFM and IDMP, together with the Water Youth Network, organize a competition. The winning project Preparing our Home by the Xetólacw Community School and the International Sustainability Education Foundation (ISFE) Canada receives some APFM financial support for their community-based resilience planning program, which enables indigenous youth to reach their potential in becoming emergency preparedness leaders.

Read about Preparing our Home
Writing a Guidance Document on Integrated Flood Management Strategies

The Guidance Document entitled “Selecting measures and designing strategies for Integrated Flood Management” is the operational link between the APFM IFM Policy and Tool Series. It outlines the approach and steps to develop and evaluate well-balanced and well-motivated strategies to cope with the risk of flooding. The design of strategies covers the full range of possible structural and non-structural measures, including protection and mitigation measures, planning and building codes, emergency management, raising of risk awareness and preparedness, risk-sharing and the like.

Read guidance document
The Forum of Support Base Partners: Implementation of a new governance structure

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

- African Proverb  

The previous Advisory Committee and Management Committee is replaced as the main governance body by a Forum of Support Base Partners comprised of representatives from WMO, GWP, experts from APFM partners as well as past or potential donors and sponsors. The Forum meets at least twice a year to discuss opportunities for the development of joint activities on IFM.

More information
APFM supports the Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS)

APFM becomes involved and supports the implementation of flood management components in projects implemented in Burkina Faso, the West Africa Region, and the Dominican Republic under the CREWS mechanism, an instrument that funds early warning services in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

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The Volta Flood and Drought Management Project

The Volta Basin is one of the most vulnerable regions in West Africa due to its high exposure and low adaptive capacity to water-related disasters. The project “Integrating Flood and Drought Management and Early Warning for Climate Change Adaptation in the Volta Basin” provides the first large scale and transboundary implementation of Integrated Flood and Drought Management strategies. By empowering the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) and other competent authorities of the six countries that share the basin (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo), robust solutions for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation are put in place. The project has kicked-off in 2019 and is planned to end in 2023.

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WMO reform and inclusion of APFM in the workplan of the Standing Committee on Hydrological Services

With the constituent bodies reform of WMO, APFM is recognized as a core activity of the newly formed Standing Committee on Hydrological Services (SC-HYD) under the Commission for Services (SERCOM). As such it acts as an entry point to flood management resources developed under this umbrella. They are integrated in the IFM HelpDesk.

More information
Ask, Find, Connect
Future milestone: 2023
Setting up and operating a community of practice on end-to-end early warning systems for flood forecasting

Under the Standing Committee on Hydrological Services and APFM, a community of practice will be created and serve as a platform for discussions and exchange of tools and know-how on flood forecasting.

Ask, Find, Connect
Future milestone: 2024
Expanding the scope of the HelpDesk to provide guidance on additional topics related to Integrated Water Resources Management

To better showcase the various resources available through WMO, GWP and the APFM partner network, the scope of the HelpDesk is expanded to provide access and guidance to resources on flood, drought and water resources management.

Ask, Find, Connect