The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) has published the Rhine Atlas 2020 and the draft 2nd International Flood Risk Management Plan Rhine in December 2020. The Rhine Atlas shows the flood-prone areas along the Rhine from the Alps to the North Sea. The Flood Risk Management Plan describes the measures to be taken by the states in the Rhine river basin from 2022 to 2027 to reduce flood risks. Interested parties can comment on the draft version until June 2021.
International coordination of flood risk management in the ICPR
Water does not know any administrative borders but follows natural conditions within river basins. This principle is taken into account by the EU Water Framework Directive (2000) and the EU Floods Directive (2007). The ICPR has celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2020 and is considered a model for transboundary cooperation. Since the 1990s, it has also been dealing with flood issues and is responsible for the international coordination of flood risk management in the Rhine river basin.
New Rhine Atlas 2020
Since 2013, EU Member States have to publish so-called flood hazard and flood risk maps for areas with a particular flood risk. The maps are prepared by the competent national authorities and reviewed every six years. They are compiled at the ICPR and fed into the online map service "Rhine Atlas", which is provided in cooperation with the German Federal Institute of Hydrology.
The new version of the Rhine Atlas with updated data is available since December 2020. Citizens from the Swiss Alps to the Rhine delta in the Netherlands can use the map service to find out whether they live in an area classified as at risk of flooding. Three scenarios (frequent, medium and extreme floods) are available. In addition, links are provided to the national map services, which contain more detailed information. The Rhine Atlas is thus intended to make a contribution to strengthening risk awareness and flood prevention.
2nd International Flood Management Plan Rhine
Since the great floods in 1993 and 1995, the states in the Rhine catchment have invested more than 14 billion € in flood prevention and flood protection. For example, about 340 million cubic metres of flood retention areas have been created along the Rhine. At the Conference of Rhine Ministers in February 2020, the programme "Rhine 2040" was adopted - with one of the aims being to reduce the flood risk by another 15 %.
In order to continuously develop flood prevention and flood protection, to take concrete measures and to report on progress, the EU member states must publish so-called "flood risk management plans" every six years. In 2015, the ICPR created the 1st International Flood Risk Management Plan Rhine as a product of international coordination.
In December 2020, the states in the Rhine catchment, including the non-EU member states Switzerland and Liechtenstein, have provided the draft version of the 2nd International Flood Risk Management Plan Rhine for public consultation. NGOs recognised as observers at the ICPR were also involved in the development of the draft plan.
The plan describes the common principles and objectives as well as concrete measures that the states in the Rhine catchment will take from 2022 to 2027 in order to reduce the flood risk for humans, economy, environment and cultural heritage. These include dike reinforcements, technical flood retention areas, dike relocations to give more room to the river, but also measures such as improving flood forecasting.
Persons and organisations interested can submit comments on the draft plan to the secretariat until 30 June 2021. The comments will then be considered during the revision process and before the final version of the plan is published by the end of 2021.
An English version of the draft plan will be made available in January 2021.
ICPR now also on Twitter
In the ICPR, Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the European Union have been working together for 70 years on the basis of a convention under international law to reconcile the diverse uses and protection of the Rhine basin. With a view to implementing EU Directives, the cross-border cooperation was extended to Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and the Belgian region Wallonia.
At present, Veronica Manfredi of the European Commission holds the ICPR presidency. She and the different ICPR fora are supported by the international staff of the permanent secretariat in Koblenz (Germany).
Since November 2020 you can also follow the ICPR on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ICPRhine
Contact person for queries
Marc Daniel Heintz (Executive Secretary)