Interactive workshop on Flood Risk Management planning at the Youth Forum – Global Platform on DRR

Interactive workshop on Flood Risk Management planning at the Youth Forum – Global Platform on DRR

During the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2017 held from 22nd to 26th May in Cancun, Mexico  some members of the WYN DRR team assisted and participated in many activities. One of the main activities of our team was organising an interactive Flood Risk Management (FRM) Planning workshop. This  workshop was part of the 1 Day Youth Forum led by the United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth (UNMGCY) DRR working group.

The aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of participants on flood risk management measures by allowing them to step into the shoes of different flood risk management stakeholders and learn about the process of planning and implementing FRM actions. The session was completed in both Spanish and English.

Due to the fact that the event was held in Mexico, a case study from the country was selected to be analysed during the workshop. The case study chosen corresponds to the city of  Progreso, located in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Flood hazard, vulnerability and risk maps prepared by the National Coastal Resilience Laboratory (LANRESC) and National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) were used. Additionally a fact sheet which included the main characteristics of the area were explained to the participants including those described below:

  • It is located in an area which can be impacted by storms coming from the North (Cold fronts), Tropical Storms and Hurricanes (Meyer-Arendt, 1991).
  • The area suffers from coastal erosion especially nearby the pier.
  • Total Population of 54,000 inhabitants
  • It is a center for both the fishing industry and container industry.
  • The city has one of the newest piers for large cruise ships and an emerging balneario resort destination.

Once the characteristics of the area were explained, the participants were organised in teams of 5 people with a moderator assigned to each of the teams. The moderators were WYN DRR members with FRM background. Next, a series of 6 steps were indicated to be followed in order to understand the case, take roles, achieve common solutions and make conclusions. The following steps were completed.

STEP 1. Role selection and description interpretation

For this step the participants were provided with 5 sheets which contained the role description of the 5 main stakeholders involved in flood risk management in Mexico. These stakeholders were simplified for the purpose of the game, see Figure 1. Each participant was assigned a stakeholder role based on where they sat at the table and were asked to read the sheets description to understand their role.


Figure 1: Simplified stakeholders



Figure 2: Example role play sheet for the civil protection authority


STEP 2. Understanding the FRM measures

For this step the moderators in each team showed the cards which contained the different management  measures and explained that there were 2 types. A group of cards with a distinctive blue colour described prevention and mitigation measures, such as coastal barriers and spatial planning,  whilst  the second group coloured in orange, represented preparedness, response and recovery measures such as early warning systems, preparedness plans and insurance. The cards contained the measures name, a brief description, a qualitative estimation of the cost, and qualitative estimates of the levels of risk reduction (to houses, life, infrastructure, business) and co-benefits/ costs (for sustainability, tourism and social cohesion) for each measure. The cards were adapted based on Cumiskey and Barquet (2017) as part of the RISC-KIT EU project.


        propertylevelremdefences_card               coastal_defense_structures_cardpng

Figure 3: Cards for individual measures


STEP 3. Selection of two measures per stakeholder

Each participant had to review all the measures and select the top two that they considered would be the most beneficial for the area. After having chosen, they had to write down the name of the selected measure, the reason why they picked it and if according to their role description they were the responsible ones to implement it or not, in their stakeholder sheet .


Figure 4: Participants explaining their selected cards to the group

STEP 4. Review of the top two measures selected by each stakeholder

After each participant chose their top two measures, they had to share them with the rest of the team and spot if there were common measures. Then they had to explain why they made those choices and analyse why the common ones appealed to more than one actor.


STEP 5. Selection of  the top five measures

After having reviewed the top 10 measures per team, the next step was to select five final measure which would help to make a team strategy to reduce the flood risk in the affected areas.


Figure 5: Group discussing their top 5 measures

STEP 6. Select top three measures and discuss

After having agreed on five measures, the final strategy had to be composed by the top three. To do so the participants had to reflect on the common measures and decide which would be the best options to create an integrated plan that could be successfully applied and meet the goals and needs of the affected areas. This proved to be quite challenging as there were many different opinions from the different stakeholders. Lastly the spatial location of the selected measures had to be located inside a risk map of the region. Finally each team had to present their strategy to the group.

IMG_1166   IMG_1170

Figure 6: Group discussion on the top three measures selected by each team




After the final presentation of the 5 teams, an analysis of their strategies was done. Some of the observations and conclusions can be summed up in the following list:


  • Every team selected at least one orange measure (i.e. preparedness, response, recovery) in their strategies. Three of the five teams selected “emergency and evacuation planning” as a vital measure for flood risk reduction. They expressed that it is a measure that would not require much budget and that could really help to mitigate fatalities.


  • Regarding the blue measures (i.e prevention and mitigation), the most popular were: “port redesign for coastal protection” and “improvement of urban drainage with green infrastructure” with three teams having them in their strategies. The teams agreed that for the urban area, the most suitable would be to introduce greenery, which besides helping with the floods, it would also bring many other benefits to the area. With respect to the port redesign, the teams that chose the option considered that as the port is of most importance for the area, a better design would make a huge positive impact reducing floods and could even  be improved to receive more ships and increase the economy of the area.


  • Some of the reflections made by the WYN DRR team members after listening to the strategies were that the common options selected were really good choices, but that their drawbacks needed to be considered as well before their final implementation. For instance the port redesign would require a huge budget,  several time to be built and most probably would  modify and affect the marine ecosystem of the area.



During the development of the workshop, the participants expressed that felt really involved and many of them were interested and curious about the variety of flood risk management measures available.  Some of them requested a brief explanation on the technical details and on site implementation process.



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