ICHARM -- The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management


International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management under the auspices of UNESCO

Vol.1-No.3 December, 2006

In our periodical newsletter, we continue our focus on providing our national and international partners and colleagues with up-to-date information on the progress of our activities at ICHARM.
(Click here for back numbers of UNESCO-PWRI newsletters)


1. Message from the Director

On 14th September 2006, the International Inauguration Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium of ICHARM were held at the U Thant Hall of the United Nations University, Tokyo. There were nearly 300 people gatherd including some overseas participants. It was a great honor that His Excellency Kitagawa, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, handed over his brash painted sign board of ICHARM to Dr. Tadahiko Sakamoto, CEO of PWRI and Dr. Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Director of Water Sciences Division of Unesco, the United Nations Flag to me. In the following symposium, six invited speakers presented their challenges of water disaster reduction. It was a memorable occasion that the Government Officials of Japan and the officers of UN and other international organizations officially celebrated the establishment of ICHARM.

Next day in Tsukuba at PWRI, ICHARM presented the draft "ICHARM strategies and the Action Plan for 2006-2008" to the first ICHARM International Advisory Board. We very much appreciated the members who gave us many constructive ideas and advices so that the draft was considerably improved. Now we have the well defined strategies and work plan supported by the wide international community. It is time to start implementation.

ICHARM aims to function as the Center of Excellence for water disaster risk management. It will provide and assist inplementation of the best practicable strategies to diverse localities. Its initial focusing and infomation betworking. The concrete action in the plan indlude:

_(1) Application of advanced technologies for flood forecasting and early warning to be delivered to the end users by the media such as Google Earth.

_(2) Training courses with local aftercare program and graduate level capacity building leading to the Masters degree on flooddisaster prevention

_(3) Networking of information focusing on local realities and needs leading to Local Study Series and Large Floods Year Book useful as policy effective information for decision makers.

_(4) Alliance with all the relevant organizations, initiatives and programs to make synergy to achieve the objectives.

On each of them, I am very pleased to see many concrete activities have already started. We have a great enthusiasm and a commitment to implement this plan. I sincerely ask your hearty support.

Dr. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi
Director of ICHARM


2. The Second Joint Project Team Meeting for Establishing the Disaster Management Support System in the Asia-Pacific Region

The 2nd Joint Project Team Meeting (JPTM) for establishing the Disaster Management Support System in the Asia-Pacific Region was held from 27th to 28th June, in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Geo-Information and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA). This joint project, commonly called "Sentinel-Asia Project", is a "voluntary and best-efforts-basis initiatives" led by the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) to share disaster information in the Asia-Pacific region on the Digital Asia (Web-GIS) platform and to make the best use of earth observation satellites data for disaster management in the Asia-Pacific region. Under this project, two working groups for wildfire and flood were initiated. Mr. Fukami was nominated as a coordinator for the Flood Working Group. The Flood WG is supposed to collect, enhance and disseminate any good examples available for heavy rainfall monitoring, flood forecasting and flood hazard mitigation in the Asia-Pacific Region. Visit the APRSAF website (http://www.aprsaf.org/text/wg_disaster.html) for more information.

At the meeting

3. 2006 Research Presentation at the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources

The Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources held the 2006 research presentation from 29th to 31st August in Okayama, Japan. Mr. Fukami and Mr. Inomata, both from ICHARM, attended the conference and made presentations on their research topics. Mr. Fukami presented research findings from the DAD analysis research based on radar rainfall data and also from a research on accuracy of low flow measurement observation. Mr. Inomata made a presentation about a simulation of past hydrologic balance of Lake Tonle Sap, which plays an important role in flood control over the Mekong River. As the head of one of the Society's subcommittees, Mr. Fukami also led a workshop, "Recent water-related topics in the Chugoku region of Japan", as a coordinator.

The international exchange session, sponsored by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Public Works Research Institute, was held this year, too, as part of the conference. The groups of researchers from China and Korea, representing the Society of Hydrology and Water Resources in each country, participated in the conference and exchanged research findings with Japanese counterparts.


4. The Seventh International Conference on Hydroinfomatics

The 7th International Conference on Hydroinfomatics was held from 4th to 9th September, in Nice, France. Mr. Fukami attended the conference and made a presentation titled "Development of an Integrated Flood Runoff Analysis System for Poorly-gauged Basins" on the final day.

The Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS) is a tool considered useful in developing flood warning systems in developing countries with improved efficiency. The Infrastructure Development Institute (IDI), known as the IFNet secretariat office, is currently working on IFAS in a joint research with nine private consulting firms in Japan.

The conference was a great success with a large number of participants from all over the world. It was particularly a meaningful opportunity in terms of informing participants from European countries about IFAS, one of the few projects in which Japanese organizations are trying to develop a runoff analysis software for overseas countries.

The 8th International Conference on Hydroinfomatics is scheduled to be held in Chili in 2008.

At the Conference

5. Report of ICHARM Inuaugural Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium on 14th September

The Inaugural Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium of the "International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM)" were held at the U Thant Hall of the United Nation University in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 14th September, 2006.

The ICHARM sign was handed by Mr. Kitagawa to Dr. Sakamoto

ICHARM is an organization under the auspices of UNESCO and working towards preventing and mitigating water-related disasters around the world by integrating and conducting researches, trainings, and information networking. The Japanese government's proposal to establish ICHARM as a part of the Public Works Research Institute (PWRI) was approved by 119 member countries at the 33rd General Conference of UNESCO held in October 2005. The plan was then endorsed by the Cabinet of the Japanese government on 3rd March, 2006. On the same day, the agreement for the establishment of ICHARM was made between the government and UNESCO as well as between PWRI and UNESCO. Finally, on 6th March, the establishment of ICHARM was announced.


United Nations flag was handed by Mr. Szollosi-Nagy

At the beginning of the ceremony, Mr. Tadahiko Sakamoto, a Chief Executive of PWRI, greeted the guests and expressed gratitude for the cooperation from concerned organizations. He also introduced about ICHARM regarding its background, significance and long-term visions. Then, congratulatory speeches were made by several guests including Mr. Andras Szollosi-Nagy (Deputy Assistant Director General, UNESCO), Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto (Director of the Public Diplomacy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Kenji Seyama (Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), Mr. Avinash Tyagi (Director of the Hydrology and Water Resources Department, WMO) and Mr. Max Bond (Executive Officer of the United Nations University).

Mr. Kitagawa gave a congratulatory speech to ICHARM. The audience applauded heartily when the minister handed the ICHARM sign, which he wrote himself, to Mr. Sakamoto. And then, Mr. Szollosi-Nagy handed the United Nations flag to Mr. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, a Director of ICHARM. Additionally, many other congratulatory messages, which were received from various organizations and individuals, were presented at the ceremony. After that, Mr. Takeuchi introduced ICHARM's objectives, guiding principles and action plan.

After the ICHARM Inaugural Ceremony, the Commemorative Symposium on the theme of "Alliance for Localism" (International Coalition to Solve Local Issues) was held. In the symposium, six speakers presented their views on the present situation of water-related disasters around the world and various approaches for prevention and mitigation.

The lecturers and audience earnestly exchanged questions and answers, where ICHARM's Director Dr. Takeuchi moderated the session. After the Commemorative Symposium, a reception was held especially for the participants who attended the Ceremony. Starting with the greetings from Mr. Itaru Yasui (Deputy Rector of the United Nations University), and Mr. Takeshi Kadomatsu (Director-General of the River Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport), the party promoted closer interaction among the participants including ICHARM staffs.

Participants exchanges opinions at the reception


6. ICHARM International Advisory Board

The first meeting of the ICHARM International Advisory Board was held at the Public Works Research Institute (PWRI) in Tsukuba, Japan, on Friday, 15th September, the day after the ICHARM Inaugural Ceremony (See the photo below). The Advisory Board is set by the PWRI Chief Executive based on the agreement between the Japanese government and UNESCO, consisting of a total of thirteen members (six regional representatives appointed by UNESCO, six by the PWRI Chief Executive, and a deputy for the UNESCO Director-General). The Board will be held biannually primarily to discuss and give advice on action plans and activities. The PWRI Chief Executive is responsible for the final decission based on their advice. Listed in the table below are the inaugural members of the Advisory Board, who will serve for the 2006-2008 period.

The first Advisory Board meeting started at 10 a.m. and lasted four hours, taking a lunch break halfway. The Board members, each experienced in their professions, gave insightful advice and comments on ICHARM action policies/plans. Visit out homepage at http://www.icharm.pwri.go.jp for
the ICHARM Strategies and Action Plan for 2006-2008, which was finalized based on the useful advice from the Board.

The Representatives for 6 Regions
Group I
W.Europe, N.America
Mr. Eugene Z. Stakhiv Institute for Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
International Water Advisor
Group II
E.Europe, Russia
Mr. Maciej Zalewski Director, International Centre for Ecology Polish Academy of Sciences
Group III
Central America, Caribbea
Mr. Carlos E. Tucci Professor, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
Group IX
Asia, Oceania
Mr. Muhammad A. KahlownChairman, Pakistan Coucil of Research in Water Resources
Group X
Mr. Abou AmaniSenior Researcher, Scientific coordinator of Agrhymet Regisonal Centre
Group XI
Mr. Anwar G. H. JiriesProfessor of Hydrogeology and Environmental Sciences, Director of The Water and Environment Research Center (WERC), Mu'tah University
Deputy Assistant Director-General, UNESCOMr. Andras Szollosi-NagyDirector of Water Sciences Division
Deputy Assistant Director-General, WMOMr. Avinash C. TyagiDirector, Department of Hydrology and Water Resorces, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Director, UN/ISDRMr. Salvano BricenoDirector, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, (UN/ISDR)
Rector, United Nations University Mr. Hans van GinkelRector, United Nations University (UNU)
Director, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water EducationMr. Richard A. MeganckDirector, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Deputy Director, JICAMr. Atsushi HatanakaDeputy Director, JICA
Vice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, MLITMr. Hiroaki TaniguchiVice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT)
The first Advisory Board members

The board meeting

7. International Workshop for Earth Observation in Water Management Service

The International Workshop for Earth Observation in Water Management Services was held from 26th to 28th September, in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Water Theme Section of the Integrated Global Observing Strategy, the Group on Earth Observations, Tokyo University, ICHARM, and other organizations. A total of 121 people from 22 Asian countries participated in the workshop.

Mr. Fukami from ICHARM made a presentation about research and training activities for capacity building in flood disaster management at ICHARM. He also chaired the Flood Working Group, one of the three working groups held on the final day of the workshop, and contributed to making proposals for improving the accessibility to satellite information, establishing the Global Precipitation Measurement, and other important issues.

The workshop was designed to provide an opportunity for policy makers in Asia working in the field of water resource management to review global observation plans, applications of water resource management, and the current situations of data access. Also, it was intended to help those in charge of water resource management to share information about observations, data, and tools regarding the field. Still another important aim of the workshop was to make proposals on a project for capacity development in water resource management in Asia to contribute to the development of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, known as GEOSS.

On the workshop

8. UNESCO-IHE Summer Course: "Climate Change in Integrated Water Management"

A summer course, entitled "Climate Change in Integrated Water Management", was held at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands, from 25th to 30th September. Mr. Tanaka, ICHARM Senior Researcher of the International Technical Exchange Team, was invited there to give a lecture on flood hazard mapping in Japan. The course offered lecutures for two and half days and then the participants discussed, in small groups, how to respond to climate change in the Republic of Climate Land, a imaginary nation for the sake of discussion.

The course participants were trainees currently studying in the Master's course at UNESCO-IHE. They just finished their first 12 months of the 18-month-long course, mainly lecture classes, and participated in this summer course before starting the remaining six months from this October, during which they are expected to complete their Master's theses.

On the last day of the course, the course participants and lecturers including Mr. Tanaka had a chance to visit some Scheldt River project sites around Antwerp. The Scheldt River runs from Belgium to the Netherlands via Antwerp.

__A coordinator briefly explains about the course in onset. The lecure room is equipped with a PC for presentation, a fixed screen, and a blackboard.

_A downstream area of the Scheldt River: With a 5m tidal range, this area requires storm serge protection measures. Levees built along the river are high and low secondary levees are seen in the protected inland as well as houses.

9. ICHARM Hosted a Session at UNESCO-IHP International Symposium

The UNESCO-IHP International Symposium on Managing Water Supply for Growing Demand was held on 17th October. ICHARM was given an opportunity, by favor of UNESCO-IHP, to plan and manage an entire session, entitled "Comprehensive Approaches for Flood Disaster Mitigation in Asia".

Dr. Takeuchi, Director of ICHARM Director, started the session with the outline of the ICHARM Action Plans, followed by ten presentations including three done by ICHARM researchers (Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Fukami and Mr. Pathirana). One presentation was about disaster-related information; five about flood forecasting/warning; four about flood hazard mapping. The participants responded well to each presentation by posing a number of questions and comments.

Giving presentation

10. The 14th Meeting of the UNESCO-IHP Regional Steering Committee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

14th Meeting of the UNESCO-IHP Regional Steering Committee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 19th to 20th October. The meeting is to exchange information on IHP activities in each member country and to discuss future activities. Mr. Terakawa, Acting Director of ICHARM, who participated in the meeting as a member of Japanese delegation, introduced the outline and planned activities of ICHARM. He also expressed a feeling of deep gratitude to the member countries who made a resolution to support Japanese proposal to set up ICHARM in the Committee meeting in October 2002, which finally lead to the resolution of approving ICHARM at UNESCO General Conference last October.

After the meeting

11. Mekong Research for the People of the Mekong

An international conference named "Mekong Research for the People of the Mekong" was held in Chiang Rai, Thailand, from 18th to 21st October. There are several research projects concerning the Mekong River at present. In this conference, researchers involved in each project presented their researches, and they discussed what is important for the Mekong River Basin and what kind of researches should be operated from now on.

Involved in a research project titled "Model Development for Prediction of Water Resources Change Due to Natural Variation and Human Modification in the Asian Monsoon Region" under the Revolutionary Research Project 2002 led by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, ICHARM has been conducting research concerning the Mekong River Basin. Mr. Fukami, Mr. Inomata and Dr. Hapuarachchi attended the conference and made presentations about the following research topics.

Mr. Fukami:
1. A regional hydroclimate model of the Mekong River Basin and reconstruction of historical atmospheric conditions in the basin
2. A future scenario of land uses and water demands for the prediction of water resources in the Mekong River Watershed

Mr. Inomata:
1. Application of a distributed hydrological model to the Pursat River Basin based on satellite-based rainfall data
2. Restoration of historical hydrological data of the Tonle Sap Lake and its surrounding areas

Dr. Hapuarachchi:
Understanding the Mekong River Basin hydrology using a distributed hydrological model

Mekong Research for the People of the Mekong Homepage:

At the conference room



12. Business Trip to U.S.A

The 6th Global Precipitation Measurement International Workshop was held in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A., from 8th to 10th November. ICHARM Researcher Inomata attended the workshop and made a presentation about the applicality of satellite-observed rainfall data to hydorology. Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is a project promoted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to observe global rainfall by artificial satellites. Satellite-observed rainfall data can be very useful also in the field of flood forecasting and ICHARM has been working on ways to utilize them in cooperation with the International Development Institute (IDI). Mr. Inomata was given an opportunity to present some of his research findings in this workshop.

The 6th Global Precipitation Measurement International Workshop Website:



13. Flood Hazard Mapping Training Course 2006

The Flood Hazard Mapping Training Course 2006 was held from October 30 through December 1st in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This training course was offered to engineers and technicians in the field of hydrology specifically in the east and south-east Asian regions. The course is designed to be held from 2004 to 2008 in collaboration with the Typhoon Committee, which was established with support from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This year marked the third year since the course started.

The purpose of this training course is not only for the participants to learn techniques and knowledge necessary for flood hazard mapping and its dissemination but also for them to share what is learned in the course with those who are working in the fields related to hydrology. Thus, follow-up activities after completing the training course is also considered to be very important.
This year, there were a total of 16 participants, two each from eight different countries, which include Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines,Thailand and Vietnam.

At the opening ceremony

The training course offered six principal activities as follows:

Lectures: ICHARM invited several lecturers from different research institutes both at home and abroad to lecture about current flood disasters, about flood hazard mapping, as well as about techniques to acquire data necessary for flood hazard mapping. Dr. Klaas-jan Douben, Senior Lecturer of UNESCO-IHE was one of the invited lecturers as a collaboration program between both Institutes.

In the lecture

Training: The participants were required to learn techniques necessary for flood hazard mapping.

- For flood hazard mapping
 runoff analysis
 flood analysis
- For aquiring GIS techniques
 Tank model
 Runoff analysis exercises using the storage function method
 Flood analysis exercises using HEC-RAS and HEC-GeoRAS provided by US Army Corps of Engineers
GIS exercises using ArcGIS9.1 provided by ESRI

Independent study: Each participant was required to create a flood hazard map for the sample area by using what they learned from the lectures and training

On-sight inspection: The participants visited flood-affected areas along the Shonaigawa and Miyakawa Rivers in cooperation with the Shonaigawa River Office and the Mie Office of River and National Highway. Also, they conducted the "Town Watching" activity with help from Ise City, in which they actually walked around the city while interviewing local people to find out dangerous points and the effectiveness of the current flood hazard map. Town Watching was held once each before and after the lectures and training so that the participants were able to see the difference in their knowledge and technique. The first Town Watching was conducted in an area along the Kokaigawa River in Ibaraki before the lectures and training.

Group discussion: Following Town Watching at Ise City which the participants conducted in groups of four each, they were required to classify problems they found and come up with solutions to them with the same group members.

Presentation: The participants were required to make three presentations in this training course. The first presentation was about flood disasters and flood hazard mapping in their own countries; the second one was a group presentation about the conclusion of the group discussion after the Ise City Town Watching; The third one was about the concluding report and each participant had to present an action plan for preparing a flood hazard map in their countries.



Discussion in the group

ICHARM will keep a close tie with the participants in this training course to maintain an effective human network and to exchange useful information. Next February, ICHARM is planning to hold the first Flood Hazard Map Seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with participation of ex-trainees to promote information sharing and to have meaningful discussion concerning flood hazard mapping.

In closing, We at ICHARM would like to express our sincere gratitude to lecturers and those who helped us with on-sight inspections despite their busy schedules.



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Issued by: International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHARM)

1-6 Minamihara Tsukuba Ibaraki 305-8516, Japan   Tel: +81-29-879-6809   Fax: +81-29-879-6709
e-mail: icharm@pwri.go.jp   URL: http://www.icharm.pwri.go.jp/