Floods are natural events that may have devastating consequences in densely-populated cultural areas. This is also reflected by the extreme flood events that affected the Elbe river basin in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Human activities resulting in increasing settlement areas in flood plains as well as a loss of natural retention areas can substantially increase the probability of flood events and their adverse consequences. That is why countries make every effort in order to reduce these risks. Appropriate measures need to be coordinated in the entire river basin in order to be effective. Therefore the “Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks” (Directive 2007/60/EC, hereinafter referred to as “Flood Risk Management Directive”) was adopted on EU level on 23 October 2007 and is now being implemented by the EU member countries.
The countries located in the Elbe river basin agreed to prepare an “International Flood Risk Management Plan for the Elbe River Basin District” (hereinafter referred to as “International Plan”). This plan consists of the jointly prepared part A with summary information for the international level and the national parts B prepared by the individual states .
The International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River (ICPER), who has been actively supporting the transnational cooperation in the field of flood protection since the 1990ies and has issued numerous publications on this subject, was assigned the coordination of this plan.
For the implementation of the Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks the same designation of the international Elbe river basin district and the same responsible authorities were used as for the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC). The International Plan was prepared in three stages: