France Bangladesh Summit held on Hydrology and Flood Forecasting
On Wednesday, November 8th 2023 at Intercontinental Dhaka, Crystal Ballroom, took place the very first of its kind France + Bangladesh Summit on Hydrology and Flood Forecasting.
This Summit on continental freshwater, the most vital resource on Earth, has been organized in the aftermath of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Bangladesh in early September of this year, and is occurring immediately after Bangladesh-France Trade and Investment Summit on October 23rd at Intercontinental in Paris.
Whilst Bangladesh benefits from a tremendously positive export balance with France, mainly thanks to the manufacturing of garments and other consumer goods, Bangladesh has been relying for a long time on France to supply the country with strategic and high value industrial products and services such as space satellites, commercial aircrafts, and environmental utilities.
Taking Smart Bangladesh as a horizon and considering the importance of hydrological risks and challenges in Bangladesh and the expertise of France in both water and space, Bangladesh turned to France as a country and partner, and to French river basin digitization operator BWI – which stands for Blue Water Intelligence, to be the beneficiary of a public-private partnership with the goal of levelling up the availability of hydrological data and forecasts in Bangladesh. BWI is willing to involve local stakeholders and Universities to deliver forecasts that perfectly matches the specifics of Bangladesh.
Today’s Summit on hydrology and flood forecasting identified few specialized areas of opportunities for both Bangladesh and France, including:
– Deployment of virtual stations to forecast river discharge and water levels to reinforce Bangladesh flood early warning system.
– Monitoring of water quality and land, using space imagery in collaboration with group of French and Bangladeshi researchers.
– Joint manufacturing of a stratospheric balloon for the purpose of hydrological surveillance and water resource management. All these initiatives can be implemented in participation with Bangladeshi establishments and universities.
Her Excellency, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh, Madame Marie Masdupuy made their opening remarks and expressed her satisfaction for such joint effort.
Hydrology specialists from both home and abroad presented their keynote address on various contemporary hydrological developments.
In the concluding speech, the Director General of Water Development Board, Mr. S M Shahidul Islam emphasized on the use of smart technology in flood forecasting along with proper management of water resources. All the guests thanked the organizers including Embassy of France in Bangladesh and pledged to build Smart Bangladesh through smart forecasting.
The summit has been attended by many scholars, eminent personalities and dignitaries from various ministries, embassies, and academic institutions.
All Bengali officials appreciated the French Embassy in Bangladesh for taking the initiative and invited everyone to build Smart Bangladesh through smart forecasting of hydrology.
Official event pictures https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18btWUvM7wsor5ffwgf90KajEONqo7lRA
BWI – which stands for Blue Water Intelligence, was established in 2022 in Toulouse, France, as a subsidiary of Hemeria, a French satellite and balloon manufacturer with 400 employees. BWI clients like to see us as their basin digitization company. BWI specializes in the monitoring of inland surface water reserves around the globe. BWI brings together in-situ data, spaceborne observations and machine learning to feed and empower hydrological and hydrodynamical models and provide clients with data and insights on their points of interest. A provider of online subscription-based services, BWI aims to make scalable – across space and time – hydrological forecasts to address climate change induced water stress. Improvements in the prediction of water availability, water quality, floods, and droughts at local and regional scales will help the population and businesses build climate resilience, as well as enable scientists to understand the water cycle deeper.
Contact: Jeremy Fain, CEO, [email protected], +184.108.40.206.98.99.
Opening remarks of Her Excellency Madam Marie Masdupuy
Honorable State Minister (Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief)
– Allow me to laud the success achieved by Bangladesh in disaster risk reduction in the past years, allowing the number of casualties to decrease significantly, in line with SDG 11.
– by creating committees at all regional levels, consulted at every stage before, during and after a disaster, Bangladesh is at the forefront of locally-led adaptation. In this regard, the rest of the world has a lot to learn from Bangladesh.
– but the financial toll of disasters, in particular floods, remains high and is likely to increase given the acceleration of climate change
– Strengthening the flood early-warning system has been highlighted as one top priority under the Disaster Risk Management Master Plan 2021-2025. It emphasizes the need to “utilize contemporary technologies and innovations for improved weather and climate monitoring, prediction and forecasting, including upgrading current observation stations and satellites”
– in this area, France has a lot to offer to Bangladesh. I commend Blue Water Intelligence for having organized this Hydrological Summit. BWI is a leading company when it comes to surveillance of continental freshwater and improvement of flood early-warning, using satellite data and machine learning. By launching a cooperation with Bangladesh, BWI is willing to offer a very significant contribution to SMART Bangladesh. In
a way, allow me to say that this partnership promises to become a flagship one, given the unique hydrological situation of Bangladesh and its rôle in the broader region.
– Beyond BWI, the French ecosystem is already mobilized in Bangladesh to support this strategic goal. Airbus Defence and Space signed a letter of intent with BSCL during President Macron’s visit in September, for supplying a sovereign earth observation satellite system. Beside, Météo France International, the French state-owned weatherforecast agency, is keen to collaborate more with Bangladesh partners on forecasting.
– Beside flood management, allow me to particularly mention the key issue of water quality, as it not only impacts the biodiversity but also humans. Indeed, Dhaka aims at gradually increase the share of surface water intake for producing drinking water. Gandharbpur Water Treatment Plant is being built by french companies Veolia and Suez in order to use the water from the Meghna river. A real-time data collection, using data from space or from equipment, would be a good safeguard in case of any pollution coming from upstream.
– Some of you may have taken part in the recent visit of the Initiatives for the future of large rivers organisation few weeks ago. This french organisation gathers experts from many fields and were really impressed by the quality of the projects and studies done in Bangladesh, and are keen to work more with your researchers and government officials. And I am pleased at the contribution to your Summit of our expert in oceanography, Ms Tonia Capuano, seconded by France to the Oceanographic Institute of Dhaka University.
– I see in the program that all these topics will be tackled, with renowned speakers and a talented audience. I wish to this event a great success to further improve hydrology studies in Bangladesh and as a contribution to France and Bangladesh joint initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change and to building our strategic partnership.
Closing address of Mr. S M Shahidul Islam, Director General of Water Development Board
Dear Excellencies, Dear Honorable Ministers, Dear Delegates
It is my pleasure to take a few minutes to close today’s discussions. Trust me, I have been to many such gatherings, and I can feel an amazing chemistry between you all, which is making my day.
So, I will be very quick, because many things have been said, but not the following: in our collective quest to build Smart Bangladesh, one highlight should be to deploy an operational version of Smart Bangladesh for hydrology and flood forecasting.
As a longtime friend and partner in science, foreign affairs, industry and culture, France is the perfect provider for innovative technology to serve the purpose of Smart Bangladesh for Hydrology and Flood Forecasting. I am happy that this will contribute to collaborations with our universities and research centers.
Also, you can count on me, Water Development Board will be glad to provide all the necessary data to BWI to help with calibration and validation of BWI services for Bangladesh, and our team of hydrologist will do appropriate peer review.
Last, I would like to thank you all for your personal investment in taking hydrological forecasting in Bangladesh to the next level, and for having listened to me. Thank you.
With this, I declare the first France-Bangladesh Summit on Hydrology and Flood Forecasting closed.