Following the floods of 1998-1999 in China and Bangladesh, UNHABITAT in collaboration with UNEP fielded missions to assess the impact of such events on the environment and human settlements. The missions also assisted the respective Governments in the design of rehabilitation strategies and programmes based on the principles of vulnerability reduction and improved settlements management. As recommended by the mission to China, a programme for collaboration with the Government on flood vulnerability reduction was initiated in 1999.
The programme focused on the execution of a series of thematic consultations on issues related to flood prevention and mitigation. In addition, a working group was established to promote a more integrated approach to floods, settlements and environmental management in flood prone areas. The purpose of these activities was to improve the capabilities of government to manage disaster at different stages and reduce the overall vulnerability of communities to future flooding.