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France has several deltaic regions: the north region behind Dunkirk; the western coast area from the Vendée to the Gironde mouth; the south-western Les Landes region; the Languedoc region; and the Rhône-delta with important cities like Montpellier and Arles. 17,1 million citizens and 9 million jobs are threatened by fresh water floods; 1,4 million citizens and 850.000 jobs by storm surges.
Floods in 2010 floods exposed gaps in the flood protection regime. Flood provisions were not always well understood by disaster control services; building in flood-prone areas was sometimes tolerated in spite of legal prohibitions, and maintenance of the dikes was not always well provided for. Since then, the policy focus has shifted toward guaranteeing human safety; lowering flood costs, and shortening post flooding restoration periods.This has led to a safety programme (Plan Submersions Rapides) containing better provisions, a stronger spatial planning regime and improvement of flood control infrastructures.
France organized the UN Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 and advocates a strong climate adaptation policy. In the same year, the Ministers of Sustainable development and Spatial planning launched a competition for sustainable building in flood-prone areas.