European civil protection aligns with Sendai

Participants at meeting of European Sendai Framework focal points and civil protection representatives
 
By Nicholas Ramos

Brussels, 17 October 2019 - European countries have moved a step closer to aligning their civil protection agendas with implementation of the global plan to reduce disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Experts from 31 of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UPCM) participating countries met last month for the first time with their National Sendai Framework counterparts in Brussels to identify how they can improve collaboration to achieve Sendai Framework targets including meeting the 2020 deadline to have national and local strategies in place.

Civil protection assistance usually consists of governmental aid delivered in the immediate aftermath of a disaster but assistance made available through the Union Mechanism can also include advice and support to a requesting country on prevention and preparedness measures thus enhancing international cooperation, another key target of the Sendai Framework.

“One of the main goals of establishing our DRR plan has been to fulfill the Sendai Framework requirements. We adopted 101 different measures: the majority of them focusing on engaging citizens in risk and disaster preparedness,” said Carlos Lucio Mendes from the Portuguese National Authority for Civil Protection (ANPC).

Hosted by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), this first joint meeting focused on reinforcing complementarity between the EU and UN frameworks on disaster risk reduction. 

Developing and implementing disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies under the Sendai Framework is intrinsically linked to the EU-legislated need for countries to carry out risk assessments, risk management capability assessments and disaster risk management plans.

Participants discussed the development and implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies and disaster risk management plans at the local level and the critical role of coordinating governance structures such as National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The European Union encourages more coordination across sectors and stakeholders, working to increase the sharing of best practice in disaster risk reduction. One of the main priorities of the Sendai Framework is the need for improved risk governance, through established and active National Platforms which have assisted in the delivery of several EU legislative requirements in the field of disaster risk management.

Beyond activity implementation, understanding progress through regular monitoring is critical. An exploratory exercise by the European Commission and UNDRR demonstrated which global Sendai targets and monitoring indicators may be directly or indirectly linked to a wealth of EU legislation including policies and instruments in civil protection, climate and environment, to infrastructure, agriculture, security and research.           

The participants were from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Malta, Norway, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, and UK.

The meeting also announced that the 2020 European Civil Protection Forum will take place in Brussels next October, and the 2021 European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) will take place in Portugal (dates to be announced).

VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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