Baku, Azerbaijan, June 10
Ministers and top civil protection and disaster management officials from the Eastern Partnership countries will gather in Brussels on June 13 to review the progress made in civil protection cooperation in the region, at the final conference of the EU-funded Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters in the ENPI East Region (PPRD East).
Ministers responsible for civil protection and directors of the national disaster management authorities of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, will meet senior officials of the European Commission and the civil protection departments of EU member states at the event, to review the achievements of the four-year PPRD East program, also in the light of the growing global concern with the impact of disasters.
The main objective of the six million euros worth PPRD East program was to contribute to the development of the partner countries' civil protection and disaster risk management capacities and to bring them closer to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Its main achievements include the establishment of national procedures for requesting assistance by the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre, the creation of an environment conducive for regional cooperation, and the promotion of EU disaster risk management practices, such as the provisions of the EU SEVESO Directives on industrial accidents, which are being incorporated in the national legislations of Belarus and Azerbaijan.
Program trainings and exercises on international cooperation during disaster response, and workshops on disaster prevention and preparedness were attended by over 1,400 disaster management experts.
The program's studies and recommendations on national civil protection systems triggered important advances in partner countries, such as in the inter-institutional coordination arrangements for disaster response in Georgia and Ukraine.
The development of the Electronic Regional Risk Atlas (ERRA) increased the knowledge and awareness of disaster risk exposure in all six partner countries, and the program also supported the implementation of awareness raising activities on the risk of fires, floods, earthquakes, landslides and industrial accidents, which reached hundreds of thousands of people.
The conference will provide an opportunity to the civil protection ministries and directors general for networking, discussing the disaster risk management issues at stake in the regional agenda, drawing on the state of the art tools and methods of the Eastern Partnership cooperation on civil protection and preparing orientations for future regional collaboration initiatives in disaster prevention, preparedness and response.