Good civil protection governance for effective disaster risk reduction will be the main theme addressed during the EU-funded PPRD South Programme workshop on Civil Protection Organisational Models scheduled in Geneva, Switzerland, on 14-16 February 2012.
During the workshop, which includes a meeting with Margareta Walström, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, 22 strategic planning experts from the national civil protection authorities of Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Turkey, will discuss with the European Commission, United Nations and private sector international experts about the key functions, responsibilities and organizational models of national civil protection organizations that help minimize human, economic and environmental losses due to disasters. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be represented by Olga Slagalo and Milivoje Popovic from the Protection and Rescue Sector of the Ministry of Security.
According to the United Nations “There are many examples of good governance in relation to disaster risk reduction over the world. In many countries, however, legal and regulatory regimes for disaster reduction are to be further developed, institutional frameworks and mechanisms are to be strongly improved, levels of participation need decisive steps forward, and additional capacities and resources are required”.
Taking into account the challenges and priorities of disaster risk management in their countries, the participants will be able to learn the recent developments and trends concerning the organization of civil protection services, identify strengths and weaknesses of their organisations, learn from each other’s experience and discuss among them and with the experts possible improvements.
In the past decade, the international debate on how to better provide disaster risk management services has advanced remarkably in the wake of devastating natural disasters like the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and after the UN initiatives such as the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe (Japan). National models need to evolve – was the result of the conference – from a merely response system to include also hazard forecasting and prevention activities. A further important step is to build a strong national agency for disaster risk management acting as national focal point for providing emergency response and managing old and new risks like climate change.
The challenges posed by climate change to the Mediterranean civil protection systems concern increasing weather and climate hazards and vulnerability of communities. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), middle-income developing countries – like all PPRD South Partner Countries except Israel and Palestinian Authority – bear the largest burden in terms of fatality rates and economic losses associated with weather, climate, and geophysical events. During the period from 2001 to 2006, losses amounted to about 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) for middle-income countries, while this ratio has been about 0.3% of GDP for low-income countries and less than 0.1% of GDP for high-income countries. During the period from 1970 to 2008, over 95% of deaths from natural disasters occurred in developing countries.
Urgent actions are required to reduce climate-related risk in the Mediterranean countries through constant efforts to analyse the causes of disasters, protect critical infrastructure such as schools and health facilities, reinforce buildings, relocate settlements, protect the environment and, most of all, avoid risky development.