Evolving means: at first the objectives of the rapporteur, then the objectives of the commission and finally the objectives of the opinion.
The CoR Opinion calls in particular for:
sufficient funds to meet the civil protection needs at the local and regional level: national government should match these decentralised duties with adequate funding
an open data policy that permits to quote defence, security or commercial reasons to withheld information only when legitimate and strictly necessary. Commercial interests should not take precedence over public safety and wellbeing
further collaboration and investment in information systems and working with the private sector;
further studies on the role of mobile technology, the internet and social media in communicating disaster information
The CoR position on the future framework for disaster risk reduction has from the onset received significant attention from the European Commission and the UNISDR. One of its key messages: importance of public-private partnerships was at the heart of the European Business Summit, held annually in Brussels and attended by the highest level of EU politicians. The Rapporteur spoke there in the panel session featuring, amongst other, Commissioner Georgieva.
The Rapporteur has also been appointed to join the EU delegation to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March 2015. The meeting with new Commissioner has meanwhile been scheduled to take place on 23 January, ahead of the WCDRR, to prepare a joint position of the two institutions to Conference.
The key messages of the opinion (e.g. around the role of water treatment facilities, PPP, or involvement of the LRA in the design and implementation phase) were picked up by the European Commission's officials? and they fed into the EU position on negotiating draft. Likewise, the UN local authorities' forum - ICLEI - also recognised the importance of these strands and disseminated the CoR position amongst its members world-wide.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- recognises that LRAs hold institutional and political responsibility to protect their citizens and are often the first level of governance to respond in case of emergency by providing basic services and oversight and managing disasters as they happen. LRAs are the frontline of disaster management, responsible for prevention and immediate response and rescue operations;
- calls on LRAs to fully apply open data policy and permit defence, security or commercial reasons to withheld information only when legitimate and strictly necessary. Commercial interests should not take precedence over public safety and wellbeing;
- recommends further collaboration and investment in information systems and working with the private sector (who hold significant disaster-related information) so that disaster and disaster management data can be recorded, retrieved, analysed and used to plan for and mitigate the effects of future disasters;
- recognises the increasing role of mobile technology, the internet and social media in communicating disaster information and calls for further studies to be made of best practice in the use of digital communications in disasters.