emphasise the local and regional cross-border aspects of risk reduction, in particular, optimising local responses in case of a disaster, increase resilience to disasters, and facilitate learning and exchange of good practices among cross-border regions.
draw attention to the benefits of and promote cross-border cooperation to reduce and prevent disaster risks and increase resilience to disasters, particularly under civil protection policy, not least in the context of the revised EU Civil Protection legislation (Proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism) and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
One of the objectives in the Annual Work Programme 2019 was to "continue to advocate more preventive action and coordination, and will focus on the cross-border cooperation in disaster risk reduction, as a way to optimise local responses and increase resilience to disasters".
In May 2019, the rapporteur attended the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland and during the year he participated as a speaker at several conferences, such as the conference on "Cross-border management of natural disasters and problem-solving opportunities at regional level" in Innsbruck, Austria organised by the presidents of the regional councils of Tirol, Alto Adige and Trentino, or an event on cross-border cooperation in disaster resilience organised by the Regional Council of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy.
The European Commission, in its follow-up, took note of several suggestions contained in the CoR opinion, agreed with the CoR that cross-border dimension of risks would benefit from more attention and that European Cross-Border Mechanism is very relevant for disaster management. I also agreed with the CoR on the need for standardised terminology on disaster management across different civil protection authorities and aid coordination centres. The Commission also welcomed the CoRs' support to the "b-solutions" project stating that it intends to provide further support to address similar border obstacles.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- emphasises that effective cross-border cooperation would bring significant advantages for the 37.5% of the EU population living in border areas;
- finds that risk prevention and management plans should include risk scenarios on a broad cross-regional level;
- notes that there is a need to set up a shared database in certain cross-border areas, identifying materials, resources, equipment, specialised volunteers and resource deployment and logistics;
- highlights the need to promote a shared and standardised cross-border alert system; calls for standardised communication on prevention and shared operational procedures in emergencies;
- recommends involving LRAs more closely in EU-funded projects related to disaster risks, to ensure that they have continuity over time and can be replicated in other areas facing similar risks;
- emphasises the importance of providing incentives for young people to undertake training as well as the need for specific training for local administrators to raise their awareness and provide them with better information tools;
- underlines the need to boost e-learning platforms along the lines of the UCPM training programme, and to increase the availability of open online courses in the field of civil protection;
- urges the Member States to recognise and certify professional posts ("disaster risk managers") with multidisciplinary and cross-cutting knowledge, skills and competencies, who would assist local and regional administrators particularly in emergency situations and in planning;
- hopes that scientific committees will be set up to define risk scenarios more accurately and promote knowledge and skills networking, bringing together specialist expertise based on similar risk factors for homogeneous areas (e.g. Mediterranean forest fires, sudden or gradual flooding in central Europe, etc.).