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Resilience of critical entities: good multi-level cross-sectoral collaboration crucial for disaster preparedness, risk reduction and reinforcing resilience  

The European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) discussed the role of cities and regions in reinforcing the resilience of critical entities during its plenary session on 1 July. To ensure a comprehensive approach, each Member State should have a strategy prepared in cooperation with local and regional authorities, setting out objectives and policy measures based on an assessment of all natural and man-made risks that may affect the provision of essential services.

Critical entities are operators of infrastructures that are essential for the functioning of our society and economy. Although the bulk of legislation in this field is set at EU or national level, local and regional authorities best know the territory and have major responsibilities protecting the areas in which critical infrastructures are located. While the presence of critical infrastructure provides an opportunity for local development, it also poses a risk in the event of a disaster, with potentially serious impact on local communities, the environment and the economy.

Mario Guarente (IT/ECR), Mayor of Potenza and rapporteur of the opinion on the Resilience of Critical Entities , stated that: " It is imperative that critical infrastructures are adequately protected against a wide spectrum of threats, be they natural or man-made, unintentional or with malicious intent. Critical entities must be resilient wherever and whenever disruptions appear. To this end, communication and reporting measures with regard to risk levels should be promoted vis-à-vis the local administrations and the people living in the areas concerned. Particular attention should be paid to the condition of existing physical infrastructure for the purposes of establishing suitable programmes for upgrading the existing infrastructure or constructing new ones."

Local leaders welcome the fact that the scope of the proposed directive has been substantially extended to cover energy, transport, health, drinking water, wastewater, digital infrastructure, public administration and space. As resilience concerns all levels of governance, coordination and good multilevel cross-sector collaboration for disaster preparedness, risk reduction and reinforcing resilience is crucial.

Considering the dramatic experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic, CoR members call for the strengthening of distribution chains for basic necessities by diversifying distribution networks and increasing the number of possible suppliers. The opinion also highlights the need to bolster risk management governance by promoting cooperation across borders and between Member States and points to the added value of local and regional authorities in cross-border situations, particularly when it comes to understanding risks and assessing the gravity and potential consequences of incidents.

Further information:

· Evaluation of Council Directive 2008/114 on the identification and designation of European Critical Infrastructure and the assessment of the need to improve their protection, SWD(2019) 308 final


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