18-19 October, Valencia – The Fourth UfM meeting of Civil Protection Directors-General of the Member States this week in Spain brought together a hundred officials from across the Euro-Mediterranean region to discuss the logistics of improving regional disaster risk management cooperation.
Participants exchanged ideas surrounding the creation of a Mediterranean Framework on Civil Protection, a voluntary platform which will translate the technical discussions of the UfM Regional Dialogue Platform on Civil Protection into efficient on the ground activities. Many view these as necessary given the context of increasingly complex disasters, such as earthquakes or extreme weather events, that are often amplified and made more frequent by climate change. This new framework, once concretised, would serve to complement and reinforce the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and associated Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), allowing actors on both shores of the Mediterranean to pool emergency prevention and response resources in a more effectively.
This summer was marked by devastating disasters across the Euro-Mediterranean region, from fires in Greece to flooding in Libya, a drought in Spain, an earthquake in Morocco, and, unfortunately, much more. There have, however, been multiple positive examples of aid and assistance from neighboring countries, a phenomenon that not only serves to optimize resources, but also to ensure that those most in need are not left behind.
Building on this experience, the Civil Protection Directors-General of the UfM member states debated pressing questions such as how a regional solidarity framework would be able to improve our understanding of emerging risks, whether strengthening Euro-Mediterranean governance would promote constructive science-based policies across the region, and the extent to which national authorities are prepared to integrate disaster risk management and reduction strategies.
Attendees also discussed the contents of a 2030 UfM Action Plan on Civil Protection that has the aim of encouraging member states to actively work towards making the Mediterranean Framework on Civil Protection a reality. The plan’s priorities include contributing to the development of a culture of risk awareness and resilience, fostering response preparedness through capacity development, promoting effective international disaster assistance, increasing resilience through inter-institutional cooperation and dialogue between the policy, operational and scientific communities, as well as a focus on monitoring, evaluation and learning.