A group of European Commissioners brainstormed today on how best to join forces to step up the EU policies on disaster management. The international community is holding crucial consultations on how to prevent disasters and reduce their losses in the years after 2015 when the Hyogo Framework for Action expires.
Reducing the risk of disasters is linked to Europe's agenda on growth and competitiveness - adaptation means avoiding losses and reducing instability risks, while investment in resilience has proven to generate substantial economic returns. But also, as one of the world's largest aid donors and trading partners, the European Union will continue to be an active and positive force in the pursuit of resilience for nations and communities.
Resilience and disaster risk reduction require simultaneous action in many inter-linked areas - actually, most policies, whether local, national, regional or international, can have a resilience-boosting element. This is why the topic was discussed by several EU Commissioners who brought in ideas and expertise from their own policy areas. "Everyone understands that we need a whole of government approach and that if we work together then we will save lives and also help protect the European economy from the potentially massive costs that can arise from a natural disaster," Commissioner Georgieva said.
The European Commission is already leading the international efforts to boost the disaster resilience of the most vulnerable communities, through ambitious initiatives that link humanitarian and development aid, such as the SHARE initiative in the Horn of Africa and the AGIR plan for the Sahel region in Africa.