EU strategy for cooperation in Disaster Management with non-EU Countries, International and Regional Organisations
Natural and man-made disasters know no borders. When a country hit by a disaster cannot cope alone with the consequences, it can appeal to the international community for assistance. The EU may facilitate the coordination of its Member States’ assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition, the EU and its Member States recognise the need and value of cooperating with other countries and organisations before a disaster strikes.
Exchanging good practices in prevention and preparedness is the mainstay of such cooperation. Information on EU law, knowledge gained and best practices in disaster management will be shared with candidate countries, potential candidate and neighbouring countries as a priority; preference will be given to regional/multi-country cooperation.
The exchange of good practice and cooperation during emergency response is also pursued through bilateral agreements with a limited number of countries.
EU candidate countries can sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Commission which gives them membership to the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument.
A Commission Decision approving a Memorandum of Understanding participation by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the Civil Protection Financial Instrument and the Civil Protection Mechanism was adopted on 15.2.2011 (C(2011) 862 final ). The country will become the 32nd state to participate in the Mechanism when the Memorandum of Understanding is ratified internally and the agreement enters into force. This is expected to take place before the end of 2012.
In December 2010 DG ECHO launched a programme for civil protection cooperation with the candidate countries and potential countries. The programme is financed through the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the beneficiary countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99, and Turkey. The Programme has a budget of €4m and an implementation period of two years.
The programme’s overall objective is to bring the beneficiary countries closer to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and to contribute to the development of their civil protection capacities. To this end, civil protection experts from these countries are invited to participate in three different types of activity:
Lot 1: Training programme including an expert-exchange component
Lot 2: Two table top and two regional exercises
Lot 3: 12 workshops on key topics: Host-Nation Support (HNS); Early Warning
Systems (EWS); '112' systems; etc
The final newsletter summarizing the activities and the results of the programme can be found here.
The Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters Programme (PPRD South) is designed to strengthen prevention, preparedness and response capacities in civil protection. It also aims to bring the Mediterranean Partner Countries progressively closer to the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism.
Funded by the European Union, PPRD South started in March 2009 and will run until 2012. It has a budget of €5 million and provides a framework for reviewing existing civil protection/disaster management capacities and legislative framework, the preparation of a regional Risk Atlas, capacity building measures, increased cooperation with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and the organisation of technical assistance activities. A continuation of the programme is already envisaged for the next three years (2013-2015).
PPRD South is managed by a consortium led by the Italian Department for Civil Protection and includes the Civil Protection Authorities of France, Egypt and Algeria and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The programme’s beneficiary countries are Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia, Turkey, Israel, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. Mauritania and Libya participate as observers. For more information, see www.euromedcp.eu.
One of the flagship initiatives of the Eastern Partnership is the 2008 EU plan to upgrade relations with its Eastern Partners (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia). The initiative is known as the ‘Prevention of, preparedness for, and response to natural and man-made disasters’ (PPRD East) programme.
PPRD East was launched in December 2009 in Gothenburg by EU Member States, European Economic Area (EEA) and candidate countries; representatives from the Eastern Partnership countries also participate. Programme implementation began in January 2011. PPRD EAST aims to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters affecting the Eastern partner countries and the EU in the framework of joint commitment to greater cooperation on disaster management. Cooperation will also contribute to social and political stability in the region and support countries’ efforts to adapt to climate change.
During the first four years of the project, a total of €6 million is available for: reviewing existing civil protection/disaster management capacities and legislative framework; preparation of a regional Risk Atlas; capacity building measures; increased cooperation with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism; the organisation of technical assistance activities.
For more information, see http://euroeastcp.eu/
The European Commission and the Attorney General's Department – Emergency Management Australia – signed an administrative arrangement on cooperation in civil protection on 1 September 2008. The agreement covers among other things exchange of information during major emergencies and exchange of emergency management best practices.
The European commission and the Chilean Government, through the Chilean National Emergency Office (ONEMI), signed a letter of intent on cooperation in Disaster Management on 25 November 2011. Both parties recognise that prevention, mitigation and preparedness are the most effective ways to respond to the increasing threat posed by disasters. They agree to cooperate with a view to promoting the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in relevant sectors and institutions.
The parties identified a number of areas for possible cooperation, among which are the exchange of best practices on disaster preparedness, mitigation with local communities in disaster prone areas, the exchange of know-how, risk mapping and risk assessment practices, sharing information and lessons learned on emergencies.
The European Commission and the Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters of Russia (EMERCOM) signed new administrative arrangement on practical cooperation in the field of civil protection on 22 March 2013. Cooperation with Russia in the field of civil protection is one of the priorities of the common external security space in the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
The administrative arrangement allows the Commission to obtain information on available Russian air transport capabilities and their price via a broker during major emergencies. It also ensures reciprocity by pledging mutual assistance during major emergencies and closer cooperation between the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) and EMERCOM on assessing the environmental impacts of disasters.
Mutual exchanges of experts from the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre and representatives from EMERCOM take place annually. Russian experts also participate in Civil Protection Mechanism training courses. Both partners recognise the increasing effectiveness of investing in prevention, mitigation and preparedness activities, and in the current year intend to update and extend their cooperation to those areas.
In 2007, the European Commission and Ukraine agreed to cooperate more closely on civil protection matters. An administrative arrangement was concluded on 8 December 2008 between the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) and the Ministry of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Popular Protection from the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe.
The administrative arrangement seeks to facilitate rapid disaster response should an emergency occur in the EU or Ukraine, as well as the provision of mutual assistance. The agreement also aims at deepening cooperation on the environmental impact assessment of disasters, and at exploring the most effective ways of using available civil protection capabilities. Experts may be invited to specific technical workshops on civil protection issues or training sessions, and as observers to exercises organised by the EU/Ukraine.
The European Commission and the US Department of Homeland and Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) signed an administrative arrangement to create a framework for information sharing and knowledge exchange on 16 November 2011.Their respective actions are detailed in a work plan agreed between the parties along the needs and priorities identified. The information sharing will concern risk assessment and mapping, lessons learned (and implemented) from disasters, prevention measures, scenario planning and exercising, with particular attention to mega disasters (low probability – high impact).
An Administrative Arrangement in the field of civil protection was signed on 30 May 2012 between the European Commission and the Emergency Situations Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova.
The Administrative Arrangement seeks to enhance exchange of information and cooperation between the parties in the field of disaster prevention, preparedness and response and to prepare the grounds for smoother cooperation during emergencies. The agreement will be implemented through bi-annual working programmes agreed by both parties.
The EU and the three countries party to the European Economic Area (EEA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – have a special relationship; an agreement ensures that the internal market and various EU programmes and activities are extended to these three states. All three participate fully in both the Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument.
The European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) – Open partial agreement on the prevention of, protection against and organisation of relief in major natural and technological disasters – was adopted in March 1987 by the Council of Europe. The purpose of the agreement is to promote closer cooperation among member states on preventing and responding to natural and technological disasters. Work focuses on policy making and scientific and technical coordination, including development of early warning systems and a significant number of research centres. Not all EU Member States are party to this agreement. The Commission enjoys observer status.
In October 2004, the European Commission and UN OCHA agreed on a system of close cooperation and coordination for disaster response (Joint Standard Operating Procedures for coordination in disaster response). The EU works closely with UN experts to ensure that European assistance is effectively integrated into the overall relief effort coordinated by the UN. During a response to an emergency, information is exchanged both at the headquarters level and in the field.
As far as disaster preparedness is concerned, the Commission works very closely with UN OCHA on the development of training programmes. UN representatives are invited to the Commission's civil protection training courses and exercises, and vice versa. This is important to ensure that EU and UN experts are able to work well together.
The EU and the UN have taken part in several joint missions. These can take different forms, such as a joint assessment by a combined EU and UN team, or a team of EU experts integrated into a UN team. Sometimes the EU and UN operate from a common, on-site operational centre (OSOCC) – for example during the response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, integrated into the Emergency Services Branch of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is the United Nations’ mechanism for mobilising and coordinating the international response to environmental emergencies. It is a joint initiative between UN OCHA and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Following the signing of an informal cooperation paper in December 2005, there have been a number of emergencies during which the European Civil Protection Mechanism and the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit worked together, pooling expertise in environmental emergencies and maximising the overall impact of assistance provided to a disaster-stricken country. The emergencies included an oil spill off the Lebanese coast in July 2006; a chemical spill in the Ivory Coast in September 2006; and a joint environmental emergency mission to Ukraine in March 2010 to evaluate the risk of a dam break and pollution in a former mining area.
The European Commission strongly supports all international efforts, including those coordinated by the United Nations, to increase disaster risk reduction worldwide.
The European Commission therefore actively supported the World Conference for Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Japan in January 2005 following the Tsunami. This conference was one of the milestone events that led to the formulation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.
Cooperation between UN ISDR and Commission has been strengthened in recent years. The implementation of the two Communications adopted by the Commission in 2009 (on disaster prevention within EU and disaster risk reduction in developing countries) contribute to the implementation of the HFA (Hyogo framework for action) at EU level.
The Commission also actively participated to different sessions of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and is actively involved in the meetings of the European forum for disaster risk reduction.