The Finnish government has officially accepted the Peer Review report on its implementation of the global blueprint for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) which was adopted in 2005 and is due to be renewed next year at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan.
Earlier this week in Geneva, the result peer review report was handed over to the Finish government by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
The peer review process was conducted from 7-12 October in Helsinki, Finland, with Austria, France, Georgia and the UK acting as the peers. Over 37 stakeholders from 20 different stakeholder organisations were interviewed, including central government authorities and agencies, non-governmental organisations, volunteer organisations, academia and businesses.
Finland welcomed the peer review process with Finnish Ambassador Kairamo further noting "Although Finland is not highly prone to natural hazards, there are areas where good progress has been made, such as private sector and business continuity, open-data policy on risk-related information, early warning systems and use of research and technological innovation in policy making."
Commenting on the peer review process at the co-handing ceremony to Ambassador Kairamo, UNISDR Director, Elizabeth Longworth said, "We are pleased to see that the strong partnership with and support from the European Commission and the technical expertise of OECD, have worked towards a process that allows for a multi-stakeholder approach in viewing advances towards resilience to disasters.”
Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director at ECHO, stated: “Beyond the benefits for Finland, the peer review process is very important at EU level for fostering EU solidarity and strengthening the EU cooperation in disaster risk management. Now, with the new EU civil protection legislation all EU Members have supported the peer review process, which can be in the future widely used by Member States to improve risk management governance and share good practices.”
Praise for Finland's approach to DRR was also given by the OECD’s Stephane Jacobzone, saying “Finland’s 'whole of society' approach to build resilience to disasters... is a major achievement reflecting the country’s strengths in participatory governance, very well aligned with the OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Critical Risks."
The Peer Review in disaster risk management provides a framework for cooperation and mutual learning between EU Member States in the field of disaster risk management and civil protection. It has been acknowledged as an important tool for assessing the progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action and related EU disaster risk management policies contributing to its implementation. It effectively addresses subjectivity issues present in many self-reporting tools. The process has proven to be a great benefit to the countries involved and also provided an excellent exchange forum among the peers themselves, while stimulating a wider EU policy dialogue on disaster risk reduction.
After Finland, more countries are expected to follow suit as the importance of building disaster resilience gathers momentum within the EU and worldwide and the European Commission plans to upscale the reviewing processes in the years to come with opportunities for more countries to be reviewed.