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Natural and man-made disasters have a devastating effect on people’s lives, their livelihood and the environment. The neighbourhood south region is particularly exposed to the risks of natural and man-made disasters, which can have a significant negative and cross-border impact on populations, the environment, resources and infrastructures, and could  undermine  the  region’s sustainable  development. 

The changing climate affects the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate  events,  and can  result  in  unprecedented  extreme  weather  and  climate  events.  Therefore, regional civil protection co-operation in the ENP  South  region  has  been  an important  dimension  of  the  political  and  security  pillar  of  the  Barcelona Process and its political  importance  has  been  reaffirmed  by  several  Euromed  ministerial  meetings  in  recent  years.  Moreover, it has been identified  as  one  of  the  key  initiatives within the Union for the Mediterranean at the Paris summit and Marseille ministerial meeting in 2008.

The most important of risks in the Mediterranean are:

  • Seismic risks
  • Risks related to tsunami
  • Disasters caused  by  extreme  meteorological  conditions (which  may  or  not  be related to climate change)
  • Hydro-geological events (such as floods/flash floods)
  • Forest fires
  • Health risks (epidemic, pandemic)
  • Urban and industrial disasters  (e.g. explosions, chemical  accidents  or  toxic  gas leakage)
  • Marine pollution (e.g. oil spills)


At the EU level, the European Parliament, the Council and EU Member States have called for more action to prevent disasters. Since natural and man-made disasters do not stop at  EU  borders,  it  is  important  that  actions  are  well  co-ordinated  at  regional level  between  the  EU  Member  States  and  their  southern neighbours  to  better prevent,  prepare  and  respond  to possible  disasters. 

It is therefore vital to join forces and not to address the consequences of disasters only at the EU level, but to closely co-operate with ENP South partner countries to work on minimising the risks and possible disaster effects. This will contribute to establishing a more integrated and co-operative approach to disaster prevention, preparedness and management among the EU and ENP South partner countries. Stimulating the development of a regional   approach   in   this   field especially with   regard   to   prevention   and preparedness will thus play a key role to improve civil protection in the ENP South region


Read more on:

  • EU strategy for supporting disaster risk reduction in developing countries (EU Communication – 2009):  download here
  • A new response to a changing Neighbourhood (EU Communication 2011): download here
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reductions: Hyogo Framework for Action: Click here