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