As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, disasters are often not confined by national borders. Recently EU legislators revised the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) with the objective of stepping up cross-border collaboration between Member States and Participating States (EU Neighbourhood countries and Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) beneficiaries). While strong measures to manage risk already exist, cross-border cooperation can be further enhanced.
In this context, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism launched a Call for Proposals on Prevention and Preparedness Projects on Civil Protection and Marine Pollution.
The Call for Proposals focuses on two priorities:
- Developing cross-border risk assessments:
A report released in 2018/2019 revealed that, while cross-sectoral interdependencies of risks are tackled to some extent in risk assessments, a cross-border dimension is still mostly missing. The Call for Proposals will co-finance activities that aim to assess risks with cross-border impacts, either through building on existing risk assessments or developing new ones.
The Call expects risk assessments to achieve outcomes including: joint data/information-sharing platforms; a network of competent authorities at national and sub-national level for specific risks established by the assessments; cross-border risk management action plans.
- Enhancing cross-border emergency management:
Mutual understanding of civil protection and emergency management structures, work procedures and culture are essential for effective cross-border collaborations. Such cooperation can be of value when preparing for risks with a potential high impact but a low likelihood of occurrence (Hi-Lo risks). In these cases, a joint preparation with neighbouring regions using one common plan instead of several separate plans is often more efficient. While new activities are welcome, collaboration can build upon the knowledge gained from regions that have a long tradition of cross-border collaboration.
The Call for Proposals will co-finance activities that aim to enhance cross-border disaster preparedness through activities that may include: testing, demonstration and/or implementation of innovative practices to enhance the prevention of, and preparedness for disasters; activities to develop methods to support decision-making in disaster risk management; activities to promote harmonised cross-border approaches for assessing and communicating risks.
The Call expects activities to enhance of the understanding of the institutional context of emergency management in neighbouring countries; identify existing gaps to cross-border emergency response; strengthen cross-border response plans. Examples of such activities could include: cross-border training programmes; development of cross-border communication tools; agreements regarding cooperation in emergency management.
The end users of both priorities will be civil protection authorities and stakeholders in Member States, IPA beneficiaries and European Neighbourhood Policy countries that share a border. Proposals could play a large role in ensuring the safety of citizens living in cross-border regions.
If you are interested in this Call for Proposals, please follow this link.