EFG attended on the 23 March the 122nd Committee of the Regions (COR) plenary session. During the session, the Action Plan on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was subject to debate, as well as the more general work of the COR on Natural Hazards. The debates were particularly interesting and all highlighted the consensus on the importance of greater and closer collaboration inside of Europe for better prevention and intervention in case of Disaster. Many comments made during the debate echoed sentiments shared by the EFG and proved the relevance of both COR and EFG’s work.
In his opening statement, Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, highlighted some key elements that particularly resonated with EFG’s missions. Talking about the importance of Regions and Territories across Europe, he insisted that “local authorities are at the front line for preventing and responding to disasters. And they know local vulnerabilities best”. This attention from a European level of power towards local authorities is shared by EFG whose main mission is to represent its National Members and their valuable skills and knowledge. Aside from national and regional authorities, Christos Stylianides also highlighted the importance of the cooperation with the private sector, which is, again, a sentiment shared by EFG, as an organisation representing professionals in all fields of geosciences. Finally, Christos Stylianides drew the attention of the hemicycle to the future of Natural Hazards: “Natural disasters will not stop. As a matter of fact, their impact will increase. We need to be better prepared to be ready before disaster strikes. And we must not forget the link between disaster reduction and sustainable development”. This vision is shared by the EFG, particularly reflects the work of EFG’s Panel of Experts on Natural Hazards, and more broadly the work of European Geologists throughout their many different projects on sustainable development and use of resources.
The work of the Panel of Experts, illustration of how this vision translates into action, can be overviewed through different press releases on “Geoscience, a tool for civil protection against earthquakes“, “Geoscience, a tool for civil protection against floods”,and “Geoscience as tool on civil protection against natural hazards“, as well as through the recently published advisory document on “Disaster Risk Reduction from natural hazards”.
Image credit: 22 March 2017, 122nd Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions Belgium – Brussels – March 2017 (C) European Union / Anthony Dehez, Creative Commons