European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement


The EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement has always given an absolute priority to the initiatives aiming to develop the programs on education, training and information, which represents the "cornerstone” of the culture of risk and a basis for a clever risks prevention policy.  Its actions in the domain are embedded within the European Programme of Training in Risk Sciences FORM-OSE (Formation Ouest, Sud, Est) whose objective is to stimulate the training in Risk Sciences at three levels: 

School level

Since its creation, the Agreement has devoted a major interest to the awareness of school-age children.  This priority given to the activities concerning risks prevention for children rely on the following facts:

  • more receptive to messages of prevention (curious and not conditioned); 

  • better information "transmitters” within their family;

  • most vulnerable targets with respect to risks.

Two types of activities were consequently privileged for this age group: 

  • awareness to risks prevention,

  • safety setting of school establishments.

Ø Education to risks knowledge

A series of conferences on this topic, organized by the European Centre for Risk Prevention (CLST) of Sofia (Bulgaria), allowed to compare the initiatives engaged in the Member States and to coordinate the network of the Centres working in this field.

Relevant actions were thus identified and some of which are already committed:

  • “Risk Sciences:  training at the school level" (1997)

- To integrate a risks prevention training (provided by sectoral or specific teachers) at the pre-school/school level programs;

- To work out a common base training on risks prevention and to make an inventory of the pedagogical/multimedia tools on risks prevention;

- To promote an Euro-Mediterranean Day on Risks Prevention and Childhood.

  • “Risk prevention education to school and pre-school levels” (1998)

- To recognize the right of children to risks education and prevention, protection and mutual help measures training;

- To support a pilot project on risks prevention training for school children via new information technologies;

- Pilot project "Seismic risk in school establishments” (physical behaviour of the building, internal organization in front of the seism, reflex attitudes to hold...).

  • "School community in front of risks management” (2000)

- To stress the right of the population (especially that at school-level) to be informed as regards risks prevention and behaviour to be adopted in case of crisis; 

- To create a Euro-Mediterranean Network of school establishments for the promotion of the “Culture of Risk” based on the installation of safety plans; 

- To write legal training modules on safety in school establishments available for the trainers’ training programmes.

Ø Site Be Safe.Net

The European Centre of Nicosia (Cyprus) is setting up a multilingual Internet site "Be Safe Net” in which three other Centres of the Agreement participate:  the CERG of Strasbourg (France), the CUEBC of Ravello (Italy) and the CLST of Sofia (Bulgaria). 

This project has as origin the conclusions of the meeting on "Education to risks prevention at school level” from October 2002 in Sofia which decided the creation of a Website intended for school establishments actors (school-level children, teachers, administrative and technical staff, families and local authorities) in order to:

  • Inform: regulations, tools for sensitizing and preparation to the risk, experiments; 

  • Train: children, teachers, administrative and technical staff, local authorities; 

  • Produce: games, videos, photographs...; 

  • Interact: newsgroups and electronic conferences, investigations.

Link to the website:


Ø Risks prevention in school establishments

The conclusions of the international seminar "Safety of the teaching process and of buildings in school establishments", held in Sofia (December 2000), leaded to the drafting of an Euro-Mediterranean Protocol for Risks Prevention in school establishments which is articulated around the following points: 

  • Evaluation of the specific vulnerability of the establishment,

  • Take into account persons’ safety,

  • Staff training (head of establishment, teachers, administratives, technicians),

  • Awareness and association of the pupils’ parents,

  • Organization of the internal safety plan and posting of instructions,

  • Periodic simulations with common analysis of the experience feedbacks,

  • Integration in the educational project of the establishment.

In parallel, under the impulse of the European University Centre for Cultural Heritage (CUEBC) of Ravello (Italy), an Euro-Mediterranean Network of School Establishments for the promotion of the risk culture joining this Protocol was set up.  Its major objective is the analysis of the various types of intrinsic risks of school establishments related to their structures, their vulnerability and their environment in order to define an establishment project specifying: 

         - an adequate adjustment project of the establishment structures; 

         - a teaching project for the establishment’s pupils, families and staff.


Link to the website:

University level

The University level training programme of the Agreement aims at promoting the training of regional and local risk managers in public and private sectors and some specific training activities will be introduced, related to the use of new tools developed for the risk management support. 

To better define the needs for private and public sectors in the field of risk management, the Agreement launched in 1995 an inquire on job opportunities in France whose main conclusion was to identify that the proposed posts would correspond to general bac+4 (Bachelor) levels supplemented by complementary trainings, which led the Agreement to put the stress on post-graduate (Master) training.

Following this report, the Agreement collaborated in the setting up of various professionalized post-graduate trainings in various member countries and on various aspects of major hazards management.


Ø European Master on Disaster Medicine (San Marino)

The Agreement, through its specialized centre European Centre for Disaster Medicine (CEMEC) of San Marino, was one of the promoters of this training and materialized in the organization of a European Certificate in Disaster Medicine (transformed now into a Master) which associated Università del Piemonte Orientale, Vreij Universitiet Brussel, Università della Repubblica di San Marino and the CEMEC. 

The Master wants to provide a clear sight of the major concepts in disasters medical preparation and management so that the graduates can: 

         - to evaluate the health hazards and to take part in the associated medical preparation; 

         - to direct the medical team and organise/manage evaluation and debriefing sessions; 

         - to provide awareness to disasters management in the medical staff reaction; 

         - to undertake research on the medical aspects of disasters. 

The EMDM is thus a one year Master limited to 35 pupils because of its educational structure: 

         - a self-training based on the training through problems resolution; 

         - a presential course with debates and exercises on problems resolution; 

         - a report related to a topic on disasters medicine or management;

         - a final examination including an electronic exercise of disaster simulation.   

Link to the website:

Ø Speciality “Risk Science” of the “Risks Environment” Master (Montpellier)

This speciality, approved by the Agreement as an European master, associates in a global multi-disciplinary approach the three Universities of Montpellier and the Ecole des Mines of Alès (France).  Supported by the European University Pole of Montpellier, the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory on Risk management (EMORI), a specialized centre of the Agreement, also cooperates in its organization.  The teaching staff associates academics and high level executives (of the administrations or public and private companies) concerned with risk management.  The training intends to provide a high level general culture concerning risk, applicable in functions corresponding to either universitary or professional profiles (continuous training).  Among the professional opportunities, one can outline: 

         - To analyze and quantify risks situations,

         - To evaluate the consequences of an exposure to a danger
            (technical, economic, legal, anthropological, cultural ... consequences)  

         - To propose solutions adapted to each situation.   

Link to the website:

Ø Specialised Mastère in Risk Management on Territories – Applied Urban Cindynic (EISTI, Cergy Pontoise)

Opened to the holders of a Master or of a Bachelor plus 3 years of professional experience, this Mastère supported by private and public partners (within them the Agreement which promoted its creation) aims at training risks territorial managers to the technological and strategic developments by associating theoretical lessons, personal research work in companies and the defence of a professional thesis. 

The phase of formal training (6 months) comprises 10 modules on topics as various as: 

  • Principles and general action of risk management

  • Responsibilities of the territorial organizations facing risks

  • Natural and technological risks

  • Urban risks and public safety

  • Risks and public health

  • Risks, cyber criminality and data processing

  • Risks and durable development

Link to the website:

Ø Projects being studied

Other aspects of risk prevention and management should be the subject of academic specialized training and the specialized Centres of the Agreement can play a catalysis role in the setting up of such post-graduate training projects. 

It is also important to promote the major risks lectures within more general trainings such as the engineers and architects schools as well as other technical trainings on building and public works.

Professional level

The already operational Masters, as well as the above mentioned projects, at the university level have in general a continuous training option addressed to the professionals. Nevertheless, shorter and more professionalized trainings are also necessary to ensure the best follow up of risks.


Ø A pilot project concerning technological risks

This need for vocational trainings was felt in particular in the field of technological risks and the Agreement thus launched a pilot project of training of specialized inspectors whose missions include the following tasks: 

  • Checking and promotion of the conformity of the regulated plants to the relevant environmental requirements fixed by the legislation,

  • Control of the incidences in regulated plants in order to know if complementary inspections/controls are needed for the provisions application (in particular the granting, modification or cancellation of the authorization or licence) to guarantee the respect of the law requirements.

Under the initiative of the Ministry for the Regional Planning, Water and Environment of the Kingdom of Morocco, a training course for a first Moroccan promotion of Environmental Inspectors was set up in July 2004.  This initiative was implemented thanks to the support and the co-operation of the French INESC (National Institute of Civil Safety Studies) and of the REMIFOR (Draguignan, France), which carried out all the programme of interactive educational tele-training via satellite (e-learning).

Over 20 registered candidates, 19 succeeded the knowledge control tests and obtained the Environmental Inspector Diploma.  This first promotion made a point of writing the first Moroccan Charter of Environmental Inspectors.  It is expected that the second promotion of Inspectors will be formed before the end of the year 2006 and to evaluate the repercussions of this initiative for its possible adaptation to the needs for other Member States.


Ø Training trainers:  the school of civil protection of Kosovo

Following the request addressed in December 1999 by the Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Pristina to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Agreement implemented a program to support the creation of a Civil Protection Force through the setting up of the School of Civil Protection of Kosovo. 

This program was translated in the following actions: 

  • realization of the risks analysis in this area (March-April 2000) to define the principal roles to attribute to this Civil Protection Force; 

  • participation in the creation of the School of Civil Protection in Kosovo allowing to transform the UCK into a civil protection system, the KPC; 

  • organization of a 6 months course to train the executives of this new School; 

  • production of a "Handbook” of 800 pages for the training of the teachers of the School of Civil Protection (in English and translated into Albanian). 

This program was implemented in co-operation with the International Organization of Migrations (OIM) and the structure of the United Nations in Kosovo (UNMIK) and nine specialized Centres of the Agreement took part in this initiative.