At a time when European Southern countries faced, during this recent summer, unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires, Portugal hosted the 13th ministerial session of the Council of Europe’s European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) on 26 October 2016 in Lisbon.
Designed to strengthen international co-operation with a view to preventing natural and technological disasters and responding to them more effectively, the conference brought together ministers from the 25 States parties to the Agreement as well as representatives of organizations working in the field of disaster risk reduction to agree on priorities in this area and adopt an action plan for 2016-2020.
The participants addressed critical issues in particular:
- How to reconcile equal treatment of all citizens and special needs of the most vulnerable groups?
- How to make risk governance more effective by enlarging it to all pertinent non-governmental entities?
- How to ensure specific preparedness and put in place response tools for emerging risks with unknown potential consequences?
- How to adapt resilience strategies to contribute to a preventive civil protection culture?
- How to interact in real time with the population in order to make them effective actors in the face of hazards?
The meeting was opened by Ms Constança Urbano de Sousa, Minister of Internal Affairs of Portugal.