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Natural disasters and climate hazards: Congress calls on its members to be better prepared

Council of Europe member states are increasingly confronted with natural disasters and climate hazards, and local and regional authorities are in the first line to respond. To do this in the most effective, yet democratic manner, it will be crucial for local and regional authorities to develop a risk management culture, promote territorial solidarity and induce economic, ecological, and social transitions leading to more resilience, finds a report by Jean-Paul Bastin (Belgium, EPP/CCE) and Christian Debève (France, ILDG) presented at the Congress 46th Session on 28 March 2024.

Based on case studies carried out in Belgium, Spain and Türkiye, the report concludes that a concerted effort will be needed, combining short-term and long-term action in a systemic and comprehensive approach to solve both the most urgent problems and get ready for facing upcoming challenges.

The co-rapporteurs emphasised the importance of citizen participation and transparent communication at all times during the crisis management cycle, and of setting up adequate funding mechanisms, holding regular exchanges of good practice and data, providing training programmes to professionals and volunteers, and involving young people at all stages of the process – prevention, relief, training, academic studies, etc-.

Supporting the debate and giving an account of the serious floods that hit her territory only last December and January, Minister for Interior and Sports of the State of Lower Saxony in Germany Daniela Behrens emphasised the importance of European cross-border solidarity and cooperation in matters of disaster protection, both supporting each other with materials and expertise.

The debate was backed up by a photo exposition entitled “Local and regional resilience to natural disasters and climate hazards - a thought-provoking exhibition for local and regional decision-makers“, presenting the images taken in the context of the case studies.



Congress Strasbourg 28 March 2024
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