"Regional and local authorities are in the front line when it comes to relating to local communities in the event of a natural disaster. They are also the most operational institutional level for the implementation of safety and reconstruction measures", said today PES Group President Catiuscia Marini to Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, who had joined the CoR members for a debate on Disaster Risk Reduction.
As Marini asserted, a lot has already been done in her home region, Umbria, in order to prevent earthquakes and, thanks to joint EU initiatives, major damages (such as the loss of human lives) have been avoided.
"Also as a consequence of climate change, natural disasters hit regions in every corner of Europe and show our joint vulnerability. We therefore need more coordination at EU level to make sure that we bring our knowledge and expertise together and make our territories more resilient", she stressed, calling for more funding under the European Regional Development Fund to be dedicated to supporting cities and regions in their efforts in preventing and managing natural disasters.
Her calls were welcomed by the Commissioner who highlighted the importance of equipping regional and local authorities with better instruments, in particular smaller local realities who often feel side-lined during catastrophic events.
The CoR adopted its opinion on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 on the same day.
On 13 October last year, the CoR and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) signed a five-year Action Plan to support EU cities and regions in taking more concerted action to reduce the impact of natural disasters.