Towards an EU Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries
Brussels, 11 August 2008 - Further to the Stakeholders Meeting on Disaster Prevention in April 2008, the European Commission – DG Development – launched a public consultation aimed at gathering opinions on disaster risk reduction with the view of informing the development of an EU Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Developing Countries.
Many of Caritas Europa member organisations are engaged on the ground with local communities in participatory programmes focusing on disaster preparedness, prevention and management, risk reduction as well as community resilience. Nourished by this rich experience, Caritas Europa submitted comments to the European Commission, in support of the response put together by a Working Group of VOICE, the European umbrella organisation of humanitarian NGOs, into which participated some of Caritas Europa member organisations.
Caritas Europa welcomed the initiative of the Commission as a very important and appropriate response to considerations enshrined in the EU Consensus on Development and the EU Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. In addition, it specifically called for:
- An EU DRR Strategy, which does not confine itself to the risks relating to natural hazards, but also to elements of conflicts and of which the remit covers slow-onset multi-rooted disasters, such as the current food crisis;
- More research to be done around DRR in relation to conflict and long-term crises;
- Policy coherence to be applied at all level of the EU to make DRR and poverty alleviation effective;
- A dual approach in combining the mainstreaming of DRR into humanitarian and development policies and programmes while at the same time designing specific DRR-focused strategies and activities;
- A right-based approach and gender mainstreaming to be consistently applied throughout the Strategy and field programmes while elements of education and awareness raising, towards EU and national policy-makers, as well towards the civil society, should also be included;
- A proper incorporation of community participation and their coping strategies in disasters – with particular consideration for the needs of most vulnerable and marginalised groups.
The European Commission has now the opportunity to use the inputs received during the consultation process for the preparation of its Communication foreseen for adoption in October of this year. It remains to be seen how the Council and the European Parliament will deal with this issue, and if they will decide to follow up with the EU Members States in the course of the French and the Czech Presidency. Caritas Europa will be monitoring this process very closely.
Woman wading in flooded street of the city of Telek Gong (Thailand) as the result of the Tsunami that devastated most part of South East Asia in early 2007
Picture: Caritas Internationalis
Note to editors
Caritas Europa is a member of NGO Voice (Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies)