EU Regions Week - Discussions on Cross-Border Cooperation in DRR

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia European Committee of the Regions Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)
Speakers at the workshop during the EURW
European Week of Regions and Cities

Workshop session on “Bridging the Gap in Cross-Border Cooperation: Societal Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction” held in Brussels, Belgium

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) joined forces to hold a workshop on societal resilience, DRR and cross-border cooperation, as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities. The event, held in Brussels, Belgium, on 10 October 2023, brought together diverse perspectives from three esteemed speakers to shed light on the challenges European cities and regions face in mitigating and preventing the impacts of natural and man-made disasters, while exploring practical approaches to enhancing societal resilience and preparedness through broader cooperation across borders and across different levels of governance. 

Ms. Małgorzata Bartyna-Zielińska, Head of the Environment and Climate Department, City of Wroclaw of Poland (MCR2030 Resilience Hub), emphasized the significance of overcoming siloed thinking and varying perspectives among policymakers at the local and city government levels, particularly when dealing with cross-border river basins and the associated hazards. Joint responses and ownership are essential for addressing these new forms of disasters.

Ms. Sigrid Sengers, Mayor of Druten of the Netherlands, mentioned the "Room for the River" program, a nature-based solution introduced by the Dutch government to mitigate the risk of flooding. She underscored the importance of considering the diverse effects of climate change on the population and adapting policies across cross-border regions accordingly.

Mr. Christophe Clergeau, Member of the European Parliament, provided valuable insights into disaster risk management, emphasizing the challenge of anticipating future threats and the need to identify and protect vulnerable groups when disasters strike. He stressed the importance of assessing and analyzing vulnerability locally, but also at the European level, to foster collective action and response, as well as the necessity of preparedness for larger-scale crises and learning from the experiences of other regions.

This session, moderated by Mr. Andrew Bower of the UNDRR Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, also marked the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2023, observed on the 13th of October each year, serving as a reminder of the ongoing commitment to building resilience and reducing disaster risks.  

In conclusion, the workshop shared knowledge in addressing cross-border challenges and preparing European cities for a more resilient future.

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