Prevention and Preparedness for Cross-Border Risks


Topic: Prevention and Preparedness for Cross-border Risks

Disasters know no borders. Most natural and man-made disasters therefore present cross-border risks due to their spatial dimension (earthquakes, fires, severe weather, floods and space weather), as well as the volatility and scale of their impacts (pandemics, livestock epidemics, nuclear/industrial accidents). The human, economic or environmental impacts – including the impact on cultural heritage – of these hazards, as well as their likelihood of occurrence exist irrespective of national borders. In fact, the EU can benefit from tackling cross-border risks beyond its borders, particularly in IPA beneficiaries and in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods.

The increasing complexity and emergence of new threats require more cross-sectoral, transdisciplinary and cross-country cooperation in all risk management phases.

Various EU legislative acts already require a collaborative approach to disaster risk assessment and management: for example, for flood risks or cross-border threats to health. The revised UCPM Decision also aims at stepping up the collaboration at cross-border level and between Member States prone to the same types of disasters.

While cross-border cooperation is relatively well-established in the area of emergency response, cross-border cooperation during the prevention and preparedness phases could be further enhanced. Notwithstanding, the response phase could also benefit from streamlined communication protocols and interoperable systems that overcome language barriers in emergency situations.

By focussing on countries that share a border, this Call for Proposals aims to foster a more sustained cooperation in cross-border regions.

This topic aims to enhance cross-border disaster risk management through prevention and preparedness in Europe and EU Neighbourhood countries.

Aplicants are invited to focus on one of the following call priorities (specific objectives):

Priority 1: Developing cross-border risk assessments

Without a risk assessment which takes into account cross-border risks, risk management will only partially address the risks a country faces.

The 2017 Overview of Risks already recognised that cross-border dimensions of risks could benefit from a more systematic focus in future risk assessments. Analysis of national risk assessments submitted to the European Commission in 2018/2019 again revealed that while cross-sectoral interdependencies of risks are tackled to some extent, the cross-border/regional/international dimension is still missing. Good practices already exist: the joint cross-border Benelux risk assessment, the Baltic Sea Region risk assessment or the Nordic Forum for Risk Analysis and Strategic Foresight.

In order to contribute to achieving Priority 1, this Call for Proposals will co-finance activities that aim to analyse risks with cross-border impacts, either building up to or already developing a cross-border risk assessment through the project. Beneficiaries will be civil protection authorities and stakeholders in Member States, IPA beneficiaries not participating in the Mechanism, and/or European Neighbourhood Policy countries that share a border.

In particular, project activities and outputs should lead to the achievement of up to two (2) of the following outcomes:

1.1 Cross-border risk assessments for identified cross-border risks are developed;

1.2 Joint data/information-sharing tools or platforms are established;

1.3 A network of competent authorities at national and sub-national level for specific risks is established;

1.4 Cross-border risk management plans or action plans for one or more risks (identified in a cross-border risk assessment) are developed.

Examples of project activities and outputs to be funded include, among others:

  • Risk assessment report including, where appropriate, analytical products preparatory to a risk assessment, such as cross-border hazard assessments, cross-border risk scenarios, cross-border vulnerability analysis, risk mapping, etc.;
  • Agreements, working procedures, methodologies, etc., required to establish a functioning cross-border network of competent authorities at national and sub-national level for specific risks;
  • Open source IT platforms for data/information-sharing, including, where relevant, common methodologies on disaster loss data collection across borders;
  • Specific cross-border action plans for the management of cross-border risks identified in joint risk assessments.

Priority 2: Enhancing cross-border emergency management

The need for collaboration in the field of disaster management arises when capacities of affected regions and communities are exceeded and assistance from bordering communities is required. Especially in border areas, assistance can be required from communities in neighbouring countries in order to provide citizens with quickly deployable, reliable and efficient emergency services.

In an initial phase, cross-border cooperation may focus on identifying and addressing legal and institutional bottlenecks that hinder mutual assistance. To this end, coherent and coordinated regional cross-border policy, in which the individuality and specific conditions of each border region within Europe and with the EU Neighbourhood are respected, is needed. Every region has its own specificities (e.g. population density, economic sectors, risks, specialised response capacities available) and needs. Thus, the approach to cross-border collaboration will also vary from region to region.

Once the benefits of cross-border collaboration are demonstrated, knowing and understanding each other’s civil protection and emergency management structures, work procedures and culture are essential for effective cross-border collaboration. In the medium-term, cross-border emergency management will be more successful if the cooperation is tested via regular and thorough operational exercises. Cross-border cooperation can be of particular value in preparing for risks with a potential high impact but a low likelihood of occurrence (Hi-Lo risks). These might be more efficient to prepare for jointly with neighbouring regions using one common planning instead of several separate plans.

Some regions have a long tradition of cross-border collaboration in disaster risk management and this has led to a structured exchange of knowledge and good practices over the years. This wealth of knowledge provides a solid base for cross-border collaboration that the UCPM can help disseminate and apply in other regions across Europe and its Neighbours.

In order to contribute to achieving Priority 2, this Call for Proposals will co-finance actions that aim to enhance cross-border disaster preparedness. Beneficiaries will be civil protection authorities and stakeholders in Member States, IPA beneficiaries not participating in the Mechanism, and/or European Neighbourhood Policy countries that share a border.

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