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Enhancing Disaster Readiness: PA Secure Showcases Macro-Regional Cooperation at European Civil Protection Forum 

PA Secure highlighted the significance of macro-regional cooperation in civil protection at the European Civil Protection Forum 2024.  

In the session titled “Bridging the Gap between Local and EU Level Response: Regional Cooperation in Disaster Management”, PA Secure notably showcased how collaborative efforts enhance Europe’s disaster readiness, prevention, and response.  The session, and the common stand at the Forum’s exhibition space were organised together with counterparts from the Danube and Grande/Grosse regions, to demonstrate how macro-regional cooperation benefits the UCPM. The idea for this cross-MRS initiative was first voiced during the PA Secure Steering Group meeting to which a representative of Danube Strategy was invited.

“In regional approaches, which we practice, the distances are shorter – especially social distances,” said Bengt Sundelius from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).

“We can mobilise help to our neighbours faster. In the Baltic Sea Region, we create a ‘cobweb’ of connections through training programmes such as the Baltic Excellence Programme, projects, and events, fostering close professional connections. Thus, the future leaders of civil protection in the region know who to call – and who not to call – in case of a crisis,” he added. 

With Danube and Gross/Grande Region counterparts

The panel discussion during the session also emphasised the importance of regional collaboration in complementing the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). The initial response to emergencies relies on national capacities; however, when these are insufficient, assistance from neighbouring countries is sought before activating the UCPM. This layered approach ensures a swift and effective response to disasters. 

The forum underscored that regional cooperation extends beyond immediate emergency responses, playing a crucial role in prevention and preparedness. By facilitating the exchange of best practices and insights into common risks, regional collaboration enhances national capabilities and strengthens the resilience of populations. 

Speakers from disaster management authorities and civil associations discussed effective practices and potential challenges in promoting a collaborative approach to civil protection. Representatives from the Committee of Regions and the European Commission’s DG REGIO highlighted the EU’s support for cross-border and transnational cooperation in this field.