The Hellenic National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (HNP-DRR) is set up as an open network and a forum of governmental agencies and other stakeholders, with a focus on reducing the risk of natural and/or manmade hazards occurring with a major frequency and having a big social and economic impact on the country. The official institutionalization of activities and the introduction of informal settings in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction among the relevant national stakeholders have been necessary already from the early national attempts to act in line with the strategic approach and the goals set by the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015. According to the principal national legislation for civil protection (Law 3013/2002, Ministerial Decree 1299/2003) the basic goals of the civil protection system (protection of life, health and property of citizens from natural and manmade disasters) are met through working out prevention plans and programmes for all kinds of risks (natural and manmade), taking appropriate measures of preparedness and undertaking prevention, preparedness, response and recovery actions. These plans and programmes are elaborated with all the component authorities in national, regional and local level. In a wider perspective, Greece, as a member state of the European Union, takes actively part on a wider policy and strategy planning within the EU for disaster risk reduction.
In the past years, the idea of a coherent policy for Disaster Risk Reduction, as determined by its UN definition , has been diffused to a number of governmental policies and sectoral plans, under the responsibility of the relevant Ministries. The multi-sectoral co-ordination of public authorities in disaster prevention and mitigation measures, as part of the wider DDR management, has been one of the main responsibilities of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection/ Ministry of Citizen Protection from the beginning. Coordination activities engage a number of actors included in the forces and means of civil protection, such as: a) Specialized executives for civil protection at national, regional and local level who are assigned with the supervision of development and application of plans, programs and measures of civil protection and co-ordination of all necessary actions, b) all governmental, regional and local agencies and public companies that are in charge at operational level for concrete actions of preparedness and response to disasters, c) Volunteer Organizations as well as specialized volunteers at national, regional or local level included in the planning made by the General Secretariat of Civil Protection and assigned with the support of plans and actions of prevention, preparedness and response.
Concerning multi-sectoral co-ordination and collaboration in disaster risk reduction, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection is responsible for elaborating, planning and monitoring national civil protection policies under the governmental guidelines. For this purpose, it collaborates with the competent Ministries and relevant institutions for drafting regulations and specifications, to prevent natural, manmade and other disasters, while being responsible for approving all regional and local plans of civil protection, per category of risk. General information and public awareness regarding prevention issues and specific directives provided by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection in case of imminent or present disasters are issues of great importance. Identifying risks and developing early warning systems consist also a basic field of its expertise. In this context, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection has been issuing, for example, during the fire season, a Daily Fire Risk Map for the country, that specifies the probability of a fire occurring over time and space.
Recently, the catastrophic impact of disasters, such as the devastating wild fires of 2007, have highlighted in the most dramatic way the importance of a coherent DRR policy at national and local level. It has been made rather obvious that DRR, as a complex and cross-cutting issue, requires collective wisdom and efforts from national policy and decision makers from various government sectors and representatives from civil society and private institutions.
The entry into force of the Hellenic National Platform for DRR reflects the idea of addressing DRR issues in the most coherent way, plus recognizing the importance of DRR for the promotion of national sustainable economic growth and progress.
The Hellenic National Platform for DRR (HNP-DRR) is co-ordinated by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Citizen Protection. It builds on existing DRR capabilities.
Within the structure of the Hellenic National Platform for DRR the following bodies and their political subdivisions are represented, at the present:
1. Ministry of Citizen Protection
- General Secretariat for Civil Protection
- Fire Corps HQs
- Hellenic Coastguard HQs
2. Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change
- General Secretariat for Environment
- DG for Environment/Environmental Planning Directorate
- DG for Environment/Emission Trading Office
- Special Secretariat for Forests
- Special Secretariat for Water
3. Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks
- General Secretariat for Public Works
- Earthquake Planning & Protection Organization
4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Directorate-General of International Development Cooperation/
- Directorate of Emergency Humanitarian Aid
5. Ministry of Health & Social Solidarity
- National Centre for Health Operations
6. Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs
- National Observatory of Athens
- Institute of Geodynamics
- Institute for Space Applications & Remote Sensing
- Institute of Environmental Research & Sustainable Development
- Greek Atomic Energy Commission
- National Centre for Scientific Research – DEMOKRITOS
7. Ministry of Interior
- Directorate of Development Programmes & International Organizations
8. Ministry of National Defense
- Hellenic National Meteorological Service
9. Ministry of Culture and Tourism
10. Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
11. Hellenic Red Cross
The Hellenic National Platform for DRR (HNP-DRR) shall be constantly open to new stakeholders.
All common initiatives undertaken by the Platform are co-financed by the participating parties and individual activities are financed by the members of the Platform according to the policy field. At the moment, the Hellenic National Platform has no specific budget.
The members of the Hellenic National Platform will seek additional and differentiated financial resources, giving priority to absorbing funds within the framework of the National Strategic Reference Framework (2007-2013) and the Sectoral Operational Programmes that constitute it (i.e. the OP Environment-Sustainable Development run by the Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change).
At local level, the annual national budget dedicated to prevention actions and distributed to municipalities by the Ministry of Interior, after a proposal from the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, will continue to serve also disaster risk reduction purposes.
The aim of the Platform is to facilitate the integration of DRR into decision making processes, mainly at the national administration level (national policies, planning and programmes), but also at the level of local administration with the participation of the private sector and research institutions. The Hellenic National Platform will serve as a co-ordination mechanism for the support of multi-stakeholder co-ordination in implementing DRR activities within the framework of the national legislation and in line with the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action. The overarching goal is to establish a “culture of prevention” with activities that will enable the society to reduce human, social and economic losses caused by natural disasters. Special focus will be placed on reducing the risk and impact of natural disasters occurring with a major frequency and having a big social and economic impact on the country. Forest fires, earthquakes, severe weather, floods and landslides are primarily concluded in these.
Under the co-ordination of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the Hellenic National Platform for DRR will establish a series of periodical joint meetings of representatives from the relevant stakeholders (regularly meetings will be conducted twice a year). In the first joint meeting of the Platform, a mandate for the Hellenic National Platform will be drafted.
The Platform’s meetings will be:
- Setting the specific goals and priorities for the national DRR policies
- An opportunity of exchanging ideas and reviewing the contribution and efforts of each stakeholder in the field of DRR
- Identifying trends, gaps, concerns and challenges in the implementation of DRR policies
- Monitoring, recording and reporting of DRR actions at national and community levels in line with the HFA
- Issuing specific measures for raising public awareness on DRR issues through public or private campaigns and in close cooperation with the Media.
A possible establishment of thematic sub-working groups, concerning specific DRR themes, may be decided upon the assent of the platform members for the facilitation of its work. Throughout the year, communication procedures and circulation of information and relevant documents between the platform members will be carried out under the responsibility of the platform’s co-ordinator.