Today on 10 October, in the context of the Open Days, European Week of Regions and Cities, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Europe Office and the European Commission, DG Climate Action, held a joint event on "Community action for disaster resilience and climate change adaptation". The event gathered mayors, local regional level representatives, the private sectors, scientific community together with the UN and the EC to discuss advances and challenges in actively involving citizen in building resilience to disasters and applying climate change adaptation. The over 70 participants discussed over issues of increasing community actions, raising awareness and networking based on the experiences presented by the cities of Ancona, Copenhagen, Nice, Tyrol Province/City of Lienz and two organizations Gruppo Lucano, Basilicata region and ICLEI Europe.
The session was opened by Ms. Rosario Bento Pais, Head of Head of Adaptation to Climate Change Unit in EC DG Climate Action and Ms. Paola Albrito, Head of UNISDR Regional Office for Europe, who stated that "A good policy oriented adaptation and risk reduction strategy must be based on factual evidence such as credible risk assessments and cost-benefit analysis of different structural and non structural options".
The discussions built on the UNISDR’s Campaign “Making Cities Resilient – My City is Getting Ready!” launched in 2010 aiming at enrolling city leaders, local government and city councils as an integral and active part of building the resilience of their urban communities and the EC DG Climate Action's initiative “Adaptation Strategies for EU Cities” providing capacity building and assistance for European cities in developing and implementing an adaptation strategy.
The session highlighted the value of tangible information and evidence for increased political engagement and identified the active association of citizen and communities in risk assessments and training session as a key component of building resilience to disasters. Some of the panellists highlighted that risk assessments are still covering a short time frame 3-5 years while climate adaptation risk assessments are addressing a longer time perspective 30-50 years. While the representative of the Gruppo Lucano, Basilicata Region, highlighted benefits of drills, it was overall agreed that sharing experiences among cities and local community remains a tangible way to increase awareness on risk reduction and climate chance adaptation.
In the context of awareness raising towards the citizens, Ms. Albrito said, an "Informed citizen is an active force towards building resilience to disasters and local level risk assessments and sharing of risk maps are important means to share knowledge and increase awareness in risk reduction".
The session concluded with the need of building upon opportunities such as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on the 13 of October to gain citizen involvement in building their resilience to disasters.
The Open Days, 10th European Week of Cities and Regions is organized between the 8-11 October in Brussels by the Committee of the Regions and the European Commissions, DG Regional Development bringing together some 6000 participants from all over Europe. The headline for the Open Days 10th Anniversary is "Europe's regions and cities: Making a difference". The over 100 workshops and events are organized around three thematic priorities (Smart and green growth for all; Territorial cooperation: an asset for Europe; and Delivering results).
The International Day for Disaster Reduction takes place on the 13 October. The theme of the 2012 International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is "Women and Girls - the [in]Visible Force of Resilience".
Tag This Document