SE9: South Eastern Europe and Disaster Risk Reduction

  • ID: SE9
  • Date & Time: Wednesday 17 June (08:00 - 09:30)
  • Room: 14
  • Participation: Open
  • Organizer: RCC Eastern Europe, World Bank, WMO, DPPI, UNISDR
  • Focal Point: albrito (at), innocenti (at)


South Eastern Europe (SEE) is exposed to a variety of natural hazards, including storms, droughts, floods, earthquakes, and landslides. Meteorologically, the sub-region is highly vulnerable to winter storms that arise in the Mediterranean and then cross the Balkan Peninsula, precipitating a large volume of moisture in their passage over the Peninsula’s mountain systems before reaching the rest of Europe. As a result, SEE is affected by rapid-onset downpours and flooding that can be forecasted only by strong and capable weather forecasting systems that must be supported by accurate data. This challenge inspired SEE forecasters of past decades who took their place among the best in the world. However, with exceptions in some countries, weather forecast systems have tended to deteriorate during the economic transition, together with other public infrastructure. In addition, the data sharing that is particularly important in this region has also declined, an unintended consequence of the political changes in SEE that have dissolved the legal and institutional basis for data sharing arrangements that were formerly in place.

The earthquake hazard in SEE presents a significant risk which exemplified by long history seismic events. The Mediterranean / Transasian fault zone passes through Balkans, while the Vrancea zone intersects Romania and parts of Bulgaria and Moldova. A 1963 earthquake has destroyed a large part of Skopje, Macedonia and killed about 1,300 people; another earthquake (measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale) struck Bucharest in 1977, killing about 1570 people and causing economic losses well in excess of US$2 billion. The capacity to manage seismic risk has been low as compared with the best world practice and technical possibilities.

On the financing side, currently, governments in the region absorb the entire risk for financing the losses of public infrastructure caused by disasters. This creates uncertainty in the budgeting process. Furthermore, the absence of hazard risk insurance leaves millions of people in the region fully exposed to the effects of disasters, and often they are left with no or minimum compensation for property losses.

Bearing in mind these challenges, but also the opportunities presented by SEE’s historical and persisting areas of strength, two regional initiatives have been developed with a joint and coordinated approach and a common objective: Reduce Vulnerability to Disasters in SEE. These initiatives are:

South Eastern Europe Disaster Risk Mitigation and Adaptation Programme: WB/UNISDR in collaboration and coordination with: WMO (key partner for hydromet component) and Finnish Meteorological Institute, EU, DPPI, RCC, UNDP, UNICEF, UNOCHA and others.
This initiative forms the foundation for regional and country specific investment priorities (projects) in the area of early warning, disaster risk reduction and financing. SEEDRMI incorporates three focus areas: (i) hydrometeorological forecasting, data sharing and early warning; (ii) coordination of disaster mitigation, preparedness, and response; and (iii) financing of disaster losses, reconstruction and recovery, and disaster risk transfer (disaster insurance). The initiative builds on the existing cooperation in the region, and will complement and consolidate the activities promoted by the EU, the Council of Europe, the UN, and RCC, the DPPI, and others to promote more effective disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.

This event will highlight the progress ongoing to reduce vulnerability in SEE, the added value of a coordinated and cooperative approach, the win-win situation in strengthening existing regional organisations and the relevance of a regional approach to avoid overlapping and to utilize funds on disaster risk reduction at its best.

Expected Outcomes

Highlight the added value of a coordinate and cooperative approach towards the best use of funds dedicated to disaster risk reduction issues. Enhanced funding for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Background Papers

> Side Event on South Eastern Europe and Disaster Risk Reduction [DOC, 28.50 Kb]

> Background Document [DOC, 34.00 Kb]


> RCC Presentation [PPT, 466.00 Kb]

> Hydromet Presentation [PPT, 169.50 Kb]

> Montenegro Presentation [DOC, 47.00 Kb]

> DPPI SEE [PPT, 352.00 Kb]


Note: this is an interim report pending publication of the Conference Proceedings from the 2009 Global Platform.

> Report from SE9 [PDF, 23.45 Kb]

Last updated: 04 December 2020