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Historical Perspective of the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation on Civil Protection

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The Barcelona Declaration of November 1995 opened a new era of co-operation between the 15 EU countries and 12 Mediterranean partners (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey).

Both sides agreed to work together in order to meet three paramount objectives:

  • securing peace and stability
  • establishing an area of shared prosperity
  • promoting mutual understanding by exchanges of experiences between civil societies and the development of social and cultural co-operation

In the wake of the Barcelona Declaration, the “Pilot” Programme for the “Creation of a Euro-Mediterranean System of Prevention, Mitigation and Management of Natural and Man-made Disasters” was initiated in 1998 under the auspices and lead of Italy and Egypt. Extended until 2004, it was intended to represent a political confidence building measure of the “Euro-Mediterranean Partnership” aimed at improving co-operation in the field of Civil Protection between the EC, EU Member States and 12 Mediterranean Partner Countries



The Community Civil Protection Mechanism was established in 2001 (Council Decision 2001/792/EC) – together with its operational core, the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) implemented by the DG Environment – with the purpose of providing, upon request, support in the event of major emergencies as well as to reinforce cooperation and to facilitate improved coordination of assistance provided by the EU Member States.



The second phase of the "Euro-Mediterranean Programme on Civil Protection", the “Bridge Programme, was carried out by France, Egypt, Italy and Algeria from 2004 until 2008 with the aim of laying the foundations for a long-term regional Civil Protection programme, by reinforcing political confidence among the partners and by contributing to the establishment of an effective and sustainable system of prevention, mitigation and management of natural and man-made disasters in the Euro-Mediterranean region.







The importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies has been also clearly expressed in the April 2005 EC Communication "Reinforcing EU Disaster and Crisis Response in Third Countries" and was reiterated in further documents. In particular the Council Decision 2007/779/EC, Euratom recasting the Council Decision 2001/792/EC (Community Civil Protection Mechanism) and the Council Decision 2007/162/EC, Euratom establishing the Civil Protection Financial Instrument (assisting either the improvement of the effectiveness of response to major emergencies, in particular in the context of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism, and the enhancement of preventive and preparedness measures for all kinds of emergencies) are relevant to the Mediterranean Partner Countries as they introduce the possibility of cooperation with third countries where agreements between these third countries and the EC so allow.

The importance of a Euro-Mediterranean regional cooperation in the field of Civil Protection, as a political instrument for the reinforcement of relations of trust in the region, has been further affirmed at the 2006 and 2007 Euro-Mediterranean Conferences of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Tampere and Lisbon with a clear focus on strengthening the Mediterranean partners’ national structures in charge of prevention, preparedness, protection and response to natural and man-made risks.



The “Euro-Mediterranean Partnership” was re-launched at the July 2008 Paris Summit for the Mediterranean as the “Union for the Mediterranean”, and subsequently endorsed at the Meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Marseille (November 2008). The re-launching aimed to give new impulse to the partnership by incorporating more co-ownership in the framework of multilateral cooperation as well as by delivering concrete benefits for the citizens of the region. In this framework it was decided to launch and/or to reinforce a number of key initiatives in the region, among which, the initiatives in the field of Civil Protection.

In this regard, during the Marseille Meeting, Ministers reviewed the state of progress in implementing the priority initiatives selected by the Heads of State and Government at the Paris Summit and stated that “The Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters Programme (PPRD) will contribute to the development of stronger prevention, preparedness and response capacities in civil protection at international, national and local level. It will also aim to bring the Mediterranean Partner Countries progressively closer to the European Civil Protection Mechanism and the envisaged European civil protection network against disasters Furthermore, the joint Civil Protection project on prevention, preparation and response to disasters is one of the main priorities for the region. Therefore the development of the Euromed Programme for the PPRD (2008-2011) is a matter of urgency. The collaboration between the civil protection institutions in the EU member states and the Mediterranean Partner countries for strengthening the cooperation in the field of training and on operational level is suggested”.



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