In 2019 alone, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) was activated 20 times worldwide (5x Forest Fires, 3x Floods, 3x Prevention and Preparedness, 2x earthquakes, 2x epidemic, 2x marine pollution, 2x tropical cyclones and 1 environmental accident). The extent of the negative impact on individuals, property, cultural heritage, and environment, amongst others, is ever increasing. Climate change exacerbates the risks and increases the exposure and the vulnerability of people and assets to damage. At the time of drafting this proposal, the current pandemic COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus is exposing vulnerabilities and limits of current preparedness levels in a drastic manner.
The majority of disaster risks are cross-border in nature, threaten entire regions, and can affect multiple countries simultaneously. In a world that has become increasingly interconnected, risks also tend to become cross-sectoral touching upon various thematic disciplines at once. The Civil Protection (CP) systems of the Middle East had been stronger challenged than anywhere else in the wider surroundings of the European Union in the last decade and are supposed to be in the near and medium future due to a mix of conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, partners of the consortium have proven that Civil Protection and emergency preparedness can be a connecting factor between the countries of the neighbourhood1.
The Civil Protection Knowledge Network Partnership Platform – Middle East (HEUREKA) will bridge across knowledge holders relevant to disaster management and humanitarian aid actors, to enhance coordination, cooperation, compatibility and complementarity between capacities and will improve the competence of experts; it will be a bridge between the different actors in our field of work at a crucial moment – between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood, specifically the Middle East, and will also create synergies between humanitarian and civil protection actors. At the same time, the network will support the introduction of an organizational approach in fostering and transferring of knowledge in civil protection, so that organizations and communities can make use of the enhanced knowledge provided.
CERIDES – Excellence in Innovation and Technology leads one of the three Work Packages that aims to build bridges in the Middle East and promote regional collaboration in Civil Protection.