Disasters know no borders. The risks posed by natural and man-made hazards are cross-border due to their spatial dimension (e.g. earthquakes, fires, severe weather, floods and space weather), as well as the volatility and scale of their impacts (e.g. pandemics, livestock epidemics, nuclear/industrial accidents). The human, economic and environmental impacts - including the impact on cultural heritage – triggered by these hazards, as well as their likelihood of occurrence exist irrespective of national borders. In fact, the EU can benefit from tackling cross-border risks beyond its borders, particularly in the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) beneficiary countries and in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods.
The increasing occurence and inter-dependence of new threats require a strong cross-sectoral and cross-border cooperation in prevention, preparedness and response.
Various EU legislative acts already call for a collaborative approach to disaster risk assessment and awareness raising: for example, for flood risks or cross-border threats in the health sector. The revised UCPM legislation also aims at stepping up the collaboration at cross-border level and between Member States and Participating States prone to the same types of disasters.
While cross-border cooperation is relatively well-established in the area of emergency response, cross-border cooperation during the prevention and preparedness phases can be further enhanced. Notwithstanding, the response phase could also benefit from streamlined communication protocols and interoperable systems that overcome language barriers in emergency situations.
By focussing on countries that share a border, this Call for Proposals aims to foster a more sustained cooperation and awareness raising in cross-border regions through priorities 1, 2 and 3.
Similarly, when it comes to marine pollution (priority 4), preventive measures and technical cooperation under the regional, EU and international regulatory framework have helped to decrease the risk of marine and coastal pollution. However, environmental risks from shipping or offshore accidents and from illegal discharges, cannot be completely eliminated. Moreover, as experienced in the past years, those risks have become more complex in terms of a variety of pollutants and uncertainties about their impact as well as the effectiveness of available recovery measures. They call for an increased operational knowledge and capability and for a more coordinated and holistic approach to marine pollution incident management at sea and on shore among different sectors involved.
This topic aims to strengthen the cooperation among the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) countries and between the UCPM and third countries for preventing and preparing for natural and man-made disasters including marine pollution at sea and on shore.