A two-day regional disaster risk reduction meeting, organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and hosted by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), concluded today in Sarajevo.
The meeting gathered some 30 representatives from municipal civil protection units of Vlorë in Albania, Goražde in BiH, Ulcinj in Montenegro, Bajina Bašta in Serbia, ministries of security and interior, Aarhus Centres and OSCE field operations in the South-Eastern Europe.
Participants shared a wide spectrum of achievements within the project, ranging from preparation of municipal disaster risk reduction plans, making improvements to frameworks for industrial and gas-related accidents to revisions of flood and fire protection plans. They agreed to co-operate in addressing local disaster resilience challenges.
“Sustainable and responsible management of natural resources reduces the risk of disaster and conflict, and provides an environment for stability and development,” said Jonathan Moore, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “Environmental challenges often know no borders, and so it is only through joint efforts and close co-operation that we can advance our resilience in the face of such crises.”
Director of Co-operation at the Embassy of Switzerland in BiH Barbara Dätwyler-Scheuer said: “Investing time and resources in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction as well as disaster management need to be priority at all administrative levels.”
Wolfgang Thill, Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in BiH, said: “We want to make sure that in case of natural disasters existing tensions are not aggravated. What we need in this respect is sustainable management of natural resources and the involvement of civil society, so that natural disasters can be avoided, or at least their consequences mitigated.”
Participants agreed to Joint Recommendations of the meeting, underlining their commitment to cross-border co-operation in tackling shared challenges.
The meeting concludes the South-Eastern Europe component of the OSCE project on disaster risk reduction and security in the OSCE area, which is implemented with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation and the Austrian Federal Government.