International Conference “Disaster Risk Reduction – Models and Practices at International and National Level”
October 14, 2022
The two-day conference
titled “Disaster Risk Reduction – Models and Practices at International
and National Level” was opened on 13 October 2022 in Belgrade, organised by the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Emergency
Management Sector of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia and
the Faculty of Security of the University of Belgrade, and with the support by
the European Union (EU). In order to provide answers concerning the ways to
make our society less vulnerable to emergencies such as floods, landslides,
earthquakes and forest fires, the conference has gathered more than 50 renowned
experts from Serbia, the region and European countries.
Head of Operations in the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sakelaris
Hourdas said that the disaster risk reduction project, implemented by
UNDP, also envisages reconstruction of the facilities for training of civil
protection units in Kraljevo, as well as new buildings for the headquarters of
the Emergency Management Sector.
“The same building could also house the 112 Hotline Centre,
so as to provide more efficient and urgent help to citizens. Accordingly, in
2021, the EU funded preparations for the establishment of the Single European
Emergency Number 112, its detailed design and analysis, thereby establishing
necessary steps in order to make this service fully operative and in line with
the EU standards. Moreover, the project offered a series of workshops and study
visits to different emergency hotline centres in EU member states to the
Emergency Management Sector. We hope that competent authorities would
priorities the activation of the 112 number in the following months,” said
Assistant to the Minister of the Interior and Chief of the
Emergency Management Sector, Luka Čaušić, pointed out that this sector, as
well as the entire Ministry had worked extensively on developing their
capacities, primarily through adoption of a series of laws and bylaws
pertaining to risk reduction, prevention, preparation and response to
weather-related and other disasters.
“Through a series of strategic projects, including
continuous employment of new Sector staff, support to the establishment of
voluntary firefighting associations and development of civil protection units,
and renewal of fire brigades’ vehicle fleet through the obtainment and
production of domestic firefighting vehicles, the Ministry has largely improved
the situation in this field, and would continue to invest more and more efforts
in this direction. Climate changes are indisputably unrelenting, and it is no
longer the question of if, but rather when such emergencies will occur, and it
is therefore highly important to have all the systems of protection and rescue,
as well as the entire society activated and involved, so that we could be ready
for the oncoming challenges,” said Čaušić.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Serbia, Anas
Qarman, highlighted the importance of strengthening the measures of prevention
and improvement of readiness for action in emergencies.
“In order to decrease the amount of material damage and the
number of lives that may be put at risk due to disasters, it is necessary to
achieve coordination of efforts by the national and local institutions, civil
protection services and business sector. Furthermore, we need to utilise
relevant findings of the academic community and exchange experiences with other
countries, which is actually the aim of this conference,” added Qarman.
Representatives of the Emergency Management Sector of the
MoI of Serbia and Republic Geodetic Authority (RGA) revealed to the public
the Disaster Risk Register. This interactive digital database, established
on the RGA’s Geoportal, offers all the citizens of Serbia the data concerning
risks on concrete locations. This would help them become better informed when
making decisions concerning the selection of a place to live or invest money
in, as well as to timely undertake prevention measures. Furthermore, due to the
Disaster Risk Register, decision-makers will have real-time data at their
disposal, which would contribute to the improvement of urban planning, as well
as of the velocity and quality of intervention in the moments of crises.
The second day of the conference (14 October) involved discussions concerning adequate prevention measures that may increase the
readiness of the economy, healthcare system and local self-governments for
emergencies. Another topic for discussion involved the manner in which
building of the society’s resilience to climate changes may contribute to the
reduction of emergency risks.
These issues have been talked about by representatives of the
competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia and countries in the region,
local self-governments of Serbia and Czech Republic, international
organisations such as the World Bank, World Health Organisation and the FAO –
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, as well as professors and
researchers of universities from Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Poland, Greece, Denmark and Sweden.
The main conclusions from the conference will be used to
develop a monograph which would become a part of the regular curriculum of the
Faculty of Security in Belgrade. This would contribute to the improvement of
the quality of education for future professionals in the field.
The “Disaster Risk Reduction – Models and Practices at
International and National Level” conference is held as a part of the
initiative “EU for Serbia Resilient to Disasters”, financed by the
European Union and implemented by UNDP. The goal of this initiative is to help
Serbia in decreasing its vulnerability to disasters and increasing its
resilience to climate changes.
For those who have missed the Conference, please find footage from the panels at the following links: