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European Commission - Press release
EU-Chile: Laying the foundations for closer cooperation in disaster management
Brussels, 24 November 2011 - Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and Fernando Schmidt, Deputy Minister of External Relations of Chile, will meet tomorrow in Brussels to discuss ways to reinforce the cooperation in disaster management between the European Union and Chile.
At the meeting, a Letter of Intent will be signed between the European Commission and the National emergency Office of Chile (ONEMI). The Letter envisages enhanced cooperation between the two in disaster risk reduction. It provides for closer collaboration in improving disaster prevention and preparedness, mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change at bilateral and regional levels.
"The February 2010 earthquake and tsunami in Chile were a wake-up call – the European Union was quick to help, but this disaster showed how important it is to cooperate more intensively for the protection of lives and safeguarding of assets, as well as for responding when disasters strike. The Commission and Chile already have excellent collaboration through the disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO). However, the trend of growing disaster intensity and frequency proves the need for more intensive cooperation, as we are all vulnerable. " said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva ahead of the meeting.
The document to be signed on 25 November consolidates the agenda of the EU-Chile Association Agreement and corresponds with the international cooperation strategy that the Commission is pursuing with other key players in the humanitarian and civil protection area, such as the USA, Japan and Russia.
The European Commission has a holistic approach to disaster management; this includes prevention, preparedness, response and rehabilitation. The EU has also developed various legal and financial instruments to support and complement the national initiatives in disaster preparedness and response of the 27 EU Member States. These include training programmes and joint exercises for civil protection experts, cooperation projects and transport co-financing. Through these initiatives, Europe aims to ensure effective response to disasters when they affect its own citizens, as well as effective assistance to other countries when they need disaster relief assistance.
About the EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 31 European states (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the Monitoring and Information Centre.
Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Member States (like the forest fires in Portugal, floods in the Balkans in 2010 and the explosion at a naval base in Cyprus in 2011) and also elsewhere in the world, including the recent earthquakes in Japan and Turkey. European assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was provided to Chile following the earthquake/tsunami that hit the country in February 2010.
For more information
Commissioner Georgieva's website:
The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection: