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In most EU Member States, civil protection volunteers play a vital role in preparing for and responding to emergencies.
Civil Protection legislation of EU Member States defines a clear status for civil protection volunteers and supports the development of the national voluntary sector. It clarifies volunteers’ contribution to emergency planning and civil protection operations, establishes coordination mechanisms between professionals and volunteers and makes available facilities and resources.
On their side, European voluntary organisations are continually investing in the preparation of their personnel to enable them to support emergency planning, response, recovery, and resilience development.
At the EU level, the Lisbon Treaty foresees the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps to allow young Europeans to give a contribution to the humanitarian aid operations of the Union and the “EU Aid Volunteers”. This is a practical programme that foresees the delivery of capacity building activities for both volunteers and volunteers organisations. It will provide technical assistance to organisations that are willing to register as hosting organisations of EU volunteers. The “EU Aid Volunteers” initiative brings together volunteers and organisations from different countries in the provision of humanitarian aid and in strengthening local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities.
PPRD East 2 Partner Countries expressed interest in the development of a structured and organised national civil protection volunteers sector. The Programme has proposed to Partner Countries’ civil protection authorities to formulate a multi-annual plan for the creation and development of national volunteer’s networks according to EU good practices. Those plans will provide the general framework within which to develop: operational training of candidate volunteers, establishment of certified volunteers organizations, establishment of linkages between national civil protection authorities and volunteers associations, training of civil protection officers on volunteers’ team management, establishment of emergency planning participatory approaches aiming at the active inclusion of population and volunteers organizations in the revision of emergency plans.
PPRD East 2 will provide support to national civil protection/disaster risk management authorities which have expressed interest for the approximation to the EU CP Volunteering systems. This support may include detailed development and initial implementation of the multi-annual plan for the creation and development of national volunteer’s networks, complemented with the organisation of communication campaigns to promote CP volunteerism and motivate citizens to join volunteer’s networks.