On 14 and 15 March, the Principality of Monaco is hosting the 70th meeting of Permanent Correspondents of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, of which it has been a member since 1990.
The EUR-OPA agreement is a platform for cooperation in areas of risks related to major natural and technological disasters (such as floods, forest fires, climate change, etc.) between the countries of Europe and around the Mediterranean. Created in 1987 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, it now has 25 member States.
On a practical level, one of the Agreement's most important missions has been to raise awareness by creating a " risk culture." In this regard, over the past 30 years, the member States have developed a wide range of education, training and information programme. One of the Agreement's main strengths is its network of 26 specialised centres, which develop projects, at both the national and regional levels, the aim of which is to improve populations' awareness of major risks and their resilience to such risks. It should also be noted that the Agreement helps national Civil Protection services prepare for crisis management.
The work of the representatives at this 70th session will focus on the following issues:
- The programme of activities for 2017, with a special focus on migrants in the context of preventing and managing major risks;
- A discussion of the work plan for 2018-2019 and identifying priorities and activities;
- The election of the new bureau, bearing in mind that, since 2015, Monaco has held the Presidency of the Agreement with Portugal and the Republic of Moldova.
This session in Monaco will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Agreement with a retrospective of the action undertaken and the various executive secretaries who have succeeded each other at its head.
In the year 2016, natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc.,) cost more than EUR158 billion, four times more than 30 years ago, causing the death of more than 10,000 people. According to the World Bank, natural disasters in 2016 resulted in a loss of $520 billion and forced 26 million people into poverty.