1 giugno 2015

Increasing Preparedness Capacities Across the Mediterranean - IPCAM

The European project to manage emergencies in the mediterranean

IPCAM ''Increasing Preparedness Capacities Across the Mediterranean''  is the project co-financed by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO), which involves in a leading role, the Italian Civil Protection Department (DPC), the German Federal Agency for Technical Assistance (THW) and the Tunisian National Civil Protection Office (ONPC).

The Consortium, which is responsible for project’s implementation counts among its members, in addition to the DPC, the THW, the ONPC and Studiare Sviluppo - the Italian company in charge of administrative aspects.  The institute has the aim to spread the activities’ knowledge, objectives and results, and receive contributions from national and international stakeholders together with the actors operating in Tunisia.

In a cross-border and regional dimension, the objective of IPCAM is to contribute to improve emergency response capacities, and ensure effective protection of the Tunisian population.  Investing in disaster management – and also in coordination mechanisms with a greater involvement of civil society – is important to ensure proper emergency, mass evacuation and assistance to the population affected by a disaster (including tourists).

The project provides a basis to strengthen working relations, cooperation, transfer of know-how and best practices at regional (Tunisia - Germany and EU Civil Protection Mechanism), and cross-border (Italy - Tunisia) level.

IPCAM has the task of selecting two areas of Tunisia at high risk of disasters, to implement 2 Pilot Projects that will lead to the development of Community Emergency Response Plans, for the benefit of local populations.

Italy, Germany and Tunisia share their respective competences, structures and means to improve the ability of professionals and volunteers of Civil Protection in the disaster management.

In this context, the Department's commitment also translates into a series of lessons developed following recent experiences such as the earthquake in L'Aquila (2009) and Emilia Romagna (2012), the Libyan migration (2011) and the wave of exceptional cold and heavy snowfall in Tunisia (2012).

A step forward to strengthen capabilities in the Mediterranean area, also encouraging the development of activities in favor of the climate system, resilience to disasters, and the ability of civil society to respond to natural disasters.

These are only 3 of the six priorities of the new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) instruments.

The recent entry into force of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism defines the concept of “preparedness”: a state of readiness and capacity of human and material resources, structures, communities and organizations obtained by an activity conducted in advance, by virtue of which it is possible to ensure a rapid and effective response to a disaster" (Decision n. 13132013 EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013.  Art. 4, paragraph 3), extending the activities of prevention and preparation also to the countries of the Southern Mediterranean.

Among the objectives of the Project:

- to improve cooperation between all the Authorities involved;

- to strengthen Tunisia's emergency response system - including civil society - especially in the context of assistance to the population affected by natural disasters;

- developing and integrating plans to assist the population;

- to improve relations between the Tunisian Civil Protection, the European Civil Protection Authorities and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Subsequently, an analysis of the results of the work carried out during the workshops organized in 2013 by the International Organization for Migration and concerning emergency preparedness in the framework of the EU-funded project "Stabilizing communities at risk and improving migration management to allow smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya" - as well as of the technical assistance organized during the PPRD South program - is also planned.

Experiences highlighting the need for arrangements for coordination between national actors involved in disaster response, and the improvement of measures to manage possible disasters - through enhanced cooperation at the international level.

The project will capitalize on the results achieved through capacity building actions developed at the operational level, jointly by the Tunisian National Civil Protection Office (ONPC) and the German Federal Agency for Technical Assistance (THW) with Civil Protection volunteers.

The IPCAM Project has a duration of 2 years, from January 2015 to December 2016:

- The first part focuses on the development of risk, and the assessment of actors' capacities to manage disasters at the national level.  This includes Civil Protection volunteers and disaster response activities, and also the capacity to prepare programs and materials for training modules;

- The second part regards the implementation of the training modules for an expert audience: technical staff, either for the rapid assessment of the population's needs, or for the coordination of activities;

- the third part focuses on the development of two Pilot Projects (in the high risk areas of the country, including tourist sites), for the integration of communication - in case of emergency/risk, mass evacuation, assistance to the displaced population - with local intervention plans, according to a dimension of regional and cross-border cooperation.  The three Authorities share their knowledge and expertise, making facilities and services available to the Project when necessary.

The participation of experts with previous experience in the management of national disasters and of international organizations - e.g. through United Nations teams - operating in Tunisia is strongly encouraged.

The main activities and tools provided by the Project are based on the support of development capacities at institutional, organizational and operational level - through training courses, exercises, simulations, exchanges of experts, seminars between participating States.

Also, it is relevant the technical support and the exchange network between the various stakeholders of the Tunisian Republic, both with the Member States (Italy and Germany), and with the countries of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

- improvement of technical capacities for first response - including those of civil protection volunteers - in the field of needs assessment and necessary assistance to the population concerned (operational level);

- improving the planning capacity for mass evacuation, risk/emergency communication, and assistance to displaced persons ( policy management levels );

- Increased capacity for coordination and cooperation of mass evacuation activities in the context of local emergencies;

- strengthening cross-border and regional cooperation with EU Member States and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism