Local Level Resilience and Pandemic Risk Workshop

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), in partnership with the European Committee of the Regions Natural Resources Commission and the Centre for European Volunteering, held a virtual workshop on Local Level Resilience and Pandemic Risk, as part of EWRC2020 and marking the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The event, which brought together speakers from city and regional authorities from across Europe addressing a large virtual audience, focused on exploring experiences and good practices in response, recovery and resilience efforts at local and regional level in addressing the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the role of the EU in this regard.

As emphasised by SRSG Mami Mizutori’s introductory remarks emphasised that resilience is everyone’s business and solidarity at all levels is needed. The strain on the system from existing and new risks was emphasised, as was the crucial role of local and regional actors “on the frontline”, at the centre for resilience and disaster risk reduction.

This session helped emphasise the sheer dimension of the impacts of the ongoing crisis and the challenges ahead. But it also shed light on the efforts to build back better towards resilience to future shocks, which demonstrates the wealth of experiences, innovations and potential opportunities to be learnt from this crisis.

Noémie Fompeyrine, Head of the Paris Resilience Office from the City of Paris (France) showcased how the COVID19 crisis had led the City of Paris to think differently about the existing resilience and risk reduction measures focussed on reducing chronical stresses in the system. 

Cecilio Cerdán Carbonero, Director General of cooperation and global citizenship from the City of Madrid (Spain), drew attention to the fact that many people in Madrid who never thought they would become part of the vulnerable population of the city had, because of the COVID19 crisis, found themselves in precarious economic and social situations. The essentiality of the resilience plan was stressed and how its focus on ensuring that any budget investment includes resilience aspects in its design will be crucial to its success.

Roberto Ciambetti from the Veneto region (Italy) and Member of the European Committee of the Regions, shared the main lessons learned from the region’s experience in building resilience to potential future pandemic waves and future disasters. As Member of the European Committee of the Regions’ Natural Resources Commission, Mr. Ciambetti, highlighted the role of the EU in supporting cities and regions in addressing the recovery efforts to the COVID crisis.

Cristina Piva, Councillor for Volunteering and Education of the City of Padova (Italy), made the critical case that resilience to disasters at local level would not be possible without the contribution and engagement of the community. She emphasized how the volunteering structure in Padova, the 2020 European Volunteering Capital, responded promptly to the situation caused by the pandemic and worked to prevent the health crisis from turning into a social crisis.

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