Report of the Regional Meeting as part of the Project „SEE URBAN”

The Regional Meeting was held in Opatija in Croatia, as part of the Project” SEE URBAN –Building of the South East Europe Urban Resilience Action Network”, from October 16 to October
18, 2017. The Regional Meeting was organized aiming to exchange the DRR experience and strengthen local institutions’ capacities involved in reducing the risks from natural disasters and other accidents in seven states/territories of South East Europe (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo 1 and Albania) as well as strengthen international cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction.
The Meeting was attended by high representatives of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Parliament, UNDP, UNESCO, as well as representatives of institutions and
associations from all seven countries covered by the SEE URBAN project and representatives of the Croatian Counties and Cities Disaster Risk Reduction Platform. The Platform is one of the most
important regional partners in the implementation of the above mentioned project and meeting. In the introductory part of the Regional Meeting the importance of gathering and exchanging
experiences of experts in the field of civil protection in the South East Europe were emphasized, as well as the importance of the SEE URBAN project in strengthening the capacities of regional and
local self-government units and institutions dealing with disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management.
It was followed by presentations of seven representatives, from countries participating in the project, about the current state of their civil protection systems, disaster risk management and disaster risk models, as well as the possibilities of improving the DRR system and solving the existing issues of a civil protection system that is the same or similar throughout the entire area of the South East Europe.
The presentations were also held by representatives from UNDP, UNESCO, and educational institutions (Department of Cultural Studies at the University J. J. Strossmayer in Osijek), who
discussed the topics as follows: Presentation of best practice examples of DRR activities in SEE; Drawing insights from the UNESCO experience in Science and Culture for DRR; Social
Vulnerability / Risk Perception indicators in support of assessing DRR systems. Also, a panel discussion was held, during which all meeting participants were actively involved. The panel discussion was interactively organized so that anyone could ask questions electronically, i.e. via an application where participants could ask questions anonymously and give
their own comments and opinions, but the answers to the questions and the overall discussion was held orally and publicly.
At the end of the Regional Meeting, models of joint regional co-operation in the area of disaster risk management in case of natural disasters and other accidents were presented and
examples of best practice in the area of overcoming natural disasters were highlighted.

The importance of further cooperation within the SEE URBAN project was emphasized as well as the development of the action resilience in the area of South East Europe with the aim of
establishing the cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction at local/regional, national and international levels. This could ultimately have a positive effect on national DRR platforms and on
networking of regional and local participants in the entire area of the South East Europe region. Also, the Final Conference was announced as part of the SEE URBAN project, which is going
to be held in October 2018, in Macedonia. As part of the Regional Meeting, a demonstration exercise was held in Šapjane near Rijeka.
The exercise was attended by representatives of the emergency services of the City of Rijeka, as well as civil protection organizations from the territory of Rijeka. They demonstrated the search of ruins using special equipment with the help of search dogs as well as rescuing people from ruins, heights and depths, and triage of injured people and medical care.
During the exercise, video-sharing was provided on the SEE URBAN project website, so that besides participants of the Regional Meeting the exercise could be seen by the wider local and
international public. The overall event was organized by the Croatian Counties and Cities Disaster Risk Reduction Platform in cooperation with institutions and participating countries of the SEE URBAN project. The event gathered a large number of colleagues and experts in the area of civil protection from South East Europe, who have strengthened the existing network of Urban Resistance (DRR) in South East Europe by exchanging their own knowledge and experience.
The importance and the potential of the DRR story was also recognized by the media, that have adequately presented the Regional Meeting and the demonstration exercise to the public.