IPA FLOODS implementing Consortium agreed to convene on 23 June the 1st Meeting of its main internal governance body: the Programme Steering Group, whose members have been gathered at the Italian Civil Protection Department (DPC) premises in Rome. During the meeting, Focal Points in the Beneficiaries,representatives from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO), the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative for South-Eastern Europe (DPPI SEE), the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) and partners of the IPA FLOODS Consortium were called toreview the Programme inception phase and discuss the work-plan and requirements for implementation of Programme components. Moreover, the Steering Group took benefit of the attendance as observers of representatives coming from the Civil Protection of Umbria Region (Italy), from the Italian National Fire-Fighters and from the Italian Civil Protection Department.

Consortium members agreed upon the success of this First Steering Group Meeting as the purposes of the event have been met: all main actors that will be engaged by IPA FLOODS activities in the next future had their first opportunity to know each other, share their impressions on the Programme inception period and topropose improvements for ensuring the suitable implementation of this initiative.

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23 June 2015 – IPA FLOODS Steering Group Meeting: Family Photo

Luigi D’Angelo, Programme Director and Responsible of the International Relations Unit within DPC, and Alexander Kopke, Deputy Head of Unit, EC – DG ECHO opened the event: both highlighted the IPA FLOODS regional dimension and the participatory approach marking out Programme activities since its official commencement on January 2015 and all throughout its implementation period. With regard to this, IPA FLOODS Programme is asked to ensure continuity with both previously conducted and ongoing initiatives in the Region and, given its relevance to the overall risk profile in the Beneficiaries, it will try to be tailored to Beneficiaries’ specific needs in particular in the conduction of its capacity building actions.

The interventions by delegates from main initiatives active in the Western Balkan Region attending the meeting (DPPI SEE and ISRBC) stressed the importance of mutual coordination with IPA FLOODS and invited the Consortium to further use the opportunity of these Regional forums for keeping respective member countries constantly updated on the Programme progress, enhance the visibility of all regional actors and stakeholders and the opportunities for networking among the representatives from Programme Beneficiaries, these Programmes/Initiatives and the IPA FLOODS Programme itself. Furthermore ISRBC representative recalled possible areas of cooperation with IPA FLOODS: provision of assistance in preliminary flood risk assessments and exchange of experience in the development of border-crossing protocols foreseen under IPA FLOODS.

The working session begun with an overview of the scope and activities implemented between January and June 2015 by Antonio Barbera, IPA FLOODS Programme Manager, namely the inception visits and operational assessment missions in all the Beneficiaries in relation to both the establishment of multinational CPMs for“Flood Rescue using Boats” (FRB) and capacity building on the European Union Flood Directive (EUFD) and the activities foreseen under these two main components of the Programme. Then each Consortium Partner representative provided the audience with a detailed description of the activities of which their respective institutions are in charge for: Domen Torkar, from the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief of Slovenia, which took part as CPMs’ Expert on the assessment missions mentioned above, announced that starting from next October the Programme will organise working groups for development of concepts andStandard Operating Procedures for national teams and multinational CPMs, and in spring-summer 2016 the Consortium will draft requirements for trainings for operational and management level.

The National Protection and Rescue Directorate of Croatia, represented by Igor Milic, explained scope and objectives of the regional workshop on border-crossingand HNS protocols and procedures that will be hosted by Montenegro on next December, of the cross-border meetings expected on February 2016 and of the fieldexercise foreseen in Croatia in October 2016. He highlighted the importance of keeping in mind the results achieved and the lessons learned in the area being addressed in the framework of the IPA Civil Protection Cooperation Programme phase II (i.e. national HNS table-top exercises and regional exercise), and the need to engage representatives from all relevant stakeholders in the Beneficiaries.

Marco Massabò, delegate from CIMA Research Foundation whose main contribution to the Programme is foreseen under the activities concerning the EUFD, illustrated the main outcomes from the operational assessment phase and the key results of the preparatory working session with Programme Focal Points for EUFD-related activities that took place on 22 June at the premises of the Italian Civil Protection Department.

With regards to the official commencement of IPA FLOODS Programme Lot 2 is being signed between the implementing Consortium and EC DG ECHO – delegates fromGerman Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and Swedish Civil Contingencies Agencies (MSB) in charge for supporting the development of multinational CPMs for High Capacity Pumping (HCP) and Flood Containment (FC) presented the envisaged working groups and training programme for both operational and management staff of the  Modules.

The representative from StudiareSviluppo announced the imminent launching of the procurement procedures for the provision of FRB to each Beneficiary. With regard to this, following official consultations started on May, the great majority of Beneficiaries have provided their official approval on the list of proposed technical specifications for FRB equipment as initially developed by the Consortium and fine-tuned throughout conducted operational assessment missions in the Region.

In conclusion, meeting participants were invited to take benefit of IPA FLOODS to enhance cross-sectoral coordination and inter-institutional collaboration among the Beneficiaries and acknowledged the need for cooperation between Consortium and Beneficiaries in order to support synergies between the two main IPA FLOODS components.

Next IPA FLOODS Steering Group Meeting is expected on February 2016.

The presentations, list of participants and official minutes of the IPA FLOODS 1st Steering Group Meeting are available for downloading through “23 June 2015 – Italian Civil Protection Department Headquarters – Rome Operational Committee Room. In the Multimedia Gallery of the Website you will find a selection of the pictures taken during the event.