Recommendation 168 (2005)1 on natural and industrial disasters: local authorities facing emergencies

The Congress, bearing in mind the proposal from the Chamber of Local Authorities,

1. Concerned at the frequency and scale of natural disasters and major hazards, which, as was the case in South-East Asia, may cost hundreds of thousands of lives;

2. Aware that, although natural disasters are more often than not unpredictable and unavoidable, it is nonetheless possible to reduce their harmful consequences by taking appropriate action at the levels of prevention, information on risks, information on disasters themselves, organisational preparedness, emergency relief , etc.;

3. Convinced that local authorities must be capable of responding to such situations, which require them to react appropriately in terms of prevention, immediate response, health and security measures, civil protection, and so on;

4. Having adopted Resolution 200 (2005) on natural and industrial disasters: local authorities facing emergencies and a handbook setting out forty measures which local authorities can take to deal with emergencies created by natural disasters.

5. Calls on the governments of member states to:

a. set up programmes to promote greater public awareness of the importance of prevention and, hence, of the contribution that a “risk culture” can make;

b. disseminate the recommendation and the accompanying handbook as widely as possible to Local Authorities, if necessary after translating them into their country's language;

c. give high priority to co-operation in this field, so that management of emergencies can be optimised through co-ordination of the services involved at various levels and a multidisciplinary approach - notably by the implementation through the ENTO network - of training for territorial representatives programmes, above all with a view to limiting the loss of human lives and material damage.

6. Calls on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to:

a. take note of the resolution;

b. request the relevant Council of Europe bodies, in particular the EUR-OPA partial agreement, to promote the handbook and urge them to enhance their activities in this field.

1 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 31 May 2005 and adopted by the Standing Committee of the Congress on 2nd June 2005, (see doc. CPL (12) 2, draft recommendation presented by C. Filippone, (Italy, L, EPP/CD) and R. Sinoyan (Armenia, R, EPP/CD), rapporteurs).