On 31 March, the fifth national launch event of the European Union funded program IPA Floods and Fires (IPA FF) took place, this time in Albania, following events in other four of the Partner Countries. IPA FF is a new 3-year initiative for floods and forest fires risk management in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
The launch event gathered representatives from the national authorities in charge of civil protection, representatives from the European Commission Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), the EU Delegation in Albania, the IPA FF Consortium partners and the Italian embassy in Tirana.
The IPA FF program represents an important follow-up to previous EU-funded initiatives aimed at strengthening capacities for disaster risk prevention and preparedness in the region and Albania. “Considering the aim of this project, the National Agency of Civil Protection guarantees to be the linchpin for a successful achievement of the main goals, such as strengthening the Albanian civil protection system, as well as regional cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction”, said Klajdi Nikolla on behalf of Mr. Haki Çako, Director General of the National Civil Protection Agency of Albania.
The program represents another step towards regional cooperation, the sharing of best practices, and further alignment of partner countries’ systems with the EU legislation in civil protection.
Andrea Vera, Head of the Sustainable economic and social development section in the EU Delegation in Albania, recalled the EU funded assistance provided to Albania through the IPA Floods recovery program, and the numerous interventions through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for the floods in 2015 to 2017 and the earthquakes of 2019. He emphasized Albania's need to build national and local capacities rapidly and resilient planning in view of Albania's growing exposure to the effects of climate change, and also, to become prepared to join the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The IPA FF Consortium is established by the Italian Civil Protection Department as coordinator jointly with the civil protection agencies of Sweden, Slovenia, Romania, the Fire and Rescue Brigade of the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic, the Romanian National Centre for Disaster Management Foundation and the Italian CIMA Foundation.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this event, as well as the first phase of the programme, was organised in a virtual mode turning emergency into opportunity and guaranteeing the implementation of activities for a better risk prevention and response in the region.