PLATFORMA has responded to the consultation launched by the European Commission on the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. This Mechanism aims at coordinating the response of the EU and its Member States to disasters both in Europe and abroad.
In its response to the consultation, PLATFORMA called for the Mechanism to invest in preparedness, by strengthening the capacities of local governments in the delivery of services such as education and emergency services. It is also crucial that the Mechanism seeks to engage affected local governments to participate in the design and implementation of its activities throughout the crisis. All too often, donor countries and international NGOs undermine local governance structures, by overlooking and circumventing them when delivering humanitarian assistance.
Moreover, the revised Mechanism should encourage self-reliance by including local governments in providing internally displaced persons and refugees with information on the local labour market and facilitating the matching of skills with the demand from local SMEs. Finally, it is important to recognize the potential of decentralised cooperation in boosting the capacities of local governments when responding to disasters, through coping strategies and “building back better”. European cities have over the years built an extensive network of partners in developing countries that can be mobilized to this end.