The 1st PPRD Med Steering Committee meeting held in Barcelona on October 17, 2023, marked a pivotal moment in advancing the goals of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the PPRD Med program.
John Paul Grech, DSG Social and Civil Affairs, UfM, highlighted the importance of the role of DG ECHO in these efforts, emphasizing the significance of PPRD Med within the UfM's Civil Protection Dossier and Regional Dialogue Platform.
Tristan Simonart, DG ECHO, introduced the PPRD Med program to the participants.
Philippe Geffroy of ISTC presented the program's focus on leveraging technologies such as AI-powered analytics and algorithms for modeling impacts, risk assessment, and response coordination. The presentation outlined key areas of work, including strengthening civil protection capacities, fostering inter-regional cooperation, and demonstrating early warning systems based on earth observation and AI (Artificial Intelligence). The exchange also covered the potential applications of these technologies in crisis response, including identifying critical infrastructure, flood land cover, and debris mapping.
During the roundtable discussion, stakeholders raised several important points. Jordan expressed the need for a broader integration of government bodies into the program beyond the scope of the Civil Protection Directorate. Tunisia emphasized the importance of sustainability, the integration of academia and research into civil protection systems, and the necessity for training programs in data analysis and modeling. Mauritania expressed its willingness to share national experiences.
Jordan reaffirmed Tunisia's points, underscoring the importance of training in GIS, mapping, and modeling, along with the facilitation of inter-institutional collaboration. Palestine stressed the need to integrate innovative technologies, protect cultural heritage, and inquired about the inclusion of Turkey and Cyprus in the program.
This gathering reflects a strong commitment to advancing regional cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction and civil protection in the Mediterranean region. The meeting concluded with the announcement that the 2nd Steering Committee would convene in June 2024 in Noordwijk, Netherlands.