Croatian disaster authorities recognize UNDP´s support
ZAGREB, 22 January 2014 – The need to prepare for the threats posed by climate change was the focus of attention at an event held at the headquarters of the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (DUZS) on 22 January 2014 to mark the closure of a disaster risk reduction project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project, aimed at helping Croatia improve its response to natural disasters, was stimulated by the unprecedented snowfall that wreaked havoc on the Dalmatian coast in 2012 and underscored the threat posed by the increasing frequency of extreme weather events that is one consequence of climate change.
“The burdens on the National Protection and Rescue Directorate have increased dramatically in recent years, and as the impact of climate change is felt in the drama of extreme weather events, it seems the work can only get harder,” said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Resident Representative. “We need only recall that two years ago, at almost exactly this time, DUZS was racing to respond to unprecedented snowfalls on the Dalmatian coast, whereas this year we face the opposite threat – weeks and weeks of freakishly warm weather.”
This project was a continuation of the successful long-term cooperation between UNDP and DUZS in the field of disaster risk reduction. It was primarily aimed at boosting the capacities of Croatian national and local authorities by providing technical assistance (situation analysis, needs assessment report and early recovery planning) in order to enhance the effectiveness of existing state services at all levels, especially multi-sector early recovery planning at the national and local levels.
Jadran Perinić, DUZS Director General, called the cooperation between UNDP and DUZS over the years “a reflection of mutual understanding and good will.” In recognition of the good collaboration, Perinić presented Vinton with a certificate of appreciation.
Among its activities in this area, UNDP has worked with local officials and community groups to help establish a network of DRR practitioners, which led to the creation of a DRR County/City Platform. The purpose of this platform was to connect all the relevant DRR stakeholders at the local, regional, and national level (if needed). In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership was signed between UNDP and DUZS to establish a joint approach with regard to all DRR activities of mutual interest in the Republic of Croatia. Joint activities will focus on the preparation of proposals for funding from the European Union, which like UNDP embraces DRR as a priority goal.
Among the recent activities that UNDP has pursued in Croatia to help respond to natural disasters was to partner with the Office of Emergency Management of the City of Zagreb to provide portable chemical toilets and 100 lifejackets to threatened areas in Slavonia in June 2013, when floodwaters on the Danube River rose to record levels. Some of the lifejackets were sent to the City of Vukovar.