South East Europe is prone to disasters that transcend borders and overwhelm the capacity of a single country to cope. The level of preparedness and prevention capacities varies considerably from country to country. Some threats, such as flooding and forest fires tend to be seasonal in nature and thus present opportunities for immediate preparedness measures and mutual cooperation between neighbouring nations. In November 2000, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe launched the “Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative” (DPPI) in an effort to contribute to the development of a cohesive regional strategy for disaster preparedness and prevention for its 12 member States (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia and Turkey). The DPPI has been conceived as an activity that seeks to provide a framework for South Eastern European nations to develop programs and projects leading to strengthened capabilities in preventing and responding to natural and man-made disasters. It also brings together donor countries and international governmental and non-governmental organizations to coordinate ongoing activities and identify unmet needs in order to improve the efficiency of national disaster management systems within the regional cooperation framework. The overarching goal of the DPPI is to foster regional cooperation and coordination in disaster preparedness and prevention for natural and man-made disasters in South Eastern Europe, without creating new structures or layers of bureaucracy. The DPPI attempts to:
- Strengthen good neighbourly relations and stability through the exchange of information, lessons learnt and best practices in the field of disaster management
- Enhance cooperation between DPPI partners in view of EU enlargement and the process of Euro – Atlantic integration for SEE countries
- Support and encourage countries in the region to develop, adopt and/or enforce state-of-the-art disaster emergency legislation, environmental regulations and codes designed to prevent and mitigate disasters in line with guidelines and common practices accepted in the international community.
- Assist and encourage countries in the region to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015 Transition After the completion of the transition process from the Stability Pact for SEE to the regionally-owned Regional Cooperation Council, established on 27 February 2008 a new stage begins for the cooperation between countries in South-East Europe. In the capacity of the operational arm of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), the Regional Cooperation Council with its Secretariat in Sarajevo took over the coordination of relevant initiatives and task forces inherited from the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.