Preparing for the worst: Flood risk assessments carried out in 12 high-risk municipalities

The unprecedented flooding in 2010 in Montenegro highlighted the importance of coordinated action from national to local level in disaster risk reduction and preparedness, early warning and response.

As part of the efforts to achieve this, the Sector for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of the Interior of Montenegro, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a three-day meeting aimed at finalizing local flood risk assessments in the 12 high-risk municipalities in Montenegro.

The meeting was supported by the UNDP Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP), through technical assistance in taking an active facilitation and participation role in the meeting.

“After the December floods, necessary expert analyses were conducted in the domain of functioning of the emergency response system, and lessons learned were noted,” said Zoran Begović, Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations.

“To that end, the Ministry of the Interior is currently finalizing three activities. With the support from the UNDP and the Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP) we are finalizing the process of drafting local flood risk assessments in 12 municipalities that were struck by last year’s flooding. The functioning of the local institutions and bodies in those 12 municipalities will be worked out in detail. The second activity includes putting in function the equipment and the resources that we received last year through international aid. Moreover, final activities on establishing rescue and evacuation teams are underway. In addition, we are planning to conduct a training for local municipalities’ emergency teams,” said Begović.

Healso emphasized that this meeting was a great opportunity to discuss the local legislative with GRIP experts in the context of the EU recommendations.

Jianping Yan, Disaster Risk Assessment Specialist, Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP), UNDP Geneva pointed out to the participants the importance of integrated information and knowledge sharing on these issues at the global level. “This is my first visit to Montenegro, and this time our goal is to assist you in the process of creating local assessment plans. Over the next five years we will cooperate with you and will be available whenever you need our help or technical assistance. This year we prepared one special package related to possible solutions in emergency situations, which is adjusted to the needs of specific countries,” said Yan.

He also emphasized the need to create a mechanism for monitoring of the efficiency of risk assessment activities.

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The meeting “Drafting flood risk assessments in the 12 high-risk municipalities in Montenegro” was organized within the framework of the “Regional Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in South East Europe”, funded with 2 million euros by the European Commission and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Meteorological Organization.

Two main goals of this working meeting were: strengthening the process and the content of the on-going local flood risk assessment exercise in the 12 municipalities and assessing concrete ways in which national legislative context can be strengthened through applying the recently adopted EU risk assessment and mapping guidelines for disaster management.

During the working meeting, participants were also introduced to the importance of the National Observatory for Disasters and the most important data on the National Risk Information System.