Policy Themes

Disaster Resilience and crisis management

The human, ecological and economic costs of an accident can impact the whole of society. Therefore, it is necessary to establish and apply safety and risk-reduction measures to prevent accidents and reduce their impacts. Furthermore, resilience should be enhanced in order to anticipate the effects of climate hazards (such as flooding, forest fires and drought) and geological hazards (i.e. tsunamis and seismic hazards). Moreover, rather than perceiving incidents in silos, a multi-hazard approach should be applied in order to be prepared for cascading effects.


The Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) represents perhaps the EU’s most concentrated push towards furthering disaster resilience within the union. The mechanism aims to facilitate reinforced cooperation between the EU and the Member States and fosters coordination in the field of civil protection to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters including climate hazards, geological hazards, acts of terrorism and technological, radiological or environmental accidents.

The overall mechanism takes due consideration of laws and international commitments, and exploits synergies with relevant Union initiatives such as the European Earth Observation Programmes (Copernicus), the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) and the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE). The mechanism is based on the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) and the European Emergency Response Capacity (EERC) in the form of voluntary pool of pre-committed capacities from the Member States, trained experts, a Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS) managed by the Commission and contact points in the MS.

Seveso III Directive

Outside of the UCPM, the EU’s legislative portfolio incorporates several policies with potential relevance, including Directive 2012/18/EU, better known as the Seveso III Directive, which sets out rules for preventing major accidents involving dangerous substances and limiting the consequences for human health and the environment. Seveso III is focused on unintentional events and excludes military establishments, pipelines, and transport outside the establishment. It does not examine the cause of an accident. Instead, it focuses on its impact. The safety report has to consider operational causes, natural causes and external causes (although the text does not explicitly mention causes such as sabotage) and is complemented by critical infrastructure protection regulations for attack-prone installations.

Links outside the EU

At the international level, the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (TEIA) of UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe) is designed to protect people and the environment against industrial accidents. It aims to prevent accidents or reduce their frequency and severity if they do occur and mitigate their impact. The Convention promotes active international cooperation between countries before, during and after an industrial accident. It works in close collaboration with the EU, particularly on the implementation of the framework of the Seveso III Directive. The TEIA also has close links with the Sendai Framework for Action.

Details of projects in this theme can be found on the Explore DRM Projects tool.