EU weakens its alliance with vulnerable countries

The EU position on climate finance for the Paris climate summit was adopted today by the EU Finance Ministers. Unfortunately, it falls short of what is needed to deliver a strong deal in Paris that empowers the world’s poor to cope with the current and future impacts of climate change and to develop in a less polluting way so that their carbon emissions don’t add to the climate change problem.

Paris climate talks likely to go to the wire - Sweden

Negotiations to reach a climate change deal next month in Paris are likely to go down to the final moments with financing remaining one of the toughest subjects on which to reach agreement, senior Swedish officials said, according to a report by Reuters. Sweden is considered by many to be a potential bridge between developed and developing nations. It has promised about $580 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund.

DEVE members on disaster risk reduction - 'We need stronger reliance on local knowledge'

"We know that investment in risk reduction and preparedness pays off. We also know very well that disasters hit the local populations the hardest and thus their knowledge and capacity to prevent, manage, and respond to disasters is essential. In fact, without knowledge about disaster risks you cannot successfully manage them and build resilience." "It is time to rely more strongly on the traditional, local and indigenous knowledge", Development Committee Members say on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October.

UK environment agency teams up with telecoms operator to send flood warnings

The Environment Agency in England is set to team up with digital communications company EE to send flood warnings to mobile phone users in the south-west of the country, reports Floodlist.  This is the first time that flood warnings in England will be issued directly through a mobile network operator. EE customers living in flood risk areas in Devon and Cornwall will be informed that they are registered to receive the free flood warnings. They will also be given details of where to find further information and how to opt out if they wish to.

New smartphone app used for the detection and monitoring of forest fires and their impact on the southern region of France.

In association with the start-up SIGNALERT, the unit Mediterranean Ecosystems and Risks (EMAX, in French) of National Institute for Science Research and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA, in French) located near Aix-en- Provence (France), has begun an operating test of a free smartphone application for crowd-mapping and citizen science: SIGNALERT, an app for environmental monitoring. The operation will focus on the monitoring of forest fires in the south of France throughout the summer and fall of 2015.

European Union launches new disaster preparedness plan in the Caribbean

The humanitarian department allocates more than 10 million dollars to support disaster risk reduction

The European Union has allocated 10 million dollars (9.33 million euros ) for risk reduction activities in the Caribbean. Communities highly exposed to floods, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes will benefit from disaster preparedness projects funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), through its DIPECHO Programme (Disaster Preparedness ECHO). A total of 14 projects will be implemented in the region between 2015 and 2016 in order to reduce the vulnerability to natural hazards and to better prepare communities and authorities to respond to emergencies."We have been working on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Caribbean for more than a decade. We recognize this topic has become more relevant, but there are still significant needs in terms of resources and capacities," said Virginie André, ECHO responsible for the Caribbean. “Through the DIPECHO programme, we support local and national efforts in order for institutions and communities to better anticipate the potential impact of any natural adverse event, and to limit their consequences. The focus is on strengthening capacities and changing attitudes to save lives," commented André.

Balkans still recovering one year after catastrophic floods

It's been a difficult year since record rainfall drenched the Balkans last spring, unleashing the worst flooding in more than 100 years and leaving a trail of destruction across Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. More than 70 people lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands of survivors had to evacuate as family homes and farms, roads and utilities were damaged or destroyed. Relentless summer and fall rains renewed flooding, which slowed recovery and threatened to keep many families from having warm and dry shelter in time for winter. "I have never felt so scared and helpless in all my life," recalls Ljubica, of the day last May when forceful floodwaters rushed through the doors and windows of her modest home in Šamac, Bosnia. She and her husband, Živko, both disabled, sat trapped and helpless as cold, muddy waters quickly rose toward the ceiling. Neighbors managed to carry the couple up to the attic where they spent 13 days living on food and water rations delivered by rescue boats and waiting for the floodwater to subside. When it did subside, their wood stove and water heater were all that was spared. Everything else in the couple's home of 40 years was carried away by water or buried under a foot of mud and silt.

Europe: Local authorities must be given the tools to fulfil crisis management ambitions

The international community has made encouraging commitments to improving disaster risk reduction around the world, but concrete actions speak louder than words, writes Elisabetta Gardini in the Parliament. As part of the EU delegation when the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted, Gardini writes that in order to reach the goals and boost the capabilities of developing countries there needs to be a substantial increase in international cooperation, as well as the involvement of all possible stakeholders. As Gardini explained during a ministerial roundtable on reducing disaster risk in urban settings, 'the most innovative and effective concepts and tools which are included in the European civil protection mechanism - for instance the notion of 'resilient community' - should be taken into account when indicating the methods to follow in a disaster-resilient world'.