The representatives of the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum met for the fifth time
21st October 2015

The representatives of the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum met for the fifth time On 20 and 21 October, the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum held its scientific conference in Budapest. The key topic of the international meeting was the migration problem and the participation of voluntary organizations therein.

The National Directorate General for Disaster Management hosted the conference. From the member states of the Forum, Sweden, Great Britain, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia and Germany sent representatives to the event. Dr. Habil. István Endrődi, the national president of the Hungarian Civil Protection Association, initiator of the Forum, opened the meeting. He recalled that the conference elaborates a timely topic each year. This year, the refugee issue is at the center of attention.



MG Dr. Tibor Tollár, acting Director General of NDGDM reviewed in his presentation how the migration had evolved in the past three years. He recalled that while in 2012, the number of refugees arriving Hungary had not reached two thousand, a year later, almost ten times as many had arrived; last year forty-three thousand, this year, their number has reached three hundred and ninety thousand. The general emphasized how important role the voluntary play in solving this issue. The refugees were quite unconfident with the uniformed authorities; they tried to avoid contact with them. Therefore, it was inevitable for the voluntary organizations to participate in these efforts.


One of the organizers of the conference was the Disaster Management Institute of the National University of Public Service (NUPS). The deputy rector of NUPS, BG Dr. Habil. Gábor Kovács demonstrated the status of disaster management officer training in Hungary and the university itself. He mentioned that in the near future, a disaster management master degree course would begin and he also spoke of the Ludovika Program. The deputy rector recalled that the students had established a voluntary civil protection organization, the members of which participated in the flood protection efforts in 2013, and attended several professional meetings as well.


BG Dr. Ferenc Tóth, National Inspector General for Civil Protection of NDGDM, stressed the importance of prevention. In this relation, he mentioned that the risk analysis of Hungary has been elaborated; an ex ante report was necessary in order that Budapest receives the grants planned for the years 2014-2020 from the European Union. The general also recalled that three projects would be launched; one to develop the prevention system, two to enhance the preparedness system, concentrating on the preparations for the situation caused by the climate change. He spoke of the professional activities in Hungary; a new disaster management classification of Hungarian settlements had been elaborated; accordingly, the civil protection organizations, the personnel and the equipment had been adjusted.


In the representation of the British Red Cross, Simon Lewis delivered a lecture on how the refugee issue affects Great Britain. He said that half of the refugees are minors; the migrants are also unconfident with the uniform-wearing personnel, the immigrants do not receive adequate information. He also mentioned that the rules applying to refugees are different in each country; therefore, it is difficult to manage the phenomenon in a uniform way. The approaching winter season also will mean a challenge. Simon Lewis talked about the resettlement program launched in his country, in the framework of which shelters and infrastructure will be created for some twenty thousand refugees.


Yvonne Norrgard, a member of the Swedish Civil Protection Association presented the work of their organization, and then she mentioned that every week some two thousand five hundred minors arrive in Sweden. Mainly Syrian, Afghani and Iraqi refugees arrive in the Scandinavian country. Until late September, one hundred and fifty thousand asylum applications were submitted to the Swedish authorities. Amongst others, the responsibility of the civil protection association is to establish so-called emergency temporary homes.


The last lecture of the plenary session of the conference was delivered by Dr. Zeljko Dobranovic, the former president of the Croatian Emergency Management Association, who, amongst others, mentioned that some two hundred thousand refugees had transited his country, but no asylum applications had been submitted to the authorities. Zeljko Dobranovic ascertained that there are circumstances that evoke revulsion in the population, however, he stressed that the Christian and Muslim religious organizations equally take their share in managing the migrant issue in Croatia.


In the second part of the day, panel discussions were held. One of the groups discussed the topic of the role and responsibility of European voluntary civil, protection organizations in assisting the tasks in relation to the great number of refugees arriving in Europe. The other panel dealt with the development possibilities of the cooperation between state entities and the voluntary civil protection and humanitarian organizations.


At the conference, the members of the Coordination Council were elected. The newly elected members are Dr. Zeljko Dobranovic from Croatia, Mr. Zoltán Török from Romania, Ms. Ivana Jancikova from Slovakia, Ms. Yvonne Norrgard from Sweden and Mr. Simon Lewis from the United Kingdom.

Dr. Habil. István Endrődi became the President of EVCPF again. Dr. Zsolt Dalnoki was elected Secretary General again of the organization.

On the second day, the representatives observed an exercise organized by the Disaster Management Directorate of Budapest.


Source: NDGDM


The representatives of the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum met for the fifth time The representatives of the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum met for the fifth time The representatives of the European Voluntary Civil Protection Forum met for the fifth time