With great enthusiasm the Core Team of the CapaCities project had its first meeting from 23 to 25 January. In the CapaCities project the Core Team will develop, coordinate and teach a curriculum for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) to develop the knowledge and skills of “DRM focal points” in three cities in Eastern Partnership Countries: Ararat (Armenia), Kutaisi (Georgia) and Ungheni (Moldova). The Core Team discussed the structure and content of the curriculum and prepared the first international Learning and Experience Sharing (LES) meeting, planned to be held in February.
Project manager of CapaCities is Nico van Os of the Safety Region South-Holland South (the Netherlands). He has also been project manager for the EU projects MiSRaR, PRISMA and CRISMAS and participated in the EU Peer Reviews for Disaster Risk Management. Nico is excited to start with the new project. “It is great to continue sharing our experiences and lessons learnt from the previous projects, but now in Eastern Partnership Countries. We see great potential for growth of DRM capacities there. On the other hand, I feel that as a Dutch partner we can learn a lot from their practical approaches and open-mindedness.”
The second partner in the Core Team is Ruud Houdijk of ITINERIS health & safety (the Netherlands). He has also participated in the EU projects MiSRaR, PRISMA and CRISMAS, as well as the EU Peer Reviews. “It is an honour to have been awarded this new project, as one of 17 projects out of 84 proposals. We strongly believe our project can contribute to stronger DRM in the Eastern Neighbourhood Countries. Moreover, we hope our approach to the curriculum and to local peer reviews might also encourage and help other cities in the EU and its neighbourhood to strengthen DRM capacities.”
The third partner in the Core Team is the Regional Centre of Sustainable Development (Moldova). Svetlana Ciobanu and Liliana Tincu were also involved in the CRISMAS project. Svetlana is sure they can contribute from the specific perspective of the Eastern Neighbourhood within the Core Team. “As NGO we are very experienced in local and international projects that deliver concrete results. As partner from Moldova, we know the needs and issues from the Eastern Neighbourhood Countries by heart.” Liliana agrees: “The CRISMAS project has helped us to develop our own skills for Disaster Risk Management. Now we feel confident to share our lessons with other cities. For us as Regional Centre of Sustainable Development, the starting point will be mainstreaming DRM with sustainable development, one of the main needs of cities in the Eastern Neighbourhood.”
During their own kick-off meeting, the Core Team participated in Brussels in the kick-off of the European Commission for the prevention and preparedness projects of the 2017 call for proposals. There the team has learnt about the other financed projects. “We are certain we can seek practical exchange with a number of those project. Perhaps we can showcase some of their results as practical examples in our DRM curriculum”, explains Nico. “We will definitely seize the opportunity to collect their lessons and experiences and share them with the focal points of our 3 cities.”
The coming weeks the Core Team will prepare the first curriculum event. As a result from the kick-off, the team is confident they will have an excellent cooperation. Svetlana concludes: “I am sure as professionals we will have a great synergy within the Core Team. At the same time, we have already built a trans-European personal friendship with our Core Team partners that ensures a stable basis for our cooperation. As Ararat, Kutaisi and Ungheni already are sister-cities, I am sure we will further deepen this friendship and cooperation with all project partners, as a basis for continued cooperation in the years to come.”