Following the UK, Finland is the second country to have completed the peer review process assessing its implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the world's comprehensive agreement on disaster risk reduction. Earlier this week in Geneva, the result peer review report was handed over to the Finish government by the undertaking organisations: the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
The Peer Review process was conducted from 7-12 October in Helsinki, Finland, with Austria, France, Georgia and the UK acting as the peers. Over 37 stakeholders from 20 different stakeholder organisations were interviewed, including central government authorities and agencies, non-governmental organisations, volunteer organizations, academia and businesses.
Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director at ECHO, co-handed over the review to the Finnish ambassador on behalf of the EU. She stated: “Beyond the benefits for Finland, the peer review process is very important at EU level for fostering EU solidarity and strengthening the EU cooperation in disaster risk management. Now, with the new EU civil protection legislation all EU Members have supported the peer review process, which can be in the future widely used by Member States to improve risk management governance and share good practices.”
The Peer Review in disaster risk manage¬ment provides a framework for cooperation and mutual learning between EU Member States in the field of disaster risk management and civil protection. It has been acknowledged as an important tool for assessing the progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action and related EU disaster risk management policies contributing to its implementation. It effectively addresses subjectivity issues present in many self-reporting tools. The process has proven to be a great benefit to the countries involved and also provided an excellent exchange forum among the peers themselves, while stimulating a wider EU policy dialogue on disaster risk reduction.