18th European Week of Regions and Cities

Organizer(s) European Committee of the Regions

With over 75% of citizens now living in urban settings across Europe, cities and regions are more than ever on the frontline when a disaster strikes. The dramatic impacts of the global pandemic struck at the heart of our local settings, across all regions of the EU. Governments at all levels, in particular, local and regional authorities, have been called upon to provide emergency services, coordinate efforts, and mitigate as far as possible the impact on economies. In an effort to contain the impacts of the virus, local authorities have taken various measures in addition to national measures, to reduce the existing risk and prevent future risks associated with biological hazards. The role of local initiatives and processes, such as volunteering networks, has been critical in responding to the immediate needs and recovery efforts. At the same time, cities and regions continue to face risks in their local contexts, which make the landscape of risk particularly complex and increase the vulnerability of citizens, vital systems, and economies.

You are warmly invited to this virtual workshop, organized by the Committee of the Regions Natural Resources Commission and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, in partnership with the Center for European Volunteering. The event will bring together local (cities and municipalities) and regional representatives to share their experience in building local resilience in the face of a complex risk landscape, recently exacerbated by the pandemic outbreak.

Speakers will represent Municipalities and Regions across Italy, France, and Spain, with a key member of the Committee of the Regions' Natural Resources Commission, as well as representatives of the United Nations and the center for European Volunteering.

Discussions will enable us to draw some good practices and lessons learned and give critical attention to a topic at the heart of local authorities’ strategies for resilience and disaster risk reduction, and the role of societal resilience through volunteer engagement.

The timing of the session will coincide with the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October, focused this year on national and local Strategies for Disaster Risk Reduction, under Target E of the Global Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Over the course of 90min, speakers will reflect on their own local and regional experiences in addressing disaster shocks, systemic stresses and tackling the sanitary crisis, and make concrete recommendations for building back better and more resilient systems.

Workshop Panel:

Opening statement by Octavian Bivol, Chief of the Regional Office for Europe of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.


  • Noémie Fompeyrine, Head of the Paris Resilience Office, City of Paris (France)
  • Begoña Villacís Sánchez, Vice-Mayor, Madrid City Council (Spain)
  • Roberto Ciambetti, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, President of the Italian delegation in the CoR, and President of the Veneto Regional Council (Italy)
  • Cristina Piva, Councillor for Volunteering and Education, City of Padova (Italy), European Volunteering Capital 2020 Closing remarks by Gabriella Civico, Director of the Centre for European Volunteering.

The workshop will be moderated by Andrew Bower, Programme Management Officer of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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