6th UCPM Experts Day in Brussels

International missions
As per annual custom, all Belgiantrained experts within the framework of UCPM (European Civil Protection Mechanism) gathered in Brussels on 28 October 2022 for a seminar. After two previous editions took place online because of COVID-19, it was an excellent time to meet live again.
UCPM Experts Day à Bruxelles

The Belgian UCPM experts come from a wide range of disciplines, sectors and disaster management services.  In their daily work, many of these experts have relatively little contact with the UCPM and work with different partners in different networks.  These annual seminars are an important time to maintain and strengthen ties with UCPM and highlight the strength of this network.

During the seminar, the latest UCPM developments were expertly explained by representatives of the European Commission (DG ECHO).  Afterwards, activities taking place in Belgium in 2022 were also brought forward, with a particular focus on the Belgian support to Ukraine, an overview of B-FAST operations with a focus on the mission in Pakistan.  A live link from Pakistan to show the status of the ongoing B-FAST mission gave extra cachet to the seminar. Finally, the morning session focused on emergency capacity development as a whole.

The afternoon sessions focused on two hot topics, namely firefighting in Europe, where the challenges of integration of international emergency assistance were addressed by a colleague from the French Direction générale de la Sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises, and the protection of cultural heritage, by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage.  The day ended playfully with a UCPM game and there was an opportunity for questions and discussion.

The UCPM Experts Day aims not only to provide experts with the necessary information.  The development of a network ensures that experts on a UCPM mission inside or outside Belgium can fall back on a network from the wide range of services represented in this network.   These informal contacts can form the basis for further professional development and also create a sense of belonging.

Cooperation indeed always ensures a better approach and response to disasters in Europe and elsewhere.