« A strengthened Civil Protection system for better managing emergencies and serving the population of democratic Tunisia » will be the main subject of the two-day workshop organised by the EU funded Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation Programme on Civil Protection and the Tunisian Civil Protection Department next 23 – 24 November 2011 in Tunis. The workshop will be attended by representatives of all Tunisian Ministries involved in emergency management as well as of non-governmental organisations assisting the population in case of crisis. Delegates of the EU Member States will also participate together with officers of international organisations assisting Tunisia in the reinforcement of national capacities for emergency preparedness and response.
The Tunis workshop, the first PPRD South national event gathering all civil protection actors to discuss available options for the development of national crisis management capacities, will be opened by H.E. Habib Essid, Tunisian Ministry of the Interior, and H.E. Adrianus Koetsenruijter, Head of the EU Delegation in Tunisia. Mr. Peter Billing, Head of the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and Mr. Pierluigi Soddu, Executive Director of the PPRD South Programme will highlight the aim of the initiative and confirm the EU support to Tunisia during this transition process to democracy.
The first session of the event will focus on the review and the analysis of the recent Libyan refugee crisis in which all the workshop participants played an important role and directly witnessed the national response to the complex emergency as well as that of the international assistance. Their experiences will be illustrated and lessons learned highlighted with suggestions proposed on how to better benefit from them.
Three thematic working groups will discuss and identify a set of recommendations for reinforcing the Tunisian civil protection system in the framework of the ongoing reform process of the civil security sector for a democratic Tunisia. The three groups will address respectively the set up and management of a national network of civil protection volunteers, the inter-ministerial coordination mechanism in case of crisis and the coordination of international assistance.
From 18th February 2011 up to date, the Tunisian Civil Protection has been on the forefront of the humanitarian crisis caused by the massive flow of refugees seeking shelter and protection from the conflict in Libya. This long crisis posed unprecedented challenges to the Tunisian civil protection system, either in terms of organisational capacity or in terms of human resources and operational equipment. The arrival of more than 350.000 refugees demanding shelter, water and food, medical treatments, repatriation assistance or a new homeland, required an enormous mobilisation effort by the Tunisian civil protection system. In this situation, the results achieved by the Civil Protection and the Ministry of Defence together with the other national institutions and organisations, the international community and the spontaneous support by the local population are to be considered outstanding. To date around 3600 refugees still live in the Choucha camp near the Libya-Tunisia border waiting for a solution to their situation that for most of them can only be a new homeland.