The UNDRR Global Platform, as the umbrella institution of the entire international community, gathered numerous representatives of countries, CSOs and experts in the field of climate change, sustainable development and natural disasters this year in Geneva. The conference was attended by more than 2000 participants and thanks to the results accomplished so far by our Caritas and with help of Caritas Germany, Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Serbia also had a representative in this great and important international gathering.

Through numerous working groups and sessions, the participants were able to get to know the problems, as well as the achievements of different countries in reducing the risk of natural disasters. One of the conclusions of GPUNDRR 2019 is that even though a large number of institutions are working on achieving the goal of reducing risks, experience and work in the field prove that there are many difficulties and problems in which all humanity must make more efforts, to make the result even more efficient and effective.

Participating in small working groups, Caritas Serbia presented results/achievements in the implementation of the program Disaster risk reduction, emphasizing education as a primary activity in raising awareness of people on the importance of preparedness and prevention. The presentation of Caritas Serbia representative was interesting for the other participants, who confirmed that education is the first step in changing awareness of people. They agreed also that education is the first step in achieving the global goal – reducing the risk of consequences of natural disasters.

In addition to participating in working groups during the GPDRR 2019, Caritas Serbia used this opportunity to share, during bilateral meetings with representatives of other organizations, achievements and results of the DRR program, which is being implemented in Serbia since 2015. These presentations were an occasion to establish numerous contacts and potential partnerships with organizations in Europe and in the region.

In the last few years, Southeast Europe has become increasingly exposed to natural disasters, pointing out the necessity to establish international cooperation with as many stakeholders as possible. Experience sharing, combining resources, knowledge and skills, are allowing the continuity in the implementation of activities, which is of great importance in accomplishing the globally set goal – reducing the risk of consequences of natural disaster to a minimum level. Caritas Serbia will continue to work in the future as it has done so far.