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OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Italy 2010

Review of the Italian National Civil Protection System

image of OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Italy 2010
This OECD review of risk management policies focuses on the Italian civil protection system and its means to prepare for and react to earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, landslides and even volcanoes. The Italian National Civil Protection Service can rapidly mobilise operational resources for emergency management and recovery both at home, throughout Europe and around the world. Its components constantly research known hazards to better understand and model vulnerabilities, while technical experts co-operate in real time to monitor events as they unfold and operate the early warning systems. These professionals are supported by a highly organised and motivated volunteer service unseen elsewhere in OECD countries. What makes these many parts of the civil protection system work as one effective whole, however, is its governance structure under the direct authority of the Italian Prime Minister.  

Recent years have seen a steep increase in the frequency and economic impacts of disasters, and Italy has been no exception. In addition to increased seasonal variance linked to climate change, the devastating earthquakes around L’Aquilla in 2009 make Italy a case study for policy-makers, emergency management practitioners, academics and international organisations who are searching for solutions, notably in the areas of disaster damage reduction policies. The Italian civil protection system offers a rich source of best practices for their consideration. The National Department of Civil Protection in particular, as the hub of the National Civil Protection Service, provides a model of professionalism and leadership. The review report also identifies many challenges facing the Italian civil protection system and areas where improvements are still needed.

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Risk assessment, prevention and early warning

When the Italian National Civil Protection Service (NCPS) was established in 1992, forecasting and prevention measures were included in the scope of civil protection. The concept of prevention is no longer limited to the rescue of persons in emergency situations and reconstruction or restoration, but also includes measures to limit the major risks in Italy. There has been an important shift in the legislation from a system that focused primarily on post emergency intervention to a system that includes risk assessments, forecasting and risk prevention measures. The tasks and responsibilities for these upstream activities involve civil protection actors at central and regional levels of public administration and the scientific community.

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