Belgian UCPM experts day

Civil protection
On the 3rd of December the Belgian Directorate-General for Civil Protection organized its 5th UCPM Experts’ Day. This yearly seminar brings together all Belgian Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) trained experts, providing them with updates on the evolutions within the UCPM and the Belgian activities and projects in the domain of international emergency assistance. This year it had to be online, but it usually takes place for a whole day in the centre of Brussels, enabling formal and informal exchanges.

Belgian UCPM trained experts come from a wide variety of disciplines and sectors, and levels of emergency management authorities. We have trained experts from fire services, civil protection units, maritime response, medical services, emergency planning at all levels, police, foreign affairs, defence and more. In their daily job, many of these experts have very few links with the UCPM and work together with different partners and within different networks. These yearly seminars form an important moment for our experts to maintaining a connection with the UCPM and help nurture the network between all of them.

The scope of our UCPM experts is naturally set beyond our own national borders. In our event, we try to support an open and interested view by each time inviting the European Commission services (DG ECHO) and foreign colleagues to present a topic, or just participate in the discussions. This year the EU Commission presented an overview of the latest developments within the Mechanism, with a special focus on HERA (the new Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority).

The National Training Coordinator from Portugal also joined this year, as Portugal would like to organize their own experts’ day. A Slovak expert who worked on the mission at that time, testified warmly of the importance of the assistance the Belgian medical team provided in Slovakia, from the very city the team had been working.
One expert joined from our Belgian embassy in China. 

Being involved as a stakeholder on a UCPM mission; be it in a host nation role, as part of an intervention team or as an expert, is always a bit being alone. You are in an unknown environment and situation, detached from your daily infrastructure and network. In addition to the UCPM trainings and exercises, as a “Belgian Knowledge Network”, the Experts Days can help our experts to take with them a small known house. It provides them with some recognizable elements in their new setting, a network they can rely on and friends that can support them. It also enables them, where needed, to quickly connect with the wide range of services represented in our network, ranging from the Belgian diplomatic services to, for example, the Belgian burn specialists association. 

Alone we can do a lot, but together we can do much more.