Global prospects

Review of the Italian National Civil Protection System


04/05/2010 - Italy should enforce tougher restrictions on building in areas that risk earthquakes or forest fires and impose tougher sanctions on violations in the face of a growing threat of natural disasters due to climate change, according to a new OECD report presented in Rome by the OECD Secretary-General, with the participation of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and Italian Undersecretary of State Bertolaso (Read the OECD Secretary-General's speech).

Italy is more exposed to a broad range of natural hazards, from volcanic eruptions and landslides to floods and forest fires, than most other European countries, the report notes. In one recent case, an earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy on 6 April 2009 caused 309 deaths, with reconstruction costs estimated at EUR 12 billion.

Italy’s National Civil Protection System (NCPS), which is charged with handling such disasters, responded quickly and effectively to the Abruzzo earthquake, says the report. It demonstrated its ability to evaluate rapidly and accurately the severity of the incident and respond appropriately, speeding up the deployment of rescuers.

However, Italy can do better and the report makes a series of recommendations for action:

  • Strengthening the enforcement of land use restrictions in zones exposed to natural hazards and ensuring the application of seismic codes in buildings and public infrastructure. A more effective system of inspections is needed, and harsher penalties for violations such as building on previously burnt land.

  • Setting minimum standards for civil protection services throughout Italy. The capacity for emergency management in some municipalities is underdeveloped, even in regions with very high risks of natural disasters. An efficient inspection system, supplemented by the power to implement sanctions, is needed so that minimum standards are adhered to in all provinces and municipalities.

  • Improving insurance cover for major risks. The take up of private insurance against natural disasters is limited. Putting in place a public-private system that would improve insurance coverage for natural disaster losses and reinforce incentives to invest in mitigation measures, such as lower premiums, would help.


>> Read the Review of the Italian National Civil Protection System

>> For comment or further information, journalists should contact Jack Radisch of the OECD’s International Futures Programme (tel. + 33 1 45 24 18 03)


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