Flood disasters and hydro-meteorological events are increasing throughout Europe and regularly across national borders. Therefore, a cross-border exchange of national experiences in dealing with disaster risks is valuable and necessary for European and international cooperation.

This year, for the first time, an international pre-event was organised as part of the “Fachtagung Katastrophenvorsorge” (Disaster Risk Reduction Conference). In response to recent hydro-meteorological events in Europe, this event, entitled “Fostering European Exchange: Transformations towards a sustainable and resilient future”, discussed how to achieve a transformation towards a resilient and sustainable future. Panelists Reimund Schwarze from the German DKKV (Deutsches Komitee Katastrophenvorsorge e.V.), Myriam Merad from the French AFPCN (Association française pour la prévention des catastrophes naturelles) and René Kastner from the Austrian DCNA (Disaster Competence Network Austria) presented experiences, lessons-learned and lessons-to-learn from recent disasters in their respective countries for discussion. The pre-event showed the importance of bottom-up initiatives networking through platforms to learn with and from each other. All three platforms called for more collaboration on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and resilience research and initiatives. At the same time, they called for organisations such as DKKV, AFPCN and DCNA to be more involved in shaping European DRR policy. About 70 participants attended the event, which led to an exciting and very enriching discussion round afterwards.