The Resolution on the National Programme of Protection against Natural and Other Disasters for the Period 2016–2022 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 75/16) stipulates that the National Programme of Protection against Natural and Other Disasters (hereinafter: the Programme) takes into account all hazards of natural and other disasters that pose a threat to people, animals, property, cultural heritage, and the environment. Furthermore, it takes into account the natural and other factors affecting the likelihood of disasters and the protection against them, as well as human and material resources that can be used to control hazards and protect people at risk. In addition to national interests, the Programme also covers Slovenia’s commitments that derive from the adopted international and regional contracts, conventions and agreements, and bilateral agreements in the field of protection against natural and other disasters. The Programme follows the guidelines of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and is in line with the principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has been aligned with Decision No. 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, as amended in 2019 and 2021, which is aimed towards strengthening the member states’ cooperation in providing security and protection for the population, property, and the environment, including cultural heritage, during natural and other disasters, and which promotes greater coherence and efficiency of international rescue operations.
Slovenia adopted the Strategy of adaptation of Slovenian agriculture and forestry to climate change as early as 2008. Its fundamental starting point is that agriculture and forestry management must play a central role in water use efficiency in arid areas, ensuring conditions for adequate drinking water, as well as improving flood management, and pest and disease management. The Strategy identifies five strategic adaptation pillars: capacity building to support the adaptation of agriculture and forestry; education, raising awareness and counselling; maintaining and acquiring new knowledge about climate change and about adapting to it; agricultural and forestry policy measures; changes to applicable regulations; and strengthening international cooperation and partnerships in adapting agriculture and forestry to climate change, in particular within the EU.
The supporting document of the Strategy is the Action Plan of the Strategy of adaptation of Slovenian agriculture and forestry to climate change. The Action Plan includes climate change adaptation measures implemented through the Action Plan funds or other programmes, projects or regular tasks. Since 2012, the Action Plan has failed to provide funds, however, measures funded from other sources have been implemented under the Rural Development Programme 2007–2013 and by bodies in the agricultural sector in the course of performing their work and tasks. In accordance with the five strategic pillars of adaptation, targeted research projects and other topics have been carried out. Among other things, a research paper entitled Establishing a system of multidisciplinary spatial data for predicting and assessing the implications of natural disasters in agriculture was produced. In order to find solutions for adapting to climate change, the Ministry establishes links with national and foreign institutions, both at the level of state administration and at the level of NGOs and research institutions.
In 2013, the European Fisheries Fund co-financed the purchase of two anti-pollution vessels, which are available to the competent authorities for responding to environmental disasters at sea.
Given that measures to mitigate the consequences of adverse weather conditions are ineffective in comparison to the damage to crops caused by a natural disaster, the Rural Development Programme 2014–2020 is aimed at promoting those agricultural technologies that can prevent natural disasters or mitigate their consequences. Slovenia will support investment in climate change adaptation (hail nets, greenhouses), irrigation systems and equipment, and special agricultural machinery. Furthermore, it will support education, training, counselling and knowledge transfer that will help reduce the damage of natural disasters, improve risk management and support climate change adaptation.
In research and development, Slovenia is also a member of the JPI Climate – Joint Programming Initiative, as cooperation is of great importance in promoting research and development in the area of climate change adaptation. This also contributes to strengthening international scientific collaboration with EU scientific institutions in the field of climate change.
Furthermore, one of the fundamental objectives of protection against natural and other disasters is to continue with the measures and activities aimed at improving the overall preparedness for natural and other disasters caused by modern threats and climate change, and to shorten the response time, including by renewing personal and group protective/rescue equipment for all rescue services, and through an upgrade of the vehicle fleet by gradually purchasing specialised vehicles for individual rescue structures.
In the process of developing prevention activities, a flood protection strategy and programme will be prepared based on the prescribed conditions for, and restrictions on, the implementation of activities and interventions in flood risk areas and the related erosion. The preparation of scientific bases, especially future climate scenarios, will be accelerated in order to make decisions concerning the conditions of the use and protection of areas prone to floods, landslides and erosion, and of water protection areas. Legislation on water management will be supplemented, in particular the part regulating the operation of mandatory national public services of general economic interest. The reorganization will continue, concession relationships will be amended and the operation of the competent body will be adapted to the requirements of the European and national legislation and to the impacts of climate change. Special emphasis will be placed on the realization of urgent investments and maintenance of important water infrastructure facilities in the field of water management, which are a major improvement to the water regime. The reconstruction and construction of the missing part of the flood dams along the Mura river, as well as investments in flood prevention measures in the areas of Ljubljana, Železniki, and the Savinja and Drava rivers, will continue.
In the future, based on new risk assessments for individual disasters, National Emergency Response Plans will be updated to take greater account of the new environmental problems resulting from climate change. The planned solutions will be implemented only on condition that they include a proper assessment of climate change impacts. An assessment of the compliance of the updated plans with the basic plans will be introduced on a permanent basis. Special emphasis will be placed on the completion of Emergency Response Plans for major traffic accidents in highway tunnels. Rescue in the event of accidents in long railway tunnels will be addressed. The concepts of emergency response operations that support the involvement of firefighters and other rescuers from the wider region will be updated and used for all accidents where such concepts are considered reasonable and efficient.
In the context of guidelines on education and training, education and training programmes will be developed. Seminars and workshops will be held, along with other forms of engagement aimed at informing and raising awareness about, and providing training for, the protection of cultural heritage in the event of natural and other disasters, which will also cover climate change adaptation. All these activities will target experts responsible for the protection of cultural heritage (conservators, curators, restorers, etc.), owners, possessors and managers of cultural heritage, units and forces involved in the system of emergency response in the event of natural and other disasters (firefighters, Civil Protection, etc.), spatial planners, designers and the public concerned.
Operating in individual international frameworks, Slovenia also follows the guidelines on promoting research and development in the area of climate change adaptation.
One of the priorities for development cooperation and humanitarian aid of the Republic of Slovenia is the fight against climate change, focused on sustainable management of natural and energy resources. In recent years, Slovenia has significantly increased its contributions for improving food security, in total EUR 160,000 for WFP in 2021 (Madagascar, Afghanistan and Yemen). Slovenia also addressed climate change and its consequences during a meeting with member states under its EU Council Presidency. Slovenia’s rapid response to disasters resulting from climate change such as the volcano and tsunami disaster in Tonga and in Madagascar, Malawi in Mozambique (EUR 30,000 per country). Documents on humanitarian aid for the Government are currently under coordination. Furthermore, Slovenia meets these commitments through projects in sub-Saharan Africa (Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda).