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Strengthening the European disaster response capacity

The European Union (EU) is to adopt a new strategy for the management of natural or man-made disasters. The strategy will enable the EU to improve the coordination of its response and the use of existing instruments.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 26 October 2010 - Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance (Text with EEA relevance) [COM(2010) 600 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Commission presents a series of proposals to strengthen the European Union’s response capacity in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The EU delivers its assistance to the victims of disasters occurring both in EU member countries and throughout the world.

The new strategy therefore aims to facilitate the mobilisation of skills and resources in the area of civil protection and humanitarian assistance.

These proposals are based on two new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty: Article 196 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which enables the EU to improve European disaster coordination and Article 122 of the TFEU which provides for the establishment of a solidarity fund.

Coherence of the response

The new strategy is based on the bringing together of humanitarian assistance and civil protection services. In this context, a new European Emergency Response Centre is to be set up within the Commission’s Directorate General ECHO. It is to operate in liaison with the civil protection and humanitarian assistance authorities in EU countries, and in coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS) and EU Delegations in the event of responses in third countries.

The Commission also supports improved coordination with the United Nations (UN), in particular through information exchange. The quality of this information exchange is to be ensured by establishing several levels of focal points down to local level, online communication tools such as the CECIS system and the provision of real-time information.

Efficiency of the response

The strategy aims to improve the efficiency of the response by:

  • planning and advance mapping of resources and capacities in order to ensure immediate deployment;
  • pre-positioning of relief assets, through the establishment of an international logistics network maximising the use of local resources;
  • needs assessment, in the disaster relief phase and then in preparing for the rehabilitation operations;
  • the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of logistics operations, through coordination units at European level;
  • the coordination of transport, by using the private and military sectors and international organisations but also by increasing the options for European co-financing;
  • the use of military assets, in particular by coordinating responses within the Commission.

The Commission also proposes to increase the visibility of the EU’s response by means of a new communication strategy.

Last updated: 09.02.2011
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