Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

To encourage the development of a global management information network to enhance the management of emergency response situations, risks and knowledge.


During the G-7 Ministerial Conference devoted to the Information Society (Brussels 25-26 February) the G-7 members, along with the European Commission, decided to launch 11 pilot projects which are designed to demonstrate the potential benefits of the Information Society and to stimulate its deployment.

The key objectives of the pilot projects are to:

- Support international consensus on common principles for applications, access and interoperability of networks;
- Establish groundwork for cooperation among G-7 partners to create a critical mass to address the global Information Society issue;
- Create an opportunity for information exchange leading to further development of the Information Society;
- Identify and select exemplary projects with tangible, understandable, and demonstrable social, economic, and cultural benefits;
- Identify obstacles to implementing applications related to a global Information Society;
- Help create markets for new products and services.

The pilot project on Global Emergency Management aims at fostering the implementation of national emergency management systems and linking national systems into a global network in order to improve the ability of communities, countries or regions to respond to disasters and to manage risk. In this context, the pilot project aims to:L
- Develop and implement systems to acquire, process, manage, display, and disseminate information to support decision-making for natural, technological, biological, and humanitarian disaster responses, environmental monitoring, and risk management;
- Develop and implement global networks to exchange information among emergency management organizations and the public in developed and developing nations;
- Establish global protocols for information standards, emergency access, and search techniques to facilitate rapid exchanges of emergency management information.

Once operational, the global emergency management network is expected to have the following benefits and impacts:

- Reduce human suffering, destruction of infrastructure, and environmental degradation;
- Increased information exchanges will stimulate improved emergency management;
- Enhanced international communications will foster development of international standards;
- Improved coordination of international disaster response will aid developing nations;
- A global network would provide a common platform to facilitate technology transfer.

The other pilot projects which were launched at the Brussels G-7 Ministerial Meeting cover the following theme areas: Global inventory; Global interoperability of broadband networks; Cross-cultural education and training; Electronic Libraries; Electronic museums and galleries; Global emergency management; Global healthcare applications; Government online; Global market place for SMEs; and Maritime information systems.


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Canada is responsible for the operational coordination of the Global Emergency Management pilot project, supported by an Executive Committee (responsible for implementing decisions and coordinating activities), a "Committee of the Whole" (which decides project goals, objectives, principles, tasks and priorities and specific Task Groups (which undertake tasks related to the overall project).

The pilot project is implemented through 17 sub-projects, global networks, and global protocols. The sub-projects employ a wide-range of information technology, knowledge, and experience; they are grouped into the following categories:

- Networks (information-3, operational-3);
- Support (communication-3, monitoring-2, specific functions-5);
- Hazards (1).

The sub-projects will be the foundation for prototype network development. Resources are available through the sub-projects sponsored by participating organizations. They are responsible for completing individual elements related to implementing networks, support functions, or specific hazards, as indicated in sub-project proposals. Individual elements will be linked into global all-hazard emergency information networks that will expand to incorporate additional hazards, functions, and countries. Global protocols will involve task groups to address issues, such as: emergency access, security, standards, reliability, search engines, language, coordination, and communication.

The following organizations and bodies are to participate in the implementation of the project: International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (UN); Simon Fraser University (CAN); Federal Emergency Management Agency (US); Emergency Preparedness Canada (CAN); Quasar Consultants (NOR); Pan American Health Organization (UN); Spar Aerospace, Inc. (CAN); National Emergency Telecommunication Network (US); Response Net (US); National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US); IBM Government Systems (US); Canadian Forest Service (CAN); Environmental Technology and Telecommunications (US); Shebute Inc. (US); University of Wisconsin (US); University of Plymouth (UK).

Implementation of the project is envisaged in five phases:

- Phase 1: Inventory of available systems; design of a global network;
- Phase 2: Evaluate, select and demonstrate prototype thematic systems;
- Phase 3: Link thematic systems into a prototype global network;
- Phase 4: Incorporate additional systems, countries and linkages;
- Phase 5: Implement a global emergency management information network.

A prototype network is expected to be developed in 1996 with an expanded network, which incorporates additional hazards, functions and countries, scheduled for 1997. It is expected that an operational global emergency network will be in place some time in 1998.
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