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  • European Commission
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  • Crisis management topic 3: Demonstration activity on large scale disasters and crisis management and resilience of EU external assets against major identified threats or causes of crisis

Specific Challenge:

Governance regimes tend to lack integration when facing large-scale disaster events. State-civil society relationships, economic organization, and societal transitions have implications for disaster management. Various measures can be employed to assess management and resilience of major natural and man-made disasters. However, more research is needed in this field of study on factors that contribute to effective management of major disasters and crisis, including risk analysis and cost modelling. In particular, demonstration is needed to further improve on-field management of international and humanitarian crises operations, civil protection assistance, including deployment (before and after a crisis) of EU teams, materials and services (humanitarian logistics), possibly repatriation of EU citizens.


The demo should aim at demonstrating the EU deployable disaster and crisis management capabilities to be applied in real situations outside the EU (in typical crisis scenarios in which damaged and poor infrastructure exist and distance to the crisis will require fast response with the deployment of support facilities and equipment and evacuation of personnel). The proposals should investigate the consequences of poor and/or late situational awareness reducing the ability to comprehend the scale of a crisis, they should evaluate means to improve and restore situation awareness and communication with the in-situ teams (police forces, civil protection, etc.), and should take into account the identification of risk areas and vulnerable groups, especially for people with mobility, hearing and sight problems. Proposals should explore the cost-saving effect of comprehensive risk and threat prevention systems as well as the management cycle from the detection of a crisis event, the planning of actions and the prioritization of efforts through the mobilization of responders to the delivery of information to the responders on site. It should combine dynamic data (from sensors, aerial networks etc.) with static information (maps, infrastructure, assessment templates) keeping in mind the security of the information exchanged. Interoperability should be considered as well as health, environmental, climatic, dual-use, legal and ethical aspects.

The implementation of this crisis demonstration programme is expected to link policy, research and end-users in order to make it useful at the end, thus directly contributing to improving cooperation between science and society. It should bridge the current gaps and allow testing and validating research solutions that a later stage could be applied directly for disaster management.

Sound governance and a good knowledge of resilience factors are crucial during large scale disasters due to the involvement of a large number of actors and the uncertainty and lack of information that characterises major identified disasters and crisis. This is even more acute for situations outside the EU. In order to prepare solutions for an improved coordination, the demo should identify and take into account comprehensive and representative scenarios that will trigger as many aspects of the different crisis situations as possible, involving the tactical, operational and strategic level.

The population is always a key actor in crises and disasters, both as the affected and as the very first source of response. Enhancing the disaster resilience of societies in relation to EU external assets means first and foremost preparing the population, thus a strong citizen focus should be an important driver of the demo. In this sense, social networks and their particularities in terms of communications could be taken into account, in particular in the way they can be used for improving large scale disaster management.

Cost-efficiency should be introduced in all aspects of the disaster management activities. As such the demo should include it as a key factor (best use of available resources). In particular, the costs of coordination activities and logistics and the cost-effectiveness of disaster prevention and preparedness should be addressed with special care, reinforcing mutual confidence with a rationalisation of end-user's resources.

The demo should present a "next generation" approach to the problems targeted and solutions offered, demonstrating a clear innovative approach, going beyond activities already conducted within the EU.

The demo should build on existing tools and results of completed and on-going Seventh Framework Programme and national projects, and combining them with legacy systems and tools. Knowledge and experiences from other fields such as health, environment, climate change, transport etc. could be useful and could be brought into the demo if relevant. Finally, lessons learnt from past incidents, preparedness activities and simulations should also pave the way for future actions.

The demo should give importance to integrating adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management.

In line with the EU's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[1] international cooperation is encouraged, and in particular with international research partners involved in on-going discussions and workshops, and US homeland security research entities. Funding for third countries is however still subject to the evaluations.

Whereas activities will have an exclusive focus on civil applications, coordination with the activities of the European Defence Agency (EDA) may be considered with possible synergies being established with projects funded by the EDA programmes. The complementarity of such synergies should be described comprehensively. On-going work within the European Framework Cooperation (EFC) should be taken into account.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between €10m and €20m EUR would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

- increasing our capacity to anticipate, prepare and respond to disasters occurring outside the EU - including those potentially affecting EU external assets - through better risk assessments, monitoring and planning, including an improved use of existing assets and logistics;

- enhanced capability to deploy disaster and crisis management assets in real situations outside the EU;

- faster assessment and feedback of data to coordination centres and communication including communication and database interoperability issues;

- improved prevention, preparedness, response in line with the EU and the UN approach to Disaster Risk Reduction;

- enabling a better risk assessment and improved decision-making;

- improved communication and coordination of response actions and sharing of information with the public;

- boosting the competitiveness and visibility of EU disaster and crisis management services.

The action will also contribute to:

- support EU policy priorities in the area of disaster and crisis management , where serious major disasters or crisis require immediate action and that may affect the lives, infrastructures, the environment and EU external assets.

- contribute to the general orientations of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA2) coordinated by the United Nations International Strategy for Risk Reduction in which the EU is a working party;

- take into account the recently adopted legislation on the Civil Protection Mechanism.

The action is expected to proactively target the needs and requirements of users, such as national and local law enforcement agencies, civil protection units and first responders.

Type of action: Innovation Actions


[1] COM(2012)497

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