Luxembourg Government to host humanitarian technology showcase [EN/FR]

from Emergency Telecommunications Cluster
Published on 04 Apr 2014

LUXEMBOURG – Five days of international cooperation and innovation begin in Luxembourg on Monday with the Humanitarian Information and Communications Technology Week. The week will bring together representatives from the UN, the Luxembourg government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and other groups to discuss how technology can improve international disaster response. Key themes will include preparing for the next emergency, understanding the latest trends and developments in technology in the developing world and building the partnerships needed to deliver in a crisis.

“I am delighted and honoured that Luxembourg is hosting the Humanitarian ICT week for the first time. It is a testimony of our commitment to the Emergency Telecommunications cluster and our increasing involvement in disaster preparedness and response. I believe that, as part of the cluster’s response solution, greatly contributes to the coordination of efforts in the field, as it has recently been proven after typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We trust that the discussions this week will help us shape the future of this innovative tool,” says Romain Schneider, Minister for Development and Humanitarian Affairs.

The Humanitarian ICT Week, from 7-11 April, will consist of three key events:

  1. Technology Innovation Day April 7
  2. Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) Plenary meeting April 8 - 9
  3. Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications April 10 – 11

Technology Innovation Day will see demonstrations of new technological solutions applicable to life-saving aid operations. “When developing new solutions for field-based operations, collaboration is fundamental to ensuring reliability and predictability of new technologies,” says Jakob Kern, Chief Information Officer, World Food Programme (WFP) and Chair of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster. “Through Technology Innovation Day we will foster humanitarian-private-government sector partnerships for the development of future life-saving tools.”

Members of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster – a global network of organisations involved in the ICT response to disasters – will discuss the latest developments and advances at the ETC Plenary meeting. Participating organisations will reflect on recent and current operations including those in Central African Republic, Philippines, Mali and Syria.

The Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications will bring together over 150 participants from national governments, UN entities, NGOs, private sector and academia, to examine three interrelated themes: Communications with Affected Communities, Mobile Money and Envisioning the future humanitarian landscape.

“The WGET is an open forum to facilitate use of technology in humanitarian assistance,” says Patrick Gordon, Chief Information Technology division, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Chair of the WGET. “Key issues facing humanitarian operations in terms of ICT, from Humanitarianism in the Cyberwarfare age to Addressing the communications needs of disaster affected communities will be addressed. Through facilitating this discussion on difficult topics we hope to increase effectiveness of our participants in humanitarian and disaster relief.” Over 40 different organisations across the relief, private and government sectors will participate in this first of a kind event, including - Luxembourg’s mobile satellite-based telecommunications solution – Ericsson, OCHA, WFP, Skype and SES.

About ‘’ is a public-private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and Luxembourg based companies. The satellite-based solution addresses the challenge of global rapid response capacity by providing a solution to restore communications services in the first hours and days after a large-scale disaster, or in remote locations. The solution consists of satellite infrastructure and capacity; communication and coordination services; satellite ground terminals for long-term and rapid deployment; and transportation of equipment to the disaster area.

For more information:

About the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC)

The Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC) is a global network of organisations that work together to provide common communications services in humanitarian emergencies. Within 48 hours of a disaster, the ETC provides basic security communications services and shared voice and internet connectivity to humanitarian actors in the field.

UN agencies and programmes, NGOs, Stand-by Partners, government and other humanitarian organisations partner with the ETC to fulfil its mandate and objectives. In emergency situations, members exchange information and expertise and provide personnel, equipment and solutions.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the Global ETC lead, responsible for coordinating the deployment and implementation of security and data communications services in close partnership with member organisations.
For more information:

About the Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET) ICT Humanitarian Forum

The Working Group for Emergency Telecommunications (WGET) was established in 1996 as a technical forum promoting collaboration on interagency telecommunications issues. It supports the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster. The WGET is an open forum at which those involved in disaster response and telecommunications – UN, NGOs, private sector and government representatives among others – discuss recent experiences, consider new technologies and build partnerships that will ensure a better response in future crises. Key issues on this year’s agenda include providing telecommunications support to affected communities, the challenges of data security, mobile money in disasters and how the network age is changing disaster response.

Joint press release from the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and the partners of the Humanitarian ICT week


Journalists are welcome to join the WGET ICT Humanitarian Forum (10-11 April) and can register online here:

Contact :

ALLEN Alexandra
E-mail :
Tél. : (+352) 247-82480

Mariko Hall
Public Information Officer
IT Emergency Preparedness & Response branch
World Food Programme (WFP)
Mob: +971 50 551 0775