NATO and civil emergency response: marking 20 years since the creation of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre

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NATO has played an important role in the domain of civil emergency response for twenty years. On 3 June 1998, the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) was established. The EADRCC is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism.

The EADRCC stands ready as a 24/7 clearing-house mechanism for the coordination of requests and offers of international assistance amongst NATO Allies and partners.

The coordination activities involve close cooperation with NATO Military Authorities and consultation with International Organisations such as the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), the European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Centre’s mandate was initially limited to natural and man-made disasters and to the geographical area of fifty countries, including NATO Allies and the signatories of the Partnership for Peace. Over time, the mandate has been widened to cover also requests for assistance in the event of a major chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) incident and gradually extended to cover the territories of NATO partners from the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, as well as of other partners across the globe. Currently, the Centre’s mandate covers the geographical area of 70 countries.

Over the last 20 years, the Centre has been responding to more than 70 requests for assistance from nations affected by natural and man-made disasters. In 2005, the EADRCC played an important coordinating role in NATO’s humanitarian relief to the United States after hurricane Katrina and to Pakistan after the devastating earthquake. In 2017 and 2018 EADRCC coordinated international assistance following requests received from countries affected by floods, forest fires, technological disasters as well as medical supply crisis.

The Centre personnel consists of members of the NATO International Staff and Voluntary National Contributions (VNCs) seconded by Allies and partner countries. Over the last two decades, 24 nations contributed with more than 40 VNCs.

In addition to its day-to-day activities and immediate responses to sudden-onset disasters, the EADRCC conducts large consequence management exercises with NATO countries and partners. Over the last two decades, 48 nations participated in seventeen EADRCC exercises. The 18th EADRCC consequence management field exercise will be hosted by Serbia in October 2018.