Project INDIMA, funded by DG ECHO, will develop, and enhance a network concept for better and holistic civil protection and disaster risk management by integrating all relevant stakeholders into a new concept. After the first six months of project INDIMA we were faced with some expected and some unexpected results. The need for integrating as many stakeholders as possible was confirmed.
Description of the proposal:
The needs assessment will identify the roles and responsibilities and their interrelations (key stakeholder mapping) and assess the risks of the functionality of the existing network for civil protection. This will help to quickly identify the key stakeholders in each area, as well as the types of input they require, what kind of communication they might need and when, and more. Participating stakeholders will raise awareness and improve knowledge on the consequences of cross‐sectorial disasters and contribute to the strengthening of the response network.
The survey’s main task was to get tangible results of the question: Interrelations between actors involved in emergency situations”. The start of the online survey was on 29 April 2021, used media were Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 3,172 people were reached, 242 filled the survey completely.
Disaster Management and the integration of the “new” stakeholders
The last century brought significant changes in the environment where civil protection and disaster risk management is acting. The retreat of SOE (state-owned enterprises) and the appearance of new actors in the field of logistics, public transportation, and communication services brings new challenges for the changed framework conditions for authorities.
Dir. Jaap van Lakerveld, with PLATO and the University’s Crisis Research Centre Leiden investigated what is needed for effective crisis management in April 2019. The two-phase study, called “State of the Art in Crisis Management” gave amongst others clear statements to improve Crisis Management (Universiteit Leiden / State of the Art Crisisbeheersing / April 2019 / JvL, JM. State of the Art in Crisis Management, Jaap van Lakerveld & Jeroen Wolbers, The Platform Training, Education and Governance BV (Plato) and the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, both from the University of Leiden, conducted the research.)
- Crisis is becoming increasingly transboundary.
- The inclusion of the citizens and stakeholders in the response was also mentioned as a key aspect to improve crisis management.
The conclusions were:
- A reorientation of administrators towards whom the crisis is developing and which players, organisations, or sectors in society are at stake is often left behind or is (too) late.
- Crisis management benefits from network management. This requires switching between modular partnerships. Follow-up research will have to focus on developing an appropriate network heuristic.
The results of this study are similar to the experiences of experts, based on previous disasters, and are likely to be representative of the situation in most countries in and outside the EU.
The integration of all actors within all sectors of the “Emergency Management Cycle” (response, recovery, mitigation, preparedness) is key for an improvement of modern disaster risk management.
The foundation of project INDIMA is a correct, comprehensive, and detailed needs assessment. The stakeholder analysis and mapping process must contribute to a clear view of all relevant actors involved and their area of responsibility.
The well-known and established the main stakeholder is the civil protection authorities and the disaster risk management structures of the involved countries on state, provincial and municipality/community level. These public agencies will benefit directly from the learnings and the enhanced network opportunities.
Indirect beneficiaries are all involved entities that are usually not inside the “network”. These auxiliary roles are usual for fire- and ambulance services and Red Cross elements. It is not so usual for the private sector. Utilities, infrastructure, and commercial companies and the use of military (last resort) are in most cases inexperienced to contribute with the efforts to deal with the consequences of disasters.
The improvement will be, that these entities can be integrated in advance, learn to know each other, and have direct contact if their support is needed.
Additionally, business contingency managers will have the possibility to learn to improve the resilience of their respective companies and reduce the risk in case of calamities.
“The landscape of Disaster Risk Management has significantly changed within the last decade. Civil Protection authorities had to deal with some state-owned enterprises, but nowadays a lot of providers of critical infrastructure and private stakeholders need to be integrated. Developing a process (standard, checklist, methodology) to manage disasters and crisis effectively is the objective of the project INDIMA, funded by the European Union. INDIMA researched the needs and stakeholders, will draft the network-concept, test it in a simulation exercise and confirm it at the final workshop.”
Tangible and resilient data: research
Project INDIMA is based on the same approach. To get more tangible and resilient data, secondary data research to identify the current stakeholders was conducted. To give a solid basis to our work, the consortium’s partner, Hungarian Red Cross, Disaster Management Department researched to understand better how civil protection networks are organized in the European countries on a national scale. This research was followed by an anonymised online needs assessment.
„Understanding the impacts of the wide range of stakeholders involved in disaster recovery projects is essential to achieve recovery performance targets. Effective stakeholder management can improve the performance of disaster recovery projects, while poor management can lead to low project performance in terms of schedule, cost, quality, environment, return on investment and communications.” (Mojtahedi & Oo, 2017b, p. 841)
Stakeholder groups identified
Based on the papers reviewed, we proposed to use 13 categories of stakeholders throughout our research. Besides the mentioned stakeholder groups, further stakeholders appeared in the reviewed 42 papers, such as tourism, insurance companies, local communities, churches, meteorological agencies, hydrological authorities, and media. We include tourism and insurance companies under for-profit companies, while hydrological authorities and meteorological services are included under central governmental agencies. Churches usually maintain charity organizations to deliver their assistance, thus we include them under this category.
Four sectors of stakeholder identified
In the stakeholder analysis, the identified 13 groups of stakeholders could be summarised in four sectors:
- GO (Governmental Organisations)
- CI (Critical Infrastructure provider)
- PVO (Private Non-State Volunteer Organisations)
- PO (For-profit companies)
GO (Governmental Organisations) and CI (Critical Infrastructure provider) will have hierarchical management and clearly defined decision-making processes.
PVO (Private Non-State Volunteer Organisations) can be structured and follow a top-down structure, on the other hand, it can be very informal, not accepting any command-and-control approach. A volunteer fire service will be close to a paramilitary unit organised, while a group of expatriates, coming to help will have no structure in leadership and management. This bottom-up setup brings maybe “informal” leaders, but the acceptance of their decisions and agreements may be questioned and discussed quickly.
Finally, PO (For-profit companies) rely on their usual management style and have clear contacts and communications.
This working environment makes the DRM sometimes challenging. It is wise, to identify and seek contact before a disaster occurs, to have an established liaison in place. A directory or database of key contacts makes coordination and collaboration much easier. Having executed a mutual training or an exercise or drill helps a lot for understanding the other’s needs, capabilities, and restrictions.
After the stakeholder analysis, the needs assessment investigated the questions: national collaboration networks, roles, and tools used in the cooperation. Integrating all stakeholders into a smooth and effective disaster risk and crisis management runs along the emergency management continuum, from prevention to preparedness, response to recovery. That means to identify, contact, invite, train, and liaise with hugely different and inhomogeneous groups and individuals. Each of these stakeholders has its own structure and form of communication and means of interaction.
Based on the outcomes of the needs assessment and the stakeholder analysis the thematic of the workshops will be defined. Three online workshops were held on the key issues:
Online workshop on Coordination in DRM: Each European country has a developed system to coordinate efforts in a disaster, but the local procedures can be different from each other. The EU perspective was impressively presented by Ionut Homeag (team leader, ERCC, DG ECHO) showing the whole picture of the EU’s crisis response. The response of the European Union is much broader than the classical Civil Protection, e. g. coordination and deploying modules. The focus in times of Covid-19 has increased and shifted to deploying experts, medical assistance and supporting affected countries with quick delivery of high-quality medical equipment like ventilators and so on…
Online workshop on legal aspects in DRM: international cooperation within a regulated framework is needed to prevent and respond to major accidents and natural disasters. International regulations have been established to guarantee the implementation of international disaster relief operations regularly. Laws, acts, and agreements are crucial, and they serve as a basis for effective response. The online workshop was held to identify the current legal situation and the critical points for crisis management in several countries. Highlights were the EU framework on Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (Markus Glanzer), the Neighbours Help First Network (Ana Markulin), and the IDRL (Bernhard Schneider). Alexander Stolar informed about the role of external experts in DRM command staffs.
Online workshop interoperability in DRM: for a disaster response operation to be effective, many different actors, organisations, systems, and equipment must meet the criteria of interoperability. Interoperability can be realized in cooperation between different actors in emergency response operation when knowledge, technical background, and the understanding of the purpose of the intervention is common. The INDIMA workshop on interoperability highlighted the interfaces between the classic CP authorities and the new stakeholders like utilities, logistic services, telecommunication, and infrastructure services. Great inputs for our project, as lessons learned from the presentation of Robert Kus, presenting the blackout situation in 2014 in Slovenia. Judit Szűcs, Senior Brand Communications Manager, The Coca-Cola Company Europe, presented their massive contribution to the Hungarian Red Cross. “Complete support in disaster risk management from a well-known brand”. A very interesting collaboration giving a lot to think about for the future.
Broader literature analysis will be included in the INDIMA deliverables and publications later, but current preliminary analysis shows that partnerships in Disaster Management are an important and crucial field for research and policy development.
Therefore, the INDIMA project management decided, that the online survey will stay open, and the results will be updated and used for the development of the checklists and the concept within the next months.
Conclusion and outlook:
The main task of the first project phase was to create a solid and up-to-date database for the development of the INDIMA projects network concept. The results were used to design the specific thematic of the online workshops and get answers to questions, raised by the project management team and the participants.
In the second phase of the project, the process and checklists for the Integrated Management of Crises and Disasters will be developed. From the Middle of July on, the development of the network concept, the backbone of INDIMA started.
In 2022 the developed network concept will be tested in a SIMEX (simulation exercise). The scenario of this table-top exercise is supported by SMURD foundation, providing VR-supported scenarios of an energy breakdown. The SIMEX aims to test the implementation of the developed checklists, find improvements for the checklists, to gain knowledge for the practice. No 24/7 exercise setup and no testing or validating of Civil Protection staff and participants in any way.
Every input and suggestion is welcome, the project management will rely on the INDIMA’s pool of experts for the development and have a lot of interviews in-person or by videoconferences to optimise the network concept within the next months.