EURO-MED-REACT

Lastest Project News

Project Background

In such a complex and ever-changing risks, what COVID19 pandemic demonstrated, and in front of increased natural disasters, and growing hybrid threats, there is a need for more effective prevention, preparedness, and response. European Union has offered a comprehensive Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and EU tools to assist national and international communities to mitigate all kinds of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.

EURO-MED-REACT is a new EU funded project, aim to align European Neighbourhood Policy countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East with the European Union civil protection and crisis management policies and EU tools, through a series of exercises in 2022 and 2023. EURO-MED-REACT implements vision of civil protection beyond borders.

EURO-MED-REACT takes stock and builds upon successful implementation by the multi-stakeholder international  consortium of EU-CHEM-REACT (2017 - 2918) and continued implementation of EU-CHEM-REACT 2 (2019-2021) ICCSS led projects. These projects developed and conducted first European civil protection exercises in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine (www.ecr.iccss.eu). They were important activities to deepen relations with the EU in civil protection.

EURO-MED-REACT membership and partnership represents a broad multi-stakeholder and whole-government approach combining capacities of local authorities, government institutions, academia, industries and civil society organisations from EU (Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia), Eastern European Neighbouring Countries (Moldova and Ukraine) and the Middle East (Jordan). A group of national and international partners confirmed interest and were invited to participate in the project activities, including state agencies from Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Latvia, international organisations: OPCW, WHO, UN OCHA, INTERPOL.

EURO-MED REACT is designed to provide training and exercise environment to practice and improve national civil response plans and their cooperation with the EU and in transborder context in case of major emergency or disaster. EURO-MED REACT will cover chemical disaster and health incidents, including pandemic birds flu, and natural disasters, through exercises within UCPM  The project exercises will be conducted in block approach, with Table Top Exercise (TTX) in Ukraine in 2022 and one Full Scale Field Exercise (FSX), as main event, in Moldova, in 2023. The exercises are built on a thorough assessment of risks which guided the developed scenario. Moldova, where FSX is proposed, planned, has confirmed growing risks caused by extreme weather conditions, including floods and aging gas and energy network infrastructure. The exercises scenario will consider the response to hybrid threats against critical  and border infrastructure in participating countries. During the exercises all EU instruments in civil protection crisis management will be tested.

The project implementation will  result in improvement both in-country and international coordination - with an emphasis on UCPM and EU tools - of preparedness for and response to natural and man-made disasters. Thus the European Neighbourhood Policy countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East will align with  the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and EU tools.

Moldova and Ukraine will further use the participation in EURO-MED-REACT  to prepare for joining the UCPM. Jordan will exercise for the first time the cooperation ad alignment with UCPM.

In order to underline the commitment of EURO-MED-REACT to the global obligations the completeness of planning and preparedness of CBRN emergencies, relevant requirements of UNSC Resolution 1540, Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and WHO IHR, will be  tested.

EURO-MED-REACT Members and Partners

WHO – participant of EU-CHEM-REACT 2 exercises - provision of methodology and International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS) in Warsaw, Poland www.iccss.eu- initiated and runs the international consortium EU-CHEM-REACT, which was awarded an EU grants for years 2017-2018 and 2019 – 2020. ICCSS possess major management experience in international projects with regional dimension, including in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and broad contacts in the region.

General Directorate of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic(HZSCZ)https://www.hzscr.cz  national civil protection organ - EU-CHEM-REACT observer and EU-CHEM-REACT 2 beneficiary; possesses natural disaster response and operational capacities and experience on use of UCPM and EU tools, will provide chemical module and search and rescue module for FSX

The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova (DSMD) http://www.dse.md  - EU-CHEM-REACT observer and EU-CHEM-REACT 2 beneficiary,  national civil protection organ; possesses CBRN and natural disaster response capacities and experience in organization and conduct of exercises, provider of exercise capacities (fire service units, chemical module, search and rescue unit, host of FSX in 2023.

The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of Romania (GIES), https://www.igsu.ro/  EU-CHEM-REACT and EU-CHEM-REACT 2 observer - national civil protection organ - possesses natural disaster response and operational capacities and experience on use of UCPM and EU tools, will provide chemical module and search and rescue module for FSX

Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic Section of Crisis Management  https://www.minv.sk  - national civil protection organ - possesses natural disaster response and operational capacities and experience on use of UCPM and EU tools, will provide chemical module and search and rescue module for FSX

Lviv State University of Life Safety, Ukraine (LSULS)https://ldubgd.edu.ua/– national leading education and training facility in fire service - Associate Beneficiary in EU-CHEM-REACT and EU-CHEM-REACT 2, broad competence in substantive and support staff, and a modern technical base to conduct trainings and exercises, host of TTX in 2022

Fire Safety Works and Services Association in Lithuania(PDPA)http://www.pdpa.lt leading national civil protection industry association; possesses experience, contacts and training capacities to conduct practical activities in crisis management, including ECPP, will coordinate participation of volunteer fire services during FSX.

ASEZAAqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Jordan, https://aseza.jo/  a major industry area with major port, transportation hub, storage sites,  in Jordan, at border with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – provider of industrial expertise in industrial emergencies, active participation in the development an conduct (in training mood) of the industry related scenario in Jordan, and host of the First Planning Conference.

 

INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS INVITED:

United Nations

          UN OCHA – participant of EU-CHEM-REACT 2 exercises - coordination of effective and principled humanitarian action;          

          INSARAG  - global network of more than 90 countries and organizations under the United Nations umbrella which deals with urban search and rescue

conduct of training Table Top Exercise on use of bio agents national reporting on chem-bio disasters within use of International Health Regulations (IHT). 

OPCW – participant of EU-CHEM-REACT 2 exercises - verification of use of chemical weapons and international assistance in case of use of chemical weapons;

INTERPOL – criminal aspects of misuse of chemical agents

WCO - World Customs Organisation – transit of chemical agents

 

NATIONAL AGENCIES INVITED

The Emergency Management Service, The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia  https://police.ge/en/ministry/structure-and-offices/emergency-management-department– national civil protection agency; possesses CBRN and natural disaster response capacities and experience in organization and conduct of exercises;

Feuerwehr Dortmund - Dortmund Fire Service (FDD); https://www.dortmund.de/, possesses CBRN disaster response and operational capacities and experience on use of UCPM; provider of technical capacities for FSX.

Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) https://www.jaf.mil.jo - national civil protection organ -possesses CBRN and natural disaster response capacities and experience in organization and conduct of exercises. JAF is ICCSS partner in the implementation of the Middle East Chemical Safety and Security Program

EURO-MED REACT continues EU-CHEM-REACT

EURO-MED-REACT takes stock and builds upon successful implementation by the multi-stakeholder international  consortium of EU-CHEM-REACT (2017 - 2918) and continued implementation of EU-CHEM-REACT 2 (2019-2021) ICCSS led projects. These projects developed and conducted first European civil protection exercises in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine (www.ecr.iccss.eu). They were important activities to deepen relations with the EU in civil protection.

Since Moldova and Ukraine have being introducing new organization of their civil protection, the exercises conducted within EU-CHEM-REACT 2, were an important element to verify the performance of the new system, its efficiency and capacity to interoperate with the neighboring European Union countries, European institutions and with European Union standards and procedures.

The European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) confirmed its usefulness and relevance for Moldova and Ukraine.

The results of exercises were used to propose the improvements that would be further tested in a summarizing exercise. The outcome included indications of system flaws and discontinuities and proposals of corrective arrangements and procedural improvements

EURO-MED-REACT versus UCPM and Knowledge Network

EURO-MED-REACT promotes, implements and develops Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/eu-civil-protection-mechanism_en as a comprehensive framework for international cooperation to use ECPM in disaster prevention, preparedness and response.

The project contributes to the implementation of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network https://civil-protection-knowledge-network.europa.eu by developing platform of shared knowledge and expertise, good practices and networking on civil protection and disaster risk management in the EU and the wider Neighbourhood.

The project implement the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction https://www.undrr.org by providing a better understanding of disaster risks in regions of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Assumptions

The Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), hereafter the Mechanism, was established by Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The Mechanism was set up with the aim to provide support, upon request, in the event of major emergencies and to facilitate improved coordination of assistance intervention. The Decision No 1313/2013/EU was amended by Decision 2019/420 of the European Parliament and of the Council on 13 March 2019 (rescEU). Among its objectives, the enhanced Mechanism aims at strengthening disaster preparedness by opening the door to the development of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network.

The urgency of interoperability between EU countries and the neighbouring countries is further accentuated by the ongoing development of chemical activities in production, trade, transport, storage and use, and a need to meet the threats of environmental disasters, which could challenge civil protection in its disaster handling capacity. Synergies and complementarity with other instruments of the Union will be sought in the project implementation.

Jordan, Moldova and Ukraine, as the European Neighborhood Policy countries, participated in the international consortiums led by ICCSS to improve their national civil protection, what included the development of the cooperation within UCPM, and improve cross-border cooperation to respond to major disasters. They seek greater cooperation, with an ultimate objective to join UCPM.

Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, as UCPM members, have developed modern civil protection preparedness and response system to major natural and man-made disasters. They actively participate in the civil protection services of the UCPM. These countries are ready – through and active participation in EURO-MED-REACT exercises – identify and share lessons learned and test and implement the EU Mechanism outside the EU, pool their civil protection capabilities in chemical domain, and support the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network development.       

In order to facilitate the cooperation and the integration of the UCPM assistance within overall UN coordination and engagement of relevant international capacities, the proposed Call provide for an active participation of the UN OCHA, OPCW, WHO, procedures of NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism.

The performance of the national civil protection in the European Neighborhood Policy countries, its efficiency and capacity to interoperate with the neighbouring European Union countries, European institutions and with European Union standards and procedures, will be tested.

Objectives

The overall aim is to test and evaluate the ability and capabilities of the participating countries to  apply and use of international assistance, activation of UCPM and use of EU tools, and cooperate in transboundary context, to respond to  natural and man-made chem-bio disasters and health incidents in pandemics environment (focused on birds flu).

EXERCISES OBJECTIVES

The exercises use the same main scenario of events, different for Ukraine health incidents in pandemics environment, focused on birds flu), and Moldova (chemical incident and natural disaster), are designed as building blocks. They will be conducted as separate exercises in progressive approach. Each of the exercises has different objectives.

Table Top Exercise - TTX

The objectives of this exercise are to:

  1. Evaluate communications between the Member States, and between the Member States and the EC, in response to natural and man-made chemical disasters and health incidents in pandemics environment (focused on birds flu);
  2. Examine the role of the EC during this type of incident;
  3. Test the execution of the UCPM, use of EU tools and international assistance at national level;
  4. Subsequently improve the administrative and operational capabilities to seek UCPM and international assistance; and
  5. Discuss the interoperability for Health Emergency Planning and Crisis Management between Member States.
  6. Examine the role of the EC and international organisations, with emphasis on WHO, in birds flu influenza pandemic.

Full Scale Exercise - FSX

  1. The activation of the UCPM, with an emphasis on cooperation with countries from outside the UCPM
  2. EUCP Team (Civil Protection Team) deployment;
  3. Use of CECIS (Common Emergency Communication and Information System);
  4. Testing the cooperation of international rescue teams in hazardous environment; 
  5. Functioning of  National operational structures from each applicant's national civil protection competent authority;
  6. EU Host Nation Support (HNS) Guidelines application and testing;
  7. An active EU Observers programme;
  8. Implementation of population containment measures, restrictions on movement; Imposition of Quarantine, initiation of contact tracking, and travel restrictions.

Scenario

The FSX scenario responds to the increasing complexity of real-life pandemic and CBRN disaster situations and natural disasters. The scenario requires action of emergency response services of Jordan, Moldova and Ukraine, who request international assistance and provide for use of UCPM and resources. The exercise events include response to natural and man-made disasters and health incidents in pandemics environment which happen simultaneously in these countries. The rescue teams from Czech Republic, Germany, Jordan, Moldova, Ukraine, and volunteer fire services and rescuers from Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine, will respond to request for assistance and join FSX. EUCP Team will be deployed at least during the Full-Scale Exercise (FSX).

Evaluation

The key activities to be evaluated during the Exercises are:

  1. Processes within Member States associated with implementation of UCPM and use of EU resources and international assistance;
  2. Coordination with the European Commission;
  3. Implementation of containment and preventive measures in pandemic situations;
  4. Determination of public communications strategy;

Major actions and means involved

  • Kick-off meeting organized in Brussels as one of the first actions within the project: Timing: M1 (1 month after the start of the project)
  • Firs Planning Conference, in Aqaba, Jordan, to present and promote the UCPM, provide training for civil protection and emergency management, and plan for the exercises;
  • Table Top Exercise (TTX) in Ukraine. TTX aims to verify the local, national and international response in a simulated environment, and UCPM activation, to respond to major man made chem-bio and natural disaster: M7 
  • Full Scale Exercise (FSX) a main event of the project in Moldova, M18
  • Minimum 2 planning conferences, organized in Jordan: M3 and Moldova: M12.
  • Minimum 3 trainings and Seminars conducted during the First Planning Conference, TTX, and FSX, in Jordan, Moldova, and Ukraine,to present and promote the UCPM, provide training for civil protection and emergency management personnel and students from civil protection/fir service universities, to increase inter-operability and host nation support measures, and to foster interaction and synergies between civil protection and humanitarian actors
  • Lessons learnt meetings organized in Moldova: M19 and Brussels: M21.

Follow-up

The partners support the view that the concept of exercises on preparedness and response to chem-bio and natural disasters combined with training/education will  be “rolled out” to other countries and regions. This will be a tool to assist them in raising awareness of chemical and environmental threats and enhancing their own crisis management and response capacity. To move forward and implement these measures, the partners will assist to further develop and apply a methodology for working with countries/partners that wish to conduct such exercises, and to prepare a set of standard materials and tools that can be made available to them.

The partners underscored their intention to continue cooperation and continue a programme on the promotion of the exercises and training programs on chem-bio threats and natural disasters crisis management and promotion of use of UCPM and EU tools, within a platform for consultations and cooperation, both bilaterally and regionally, for all the relevant stakeholders, including industry and civil society.

The partners will make available library of training materials, and exercise tools and scenarios and help adapt them to the situation, conditions and requirements of the country/partner planning to run such civil protection  exercises.

The partners will facilitate access to technical expertise within EU tools, from other countries, international organizations, that could support development and implementation of civil protection preparedness and response to chem-bio and natural disasters.

Project Leader

Amb. Krzysztof Paturej
President of the Board