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Designed and led by the ICCSS, EU-CHEM-REACT offers an inclusive and whole-society approach to reduce chem-bio threats and prepare for and respond to chemical, biological and environmental natural and man-made disasters, in field, on-shore and at-sea.
EU-CHEM-REACT assists local, national and international stakeholders to use promote and share the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and UE tools, introduce cross-border cooperation, and apply for international assistance from the international organisations and civil society.
Co-financed by the European Union, EU-CHEM-REACT brings together countries of Central and Eastern Europe to test, introduce, expand and combine their civil protection capacities and capabilities with the European tools and UCPM, in response to major disasters. Thus the EU-CHEM-REACT has been developing interoperability between EU countries and Eastern European countries in civil protection and crisis management.
EU-CHEM-REACT supports the implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), by promoting the UE polices, practices and instruments and cooperation in civil protection to promote public security within the EU's neighbors.
EU-CHEM-REACT supports and implements in practice the provisions of Eastern Partnership to enhance cross-border cooperation and use of EU polices and instruments to reduce chem-bio threats, respond to major disasters and to enhance regional public security.
By creating a platform of cooperation and exchanges, EU-CHEM-REACT provides for the development of the UCPM and its use outside the EU, by testing and proposing relevant procedures. Finally, EU-CHEM-REACT priority is to contribute to lessons learned, to sharing of knowledge, dissemination of results of research, and exchange of best practices in preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters across Europe and among EU's neighbors.
EU-CHEM-REACT supports the development of volunteer fire services and volunteer rescue organisations and provides for their active involvement in program activities and engagement and cooperation with UCPM.
The program concentrates on testing, planning, preparedness and response to CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) via exercises, trainings, seminars and best practices exchanges. The program addresses prevention, preparedness and response phases to chem-bio environmental natural and man-made disasters related disasters including chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, biological agents and toxins.
EU-CHEM-REACT has introduced a system of exercises, including Table Top Exercise (TTX), Command Post Exercises (CPX) and Field Exercises (FX), developed on the basis of ICCSS methodology. The preparation, conduct and evaluation of the EU-CHEM-REACT is based on the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) guidelines and advice.
EU-CHEM-REACT established a system of trainings and seminars for partners from Central and Eastern Europe on the use UCPM, facilitate local and national response and coordination to improve the effectiveness of system for preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters. EU-CHEM-REACT promotes the development at the universities and training facilities in Eastern Europe the education and training programs on UCPM and cross-border cooperation to mitigate natural and man-made disasters.
EU-CHEM-REACT has been developing a network of entities, experts, advisors and trainers to support the development of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network. Within this network a common disaster preparedness culture is enhanced, trainings conducted for civil protection and emergency management personnel, and contacts are established to foster interaction and synergies between civil protection and humanitarian actors.
The comprehensive evaluation is a core element of the Core EU-CHEM-REACT. The evaluation covers all the projects activities. It evaluates the whole project cycle, from the starting date to the end, namely the preparatory actions, the exercises and the after-action activities.
EU-CHEM-REACT geographically is addressed to EU Member States, countries of Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) beneficiaries not participating in the UCPM: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, European Neighbourhood Policy countries: East (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and South (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia), based on the EU policies.
EU-CHEM-REACT addresses all target groups dealing with civil protection, environmental and chemical protection at local and national levels. Therefore program main target groups are relevant local, national and international actors, who deal with legal, administrative, operational, industry, environmental activities to reduce chem-bio and environmental threats.
A special emphasis EU-CHEM-REACT gives to addressing local stakeholders, civil society and academia. The target groups include civil society organizations (CSO), including from social sector, environmental organizations, CSO with relevant expertise, local industries, and universities.
EU-CHEM-REACT is based on the whole society approach and provides for exchange of information and dissemination of knowledge about activities in the field of hazardous substances at the local level, national and international levels. EU-CHEM-REACT activates and integrates local structures and communities, especially in the private sector and civil society in the process of risk prevention and emergency planning, countering chem-bio and environmental threats.
Since chem-bio and environmental threats and emergencies do not recognize borders, EU-CHEM-REACT invites for cooperation international stakeholders, including UNEP, UN OCHA, OPCW, INTERPOL, WCO, NATO.
EU-CHEM-REACT has originated in an increased local, national and international focus on prevention, preparedness and response to mitigate growing chem-bio and environmental threats and emergencies.
The founding assumption of this program was that traditional methods of emergency response are no longer adequate to meet the new challenges posed by chem-bio and/or environmental failures and disasters, whether they be from natural causes or human activity. Meeting the potential risks associated with activities in the field of hazardous substances and disasters requires the community involvement of all stakeholders, including the government, private sector, industry, civil society organizations and media.
Since chem-bio and environmental threats and emergencies do not recognize borders, an active cross-border cooperation is needed to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. There is significant national potential and capacities within the EU, EU countries, but also within the EU neighbours, which has be integrated and implemented.
EU-CHEM-REACT objectives are three-fold. Firstly, step-up capacity of responders, enhance local and national regulatory chem-bio safety and security frameworks, including development and introduction of operation procedures, and test them through exercises. Secondly, to bring the small scale and trial outputs from trainings and exercise, to wider national, regional and international development and application. Thirdly, strengthen trans-border cooperation and expand use of Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and share European capacities within the EU neighbours.
Since its initiation in 2017 by the ICCSS, the EU-CHEM-REACT, has been developing by an international, multi-stakeholder and multi-discipline partnership of local, national and international stakeholders. They included government agencies, international organisations, civil society organizations (CSO), including from social sector, environmental organizations, CSO with relevant expertise, local industries, and universities local stakeholders, civil society and academia. The multi-stakeholder and multi-discipline partnership ensures cross-sectoral cooperation of different local, national and international authorities.
The EU-CHEM-REACT leaders include:
• International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS) in Warsaw, Poland, chemss.dqcloud2.pl -
• General Directorate of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic, www.hzscr.cz
• The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, www.dse.md
• State Fire and Rescue Service, Ministry of Interior of Latvia, www.vugd.gov.lv
• Polish Association of Volunteers Fire Service, www.zosprp.pl
• Lviv State University of Life Safety, Ukraine, ldubgd.edu.ua is a national leading education and training facility in fire service, with broad competence in substantive and support staff, and a modern technical base, to conduct exercises
• The State Educational Establishment "University of Civil Protection of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus, a national leading education and training facility in civil protection, and a centre to conduct national and international activities, including exercises; www.ucp.by
• Fire Safety Works and Services Association in Lithuania, www.pdpa.lt – offers technical experience, technology capacities and contacts to conduct practical activities in crisis management.
• UN OCHA – coordination of effective and principled humanitarian action;
• OPCW – verification of use of chemical weapons and international assistance in case of use of chemical weapons;
• OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine – provide an expertise on cooperation with the Ukraine relevant organizations and member of the evaluation process;
• INTERPOL – chemical security prevention and information exchange.