The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area. It is active all year round, operational on a 24/7 basis, and involves NATO’s 29 Allies and all partner countries. The Centre functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests and offers of assistance mainly in case of natural and man-made disasters.
- The EADRCC is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area.
- The Centre functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests and offers of assistance mainly in case of natural and man-made disasters.
- It is active all year round, operational on a 24/7 basis, and involves NATO’s 29 Allies and all partner countries.
- The EADRCC’s tasks are performed in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which retains the primary role in the coordination of international disaster relief operations.
In its coordinating role for the response of NATO and partner countries, the EADRCC not only guides consequence management efforts, but also serves as an information-sharing tool on disaster assistance through the organisation of seminars to discuss lessons learnt from NATO-coordinated disaster response operations and exercises.
In addition to its day-to-day activities and the immediate response to emergencies, the EADRCC conducts annual large-scale field exercises with realistic scenarios to improve interaction between NATO and partner countries. Regular major disaster exercises have been organised in different participating countries to practise procedures, provide training for local and international participants, build up interoperability skills and capabilities and harness the experience and lessons learned for future operations.
Since 2000, the EADRCC has conducted on average one large consequence-management field exercise every year and started in 2016 a new line of exercises using virtual reality technology. Virtual reality is a big part of the future and NATO is using it to complement its conventional table-top and field exercises.
All of the EADRCC’s tasks are performed in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), which retains the primary role in the coordination of international disaster relief operations. The Centre is designed as a regional coordination mechanism, supporting and complementing the UN efforts. Furthermore, its principal function is coordination rather than direction. In the case of a disaster requiring international assistance, it is up to individual NATO Allies and partners to decide whether to provide assistance, based on information received from the EADRCC.
SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL AUTHORITIES IN CIVIL EMERGENCY
The EADRCC forwards assistance requests to NATO and partner countries, which in turn respond by communicating their offers of assistance to the EADRCC and/or the affected country. The Centre keeps track of the assistance offered (including assistance from other international organisations and actors), assistance accepted by the stricken country, delivery dates and assistance still required (or updates to the assistance requested), as well as the situation on the ground. This information is circulated to NATO and partner countries in the form of situation reports, and is also published on the EADRCC website (http://www.nato.int/eadrcc).
A MULTINATIONAL TEAM OF EXPERTS
The Centre is located at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. It is staffed by secondees from NATO and partner countries and members of the International Staff. The Centre liaises closely with UN OCHA, NATO Military Authorities (NMAs) and other relevant international organisations. During an actual disaster, the EADRCC can temporarily be augmented with additional personnel from NATO and partner delegations to NATO, or NATO’s international civilian and military staff. In addition, the EADRCC has access to national civil experts that can be called upon to provide the Centre with expert advice in specific areas in the event of a major disaster.
Based on a Russian proposal, the EADRCC was established in 1998 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) as a partnership tool of NATO’s civil emergency planning and as one of the two basic elements of the EAPC policy on cooperation in the field of international disaster relief. The other, complementary element is the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit, a non-standing, multinational force of civil and military elements, deployable in the event of major natural or man-made disasters in an EAPC country.
Initially, the EADRCC was extensively involved in coordinating the humanitarian assistance effort from EAPC countries that supported refugees during the Kosovo war in the late 1990s. Since then, however, the Centre has responded to many requests for assistance received mainly from states stricken by natural disasters but also to help with the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents, which includes terrorist attacks (see details on the EADRCC website).
In January 2004, the North Atlantic Council, NATO′s principal political decision-making body, widened the EADRCC’s mandate to respond to assistance requests from the Afghan government in the case of natural disasters. Three years later, that mandate was extended to all areas where NATO is involved militarily. In 2009, the countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue1 (MD) and those of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative2 (ICI) were given direct access to the Centre, followed by other partners across the globe3 in December 2011.
- Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
- Six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council were initially invited to participate. To date, four of these -- Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates -- have joined. Saudi Arabia and Oman have also shown an interest in the Initiative. Based on the principle of inclusiveness, the Initiative is, however, open to all interested countries of the broader Middle East region who subscribe to its aims and content.
- Afghanistan, Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.