NATO helps integrate human and social dynamics into natural disaster response

  • Last updated: 07 Oct. 2010 14:17

Forty-three experts from NATO and Partner countries will meet from 5 to 8 October in Yerevan, Armenia, to discuss ways of forecasting and preventing natural and man-made catastrophes. They will bring a range of theoretical experience in social policies, the sociology of catastrophe, international relations, economics and forecasting to a workshop funded by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security programme. The event supports one of the Alliance’s key priorities – defence and environment.

A man looks at houses half-submerged by flood water in the village of Swiniary June 9, 2010. Up to 20 people have died and more than 10,000 have had to evacuate their homes since Polish rivers began bursting their banks in early May following heavy rainfall. The government has earmarked 2 billion zlotys ($695 million) from budget reserves to help victims.  Picture taken June 9.   REUTERS/Dominik Dziecinny/Agencja Gazeta   (POLAND - Tags: DISASTER) POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND

The formation of the New Independent States at the end of the Cold War led to a collapse of civil protection systems in the region. The well-organized civil protection structures of Soviet times were, however, oriented more towards defending the population and economy against a nuclear attack than responding to natural and man-made disasters. 

In 2006, Armenia and NATO adopted the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), under which a survey on non-traditional threats to security was carried out. Threats include soil erosion, landslides, earthquakes, environmental pollution as well as a decrease in resources. 

The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters over the last 10 years in Armenia, together with limited resources for prevention and mitigation of their impacts, has increased the environment’s and people’s vulnerability to disasters. This workshop is part of a larger drive to mitigate the problem.

Experts from organizations such as Shell International, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the Office of the Committee for European Integration will speak at the event. The participants will aim to demonstrate how international security policy is not limited to regional security, but is part of a global security framework that requires effective international cooperation.

For more information please visit www.nato.int/science (see “Calendar” for organizers’ contact details).