Civil Emergency Planning Committee (CEPC)
The Civil Emergency Planning Committee is the top NATO advisory body for the protection of civilian populations and the use of civil resources in support of NATO's objectives.
Civil Emergency Planning provides NATO with essential civilian expertise and capabilities in the fields of terrorism preparedness and consequence management, humanitarian and disaster response and protecting critical infrastructure.
The CEPC coordinates planning in several areas, to ensure – when necessary - civil support for the Alliance ’s military operations or support for national authorities in civil emergencies.
The committee has for example developed a plan for improving the civil preparedness of NATO and Partner countries against terrorist attacks. In September 2011, a team of civil experts visited Ukraine to advise on preparedness issues for the Euro 2012 football championship. The CEPC also supports the development of NATO cyber capabilities through the provision of advisory expertise and with support for training. The CEPC assists with issues related to energy security, in particular the protection of critical infrastructure, through the exchange of experience and best practice between nations. In the field of missile defence, the CEPC has addressed issues relating to the consequences of intercept for the protection of civil populations.
The CEPC reports directly to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal decision-making body. It coordinates and provides direction and guidance for four specialised groups.
These bring together national government, industry experts and military representatives to coordinate emergency planning in areas such as: civil protection; transport; industrial resources and communications; public health, food and water. Their primary purpose is to develop procedures for use in crisis situations.
Together, NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning structures provide an interface to many different ministries across a broad range of sectors, thus providing a vast civil network going beyond NATO’s more traditional interlocutors in Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
The CEPC also oversees the activities of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) at NATO Headquarters, which acts as the focal point for coordinating disaster relief efforts among NATO and partner countries, and in countries where NATO is engaged with military operations.
The CEPC meets twice a year in plenary session, at the level of the heads of the national civil emergency planning organisations from NATO and partner countries.
In addition, it meets on a weekly basis in permanent session, where countries are represented by their national delegations to NATO. Meetings alternate between those of NATO member countries only, and those open to Partner countries.
The Secretary General is Chairman of plenary sessions, but in practice these are chaired by the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations, while permanent sessions are chaired by the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Planning, Civil Emergency Planning and Exercises.
The Civil Emergency Planning Committee was created when NATO first developed its Civil Emergency Planning programme in the 1950’s.