The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre
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 28 allies plus 22 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.
In its coordinating functions for the response of NATO and Partner countries, EADRCC not only guides consequence management efforts, but it 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, EADRCC conducts annual large-scale field exercises with realistic scenarios to improve interaction between NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP) and other partner countries. Regular major disaster exercises have been organised in different participating countries to practice procedures, provide training for local and international participants, build up interoperability skills and capabilities of the non-standing Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit (EADRU), and harness the experience and lessons learnt for future operations.
To this date, EADRCC has conducted thirteen exercises in Ukraine, Croatia, the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Romania, Italy, Finland, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Turkey, and Moldova. The next exercise will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September 2012. In 2009, the countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD)¹ and those of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI)² were given direct access to the Centre, followed by other partners across the globe³ in December 2011.
All 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. EADRCC has, been designed as a regional coordination mechanism, supporting and complementing the UN efforts. Furthermore, EADRCC’s 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 EADRCC.
- 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. Saudia 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, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea (as of March 2012).
EADRCC forwards assistance requests to NATO and partner countries which, in turn, respond by communicating their offers of assistance to EADRCC and/or the affected country. The Centre uses AIDMATRIX to keep a record of the assistance offered (including assistance from other international organisations and actors), assistance accepted by the stricken country, delivery dates, assistance still required (or updates to the assistance requested), as well as the situation on the ground. This information circulates to NATO and partner countries in the form of daily situation reports, but it is also published on the NATO website.
The Centre is part of the International Staff, Operations Division located at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. It is staffed by up to five secondees from NATO and partner countries and three 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, EADRCC can temporarily be augmented with additional personnel from the EAPC delegations to NATO, or NATO’s international civilian and military staff. In addition, EADRCC has access to national civil experts that can be called to provide the Centre with expert advice in specific areas in the event of a major disaster.
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 EADRU, a non-standing, multi-national force of civil and military elements, deployable in the event of major natural or man-made disasters in an EAPC country.
Initially, EADRCC was extensively involved in coordinating the humanitarian assistance effort from the EAPC countries supporting the refugees during the Kosovo war in the late 1990s. Since then, however, the Centre has responded to more than 60 requests of assistance, mainly concerning natural disaster-stricken states.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, EADRCC has also been tasked with the coordination of international assistance from EAPC countries to help deal with the consequences of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incidents, which includes terrorist attacks.
In January 2004, the North Atlantic Council, NATO's principal political decision-making body, widened 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 the Organization has been involved militarily, with the same provisions as Afghanistan.
In 2005, the Centre contributed to the United States’ response to Hurricane Katrina by coordinating the donations of NATO and partner countries. The same year, the Centre played a central role in the relief effort in Pakistan after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake and, later in 2010, when it was hit by massive floods.