Nato-Russia Council

Planning next steps in civil emergency cooperation

CEP62004 NATO-Russia Council civil emergency field exercise conducted in Kaliningrad focused on responding to a terrorist attack.

NATO-Russia Council representatives gathered for the meeting of the Civil Emergency and Protection Working Group on 5 September. The meeting focused on planning for upcoming civil emergency planning and protection activities, which aim to further develop the Council’s cooperative response to natural and man-made disasters. This included initial preparations for an aero-medical evacuation seminar which is an important capability for many NATO-Russia Council nations to transport injured citizens internally as well as repatriating them from abroad following accidents or illness.

The meeting provided an opportunity for nations to discuss the proposals for further NRC cooperation on preventing and responding to emergency situations made during the May 2013 meeting between Russia’s Minister for Civil Defence, Emergency Situations and Disaster Relief, Vladimir Puchkov, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow. In particular, how nations can use modern technologies such as satellite imagery in disaster management looks set to be a key topic for NRC nations to examine going forward.

NRC nations have a long track record of cooperation in the area of civil emergency planning and protection. A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Civil Emergency Planning and Disaster Preparedness was signed between Russia’s EMERCOM and NATO in 1996. The memorandum paved the way for cooperation in the NRC on civil emergencies, including three large scale consequence management exercises since 2002, in Noginsk and Kaliningrad in Russia and in Rome, Italy. The exercises were all designed to test the Council's cooperative response to natural and manmade disasters.

More recently, exchanging experiences of hosting High Visibility Events has been a topic of considerable interest for NRC nations as many of them have either hosted or are preparing to host High Visibility Events, including the Olympics and the football World Cup.