One of the key elements of the PPRD East 2 Programme is the enhancement of Host Nation Support (HNS) arrangements in Partner Countries. Experience from recent disasters, including the floods in Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina in May 2014, demonstrated that pre-planned arrangements by the disaster stricken country for the reception and employment of incoming assistance contribute greatly to the efficiency of the operation.
Host Nation Support is at the forefront of EU civil protection training, and bringing Partner Countries progressively closer to the Union Civil Protection Mechanism is a cross-cutting purpose of the PPRD East 2 Programme.
Table-Top Exercises are efficient tools to ensure readiness and assess response capabilities. Well-executed exercises provide an environment to test coordination procedures between international actors, government officials and emergency workers and help ensure that a response to an actual emergency would be effective.
The Host Nation Support Table-Top Exercise was conducted in the Republic of Moldova from 29 September until 1 October 2015. The success of the exercise came from the active participation of several Governmental departments and Ministries who would be responsible for the various issues during a national emergency when the international assistance is requested and received.
The main aim of the exercise was to test and find solutions on how responsible authorities from Moldova work together, communicate, exchange information, cooperate in management of the consequences, apply common plans and procedures and use resources with regards to the Host Nation Support. The objectives were to verify and test HNS procedures, strengthen institutional cooperation and assist in the development of Standard Operating Procedures.
The scenario for the exercise was based around some of the higher natural risks within Moldova; those being an earthquake and a floods. The format was developed so that all participants could engage in discussions with other departmental representatives in subjects from the initial stages of the emergency to the closing days. Issues were presented during the discussions and participants were given the opportunity to express their own department’s responsibilities and the expectations of others.
The feedback from participants at the end of the exercise was very positive and all had developed a further knowledge of civil protection and Host Nation Support. It also demonstrated that departments need to agree protocols, and possibly develop new laws and bi-laws to assist any incoming international teams following a request for assistance.
The exercise also served as a means to test and refine Standing Operational Procedures (SOPs) for national crisis/emergency management centre. The SOPs will be further refined and legally endorsed during the coming years.
The language was in English with interpretation to Romanian.
Similar Table-Top Exercises will be conducted for the remaining five Partner Countries during the first half of 2016.