In a disaster relief situation, how can national authorities negotiate and deal with international actors to maximise the response impact? A two-day simulation exercise took place in Tbilisi on 6-7 April. It was conducted as part of the EU funded “Programme for Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership Countries” (PPRD East 2) and tested Georgian’s arrangements for the effective reception and utilisation of international relief teams.
The purpose of the exercise was to enhance inter-institutional, inter-ministerial and inter-agency cooperation with regard to requesting and managing foreign civil protection assistance in accordance to the EU Host Nation Support Guidelines. It builds on a scenario where a serious disaster caused by a natural hazard had occurred on the territory of Georgia and led the Government to request international assistance. In reply to the request for international assistance, several fictive rescue teams from States participating in EU Civil Protection Mechanism arrived to the country. Through negotiations and coordination meetings simulated by the PPRD East 2 expert team, the participants were faced with and had to resolve requests of different nature, like provision of assistance to the teams in border crossing, customs clearance, allocation of space for the establishment of camps, provision of fuel, escort to disaster affected areas and security, legal and liability aspects, etc., so that – should the need ever arise – emergency assistance from the European Union could be received effectively and efficiently.
The event was hosted by the Emergency Management Agency and took place at the Academy of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The exercise was attended by a number of experts from the Emergency Management Agency, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Safety and Security Management Council, Border Police, Patrol Police Department, National Bank, Revenue Service, Tbilisi city hall and Georgian Red Cross Society.