On 15-16 March 2016, experts from the State Emergency Service and a number of other government services gathered in the Ukrainian Research Institute of Civil Protection for an exercise funded by the EU. A major natural disaster had struck Ukraine and the Government decided to request rescue teams from the EU. Now the questions arise: Who issues the letter of request? On which basis? Who conducts the assessment of needs? When the rescue teams arrive at the border, will someone meet them and escort them to the disaster area? Will there be a base of operations where they can establish their camp etc. etc.
All these aspects are included in a set of Guidelines for Host Nation Support developed by the European Commission. The Guidelines are an expression of best practices building on experiences from a number of exercises as well as real emergency situations.
During the Table-Top Exercise (TTX) in Kyiv, the Ukrainian officials engaged in discussion about the existing legal basis, the responsibilities of each individual Ministry or Government Agency, and the practical arrangements to be in hand. The PPRD East experts conducting the exercise strongly recommended the development of Standing Operational Procedures (SOPs) in a single document which could serve as a basis for future training and exercises. It was recognized that Ukraine has a good legal basis covering almost all aspects of Host Nation Support, but that the arrangements in many respects depend on the functions of an emergency committee. In an emergency, it is vital that countries sending assistance can get information from a single focal point rather than dealing with different members of a committee. The PPRD East experts will therefore support Ukraine in the development of SOPs to ensure such functions.