6 May 2011. ESPI, in its capacity as IAP Ambassador Platform for the Central and Eastern European region, brought together officials and experts in the field of Civil Protection from key European countries to identify needs and requirements of space applications in this field. The resulting outcomes will become an input to the respective initiatives by the upcoming Polish EU Council Presidency.

Space applications, i.e. Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications, are vital for Civil Protection when dealing with the increasing number of natural and man-made disasters. Major emergencies consistently in particular expose a shortfall in the availability of telecommunication capacity in their aftermath. Terrestrial communications are often unavailable during such emergencies and interoperability arises in multi-national operations. Nowadays satellite communications are widely recognised by the Civil Protection agencies as providing a resilient, complementary solution that can respond to disaster situations in a flexible manner. However, the difficulties in obtaining sufficient bandwidth at short notice and the high cost restrict their wider use. Against this backdrop, a consolidated effort is needed to ensure that the development of new generations of services is in line with the stringent requirements of the Civil Protection community.

Speakers at the event (from left): Martin Keitsch (Federal Agency for Technical Relief, Germany), Cosmin Balcu (Sibiu County Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, Romania), Michael Pregesbauer (Government of Lower Austria), Raed Arafat (Ministry of Health, Romania), Marzia Santini (Department for Civil Protection, Italy), Amnon Ginati (ESA), Kinga Perge (National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Hungary), Siegfried Jachs (Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior) Charlotte Mathieu (ESA), Tomasz Kolodziejczyk (National HQ of the State Fire Service, Poland), Jakub Ryzenko (Space Research Centre, Poland) Pierluigi Mancini (ESA), Mildred Trögeler (ESPI), Tiphaine Schmitt (French Ministry of the Interior), Erich Klock (ESPI), Kai-Uwe Schrogl (ESPI)

On 5-6 May 2011, ESPI organised together with the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BM.I) and the Austrian Aeronautics and Space Agency (ALR) of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in its function in the framework of the ESA-IAP programme a workshop on “Space for Civil Protection” (programme can be downloaded here). This workshop addressed various issues dealing with possible ways to enhance existing solutions and develop new services via the use of satellite-based services in the field of Civil Protection, from a European and national perspective. On the first day, ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl together with the Head of the ALR Harald Posch welcomed the participants to the workshop. Key note addresses were given by Amnon Ginati (ESA), Siegfried Jachs (BM.I), Raed Arafat (Ministry of Health, Romania), Tomasz Kolodziejczyk (National Headquarter of the State Fire Service, Poland), Tiphaine Schmitt (Ministry of the Interior, France) and Marzia Santini (National Department of Civil Protection, Italy). To put “Space for Civil Protection” in a European context, two speakers from ESA, Charlotte Mathieu and Pierluigi Manchini, reflected on the preliminary, current and potential future activities in this field at European level. The keynote speakers were then invited to a roundtable discussion in order to debate the benefits for the Civil Protection community through the use of satellite-based services.

The second workshop day focused on the experience of operational people at national level. Distinguished experts in the field of Civil Protection including Lucian Trefas (Sibiu County Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, Romania), Martin Keitsch (THW, Germany), Michael Pregesbauer (Civil Protection Department, Lower Austria) Rene Kerschbaumer (Emergency Call, Lower Austria), Kinga Perge (National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Hungary), Jakub Ryzenko (Space policy expert, Poland) and Juan Carlos Villagrán de León (UN-Spider, Vienna), reported from their lessons learned from previous disasters. In the course of the followed roundtable discussion they reviewed their national approaches to improve the operational capabilities through satellite applications. The workshop was organised by ESPI’s Resident Fellows Erich Klock and Mildred Trögeler as well as Pierluigi Manchini from ESA, who also moderated the sessions.

First Panel with the panelists (from left): Tomasz Kolodziejczyk, Siegfried Jachs, Tiphaine Schmitt, Marzia Santini, Amnon Ginati, Raed Arafat, and the moderators Pierluigi Mancini (left) and Erich Klock (right)


Second Panel with the panelists (from left): Michael Pregesbauer, Martin Keitsch, Jakub Ryzenko, Rene Kerschbaumer, Juan Carlos Villagran De Leon, Kinga Perge, and the moderators Pierluigi Mancini (left) and Mildred Trögeler (right)

The participating Civil Protection community confirmed the need of a set of tailored space-based applications to enhance their operational responsibility. Dedicated effort is needed in the areas of

  • Interoperability
  • Availability
  • Robustness
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Best practice

A workshop on the use of modern technologies for effective crisis communication is taking place in Poland on the 19 and 20 July, in the frame of the Polish EU Council Presidency. In order to consolidate the outcome of this workshop at ESPI and to prepare the relevant input for this upcoming event a dedicated Advisory Team composed of Civil Protection officials and experts has been set up with representatives from Poland, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania. The IAP Programme intends to focus a dedicated activity on this field in order to follow the demand identified during the workshop.

Based on the results of the workshop ESPI together with ESA will publish an in-depth report serving as policy advice for dealing with the use of satellite-based services in the field of Civil Protection. ESPI Resident Fellows Erich Klock and Mildred Trögeler will be the authors of this report.

Organisers of the workshop (from left): Pierluigi Mancini (ESA), Mildred Trögeler (ESPI), Nathalie Armellin (ESPI), Erich Klock (ESPI)

Audience at the workshop

- Programme
- Presentations

- ESPI IAP webpage


Photo credit: ESPI

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