Cen Workshop Agreement : Terminologies in Crisis and Disaster Management

In crisis and disaster management two factors contribute to success:

a) having the appropriate resource available in an adequate time, at the right location and
b) the action of applying clear authority, communications and directives.

In all cases, precise and clear communication is critical. Experiences of managing large scale crisis and disasters show that not only language barriers, but also differences in the organisation, practices,
tools and resources of disaster risk management create potential for miscommunication. Moreover, use of different terms for the same parameters hampers effective information exchange. In order to provide a contextual1 enriched overview on terms and definitions published by different type of organizations such as a standardization organization or the United Nations, this document was developed as a basis for a common reference vocabulary. 

The CWA covers selected key terminologies used by actors during crisis and disaster management for describing needs, actions, situations, tools, missions, resources and any other goods or services needed in large-scale multi-agency and/or transnational disaster risk management. The intended users of the CWA results are authorities, statutory emergency agencies and other practitioners within the field of disaster risk management, including non-governmental agencies, researchers in disaster and emergency management and the public. Each of these prospective beneficiaries may find some parts more useful than others. The CWA provides methodologies for comparison of the definitions of terms and the scope of the related source (e. g. terminology standard). It is not a purpose of the CWA to prioritize terms or definitions for one group of users or another. The analysis of the scope is imperative, because it can lead to misleading conclusions in case a definition is analysed without taking the context of the related source into account. The context of a terminology is typically described in the scope of such documents; the lack of context of a terminology is a limitation hampering its application. Reference to existing standards (i.e. local, regional, European and international) is given where appropriate. The CWA represents a best-effort attempt to compile a representative list of terms, taxonomies and definitions that are used and applied in the domains of crisis and disaster management, including social safety, natural disasters, man-made disasters, risk analysis, preparedness, response and recovery. However, the CWA does not intend to provide a complete compilation of existing terms, taxonomies and definitions. This CWA has limitations and does not address issues of cyber-security, counter-terrorism, border control, critical infrastructure protection directly. Some of the results can eventually be applied to those domains, but not as a primary application area.The CWA is expected to be used for the improvement of the quality and efficiency of communication between actors in crisis and disaster management, independently of the communication channel being used.

Typical scenarios, where the results of the CWA might be used, include the need for information exchange between the many diverse stakeholders involved or between formal response agencies.

This CWA was initiated by the FP7 projects EPISECC (Establish Pan-European Information Space to Enhance Security of Citizens, focused on response phase), SecInCoRe (Secure Dynamic Cloud for Information, Communication and Resource Interoperability based on Pan-European Disaster Inventory, focused on preparedness phase), DRIVER+ (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience), SECTOR (Secure European Common Information Space for the Interoperability of First Responders and Police Authorities) and REDIRNET (Emergency Responder Data Interoperability Network), and supported by the FP7 project COncORDE (Development of Coordination Mechanisms During Different Kinds of Emergencies).

The document is available in full here.