Press Release

Report “From Early Warning to Action – Joint Network Event”

The event “From Early Warning to Action” took place from November 30 to December 02 in Aschheim, Germany, and was jointly organized by the EU-funded practitioners’ Network projects DAREnet (Danube River Region Resilience Exchange Network) and MEDEA (The Mediterranean & Black Sea Security Practitioners’ Network), in collaboration with IFAFRI (The International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation). First responders, technology providers, academics and policy makers came together in person and virtually to discuss about all aspects of Early Warning.  Thereby, the conference addressed MEDEA’s 3rd main objective to “Build a scenario driven technology roadmap” and several capability gaps in the working package “Natural hazards and technological accidents”.

A total of more than 80 experts, first responders and policymakers from disaster, and crisis management, from more than 20 countries, joined the event physically or online. Among others, the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and the Hellenic Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) were represented. Involved in all three network projects, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) was the main partner responsible for the planning, organization and implementation of the event. Regine Gerhards, Luisa Knoche, and Nico Hybbeneth, moderated the day’s events jointly with Ronald Nippold (DLR).

The first day was dedicated to the IFAFRI Technology Showcase. After a brief introduction of the three practitioner networks by George Kokkinis (MEDEA / KEMEA), Regine Gerhards (DAREnet / THW) and Alexander Rösner (IFAFRI / THW), nine companies and organizations from all over Europe presented their innovative solutions in the field of disaster management and early warning. Thereafter, the participants had the opportunity to discuss the approaches with representatives of the companies. At small booths the organizations presented their products, provided information and continued the exchange of ideas. This was very fruitful for both the technology providers and the end-user community. 

On the second day, workshops and key notes were on the agenda. Prof. Peter Solomon from European Commission’s Joint Research Centre introduced the Copernicus program and its relevance for early warning. Afterwards, Dr. Monika Gähler from German Aerospace Center talked about remote sensing during distasters and Earth Observation Emergency Mapping. Marcel Zvolenský, Dr. Laszlo Balatonyi and Dr. Natalie Stahl-van-Rooijen focused on Forecasting and Early Warning about Forecasting and Early Warning on Floods within the Danube Region. Perspectives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were given by Daniel Cotter, who presented the National Flood Insurance and Mapping Program. Furthermore, the program also included several workshops in which concepts for risk communication and technical solutions were developed and discussed.

The last day was dedicated to a great panel discussion. The topic was “Learning from the Future: How can Foresight improve Policy Planning and Operational Readiness?” Opening remarks were held by Albrecht Broemme, Chairman of the Board: Zukunftsforum Öffentliche Sicherheit (Public Safety Forum) and Honorary President of THW, who addressed future challenges. Following Georgios Kolliarakis, Advisor for Technology, Security and Defence at the GermanCouncil on Foreign Relations led the roundtable discussion. Speakers included Daniel Cotter and Albrecht Broemme, as well as Michelle Royal, Vice President of FirstLink Research and Analytics, Genny Dimitrakopoulou, Research Associate at KEMEA, and Philippe Quevauviller from GD HOME. Content wise, the session covered the added value of predictive exercises for better operational response and preparedness, but also for better predictive policy planning, including research policies.

Detailed information on key notes and workshops is available in the brochure of the event

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The MEDEA Consortium

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