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The challenge for national governments is to devise a ...

  2. 2. The Comparative Analysis of the Interministerial Management of Major Hazards – on Belgium, France, Russia and Bulgaria1 is based on the finding2 that there is a often a lack of co-ordination and integrated organisation of all the features of risk management (risk identification, prevention, preparedness, crisis management, rehabilitation and lesson-learning): both the national government departments in centralised countries and the regional and federal government departments in decentralised ones are still locked into a vertical view of risk management, in which each responsible authority manages its own sphere of competence. Local authorities, which must apply all the regulations adopted at higher levels of government, have to deal with their inconsistent approach and are forced to piece everything together themselves to gain an overall view of the risk. The challenge for national governments is to devise a national co-ordinating framework for an overall major hazards management policy. The Comparative Analysis concentrated exclusively on two risks, floods and chemical hazards, in four countries offering interesting examples, namely Belgium and France, on account of their interministerial management arrangements, Russia, because of Emercom, and Bulgaria, with its Agency and Standing Committees. The analysis was to serve as a working document to help governments assess how efficient their own systems are. Having collected a number of comments, for which we would like to thank the authors, we have now added to the recommendations made in the analysis, and are inviting willing member countries of the Agreement to continue the process we have begun by taking part in a seminar to be held at the Council of Europe office in Paris on 28 June 2006. In the light of the following recommendations and recent major disasters, each country can establish exactly where it situates its own risk management policy by attempting to identify what it may lack in terms of legislation and regulations or indeed what it may already have but is poorly applied3. 1 Commissioned by the Higher Institute of Emergency Planning (ISPU) and prepared by Kathleen Van Heuverswyn, legal expert. Doc. AP/CAT(2005)30. This document will have been sent to you by the Secretariat. You can also download it from the following address: , using the password "erisk2005" to open the zip-file. 2 This finding derives from the previous study produced by the same author for the ISPU: the comparative study of regulations on management of major hazards in the 26 member countries of the Council of Europe EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, ISPU, Strasbourg, 20 November 2003, Doc. AP/CAT (2003) 39. 3 R.FEUNTEUN, Secretary of the French Advisory Council for the Prevention of Major Natural Disasters, Directorate of Pollution and Risk Prevention, Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. 2
  3. 3. Recommendations 1. Harmonisation of terminology “It would be useful to compile an international glossary in English and French and have it adopted by as many international organisations as possible to give it a certain moral authority, without it necessarily being a legally binding document”. The use of many terms such as major hazards, prevention, preparedness, risk management and crisis management has spread through practice. Some of these terms are not defined in positive law and it is often not clearly established precisely what they cover. For example, public information is regarded at times as part of prevention and at others as part of preparedness. This terminological ambiguity causes a risk of confusion, which can lead to conflicting measures or a failure to take measures at all. An international glossary might prove an effective tool for governments, which they could incorporate into their positive law. Besides the legal uncertainty that it causes, the situation also complicates the exchange of expertise at international level4. Yet international co-operation is a key factor in this field5. This is reflected both by the recent disasters on our planet, which have shown that single countries, whatever their level of development, are incapable of coping with certain disasters on their own and by the sad anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which reminds us that some disasters know no frontiers. 2. A detailed inventory and scientific analysis of risks “The competent authorities at every level, national, regional and local, should be encouraged to take objective stock of the hazards present in their territory and analyse them in terms of probabilities, potential damage, perception and acceptability, etc. The findings will provide a sound basis for their risk management policy (strategy)” Traditionally, our knowledge of risks has derived from the lessons of experience. However, the emergence of complex new risks and increasing vulnerability force us to take a more proactive approach. A detailed inventory and scientific analysis of the risks to which areas and their inhabitants are exposed are prerequisites for all risk management policies. If a reliable analysis has been made and prevention is properly 4 F. Khammar, Director General of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for research in arid zones, the Algerian Centre of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement Network 5 See, inter alia, the European Union’s Integrated Crisis Management Arrangement (EU-ICMA), which was called on, in item 2.4 of the Hague programme, to serve as a forum to promote an international approach to the prevention and management of major hazards. Superintendent Frédéric Viatour, Belgian Federal Police. 3
  4. 4. organised, risks can be reduced. Planning and management are also natural consequences of analysis6. Involving the scientific community at this stage helps progress to be made. There is a case, for example, for drawing on the research work of university academics studying complex crisis dynamics7 (see recommendation 11). A monitoring observatory could be set up to complement these measures to take stock of and analyse risks8. 3. Developing a strategy 3.1 “National authorities should be encouraged to introduce consultation procedures in order to develop a comprehensive risk management strategy, including the definition of common goals, the determination of the parties' contributions based on their respective competences and the allocation of resources in keeping with their respective responsibilities”. An integrated, interdisciplinary risk management policy run by a co-ordinating body would provide better protection. This means that all the relevant authorities and branches should come together and reach a consensus on what each of their contributions to the realisation of common goals should be in view of their respective competencies. This is the chance for them to transform their ambitions into objectives and establish how they are going to achieve them. At this stage, a study on the costs of efficient crisis planning, operations and management would draw the public authorities’ attention to shortages in resources, staff and equipment (see below, recommendation 12). 3.2 “A good overall strategy for the management of major hazards must take account of possible causes and always anticipate the worst-case scenario”. It needs to be borne in mind that some disasters can be caused by criminal or terrorist acts. When an incident occurs, it is impossible at first to know whether there is a terrorist threat or not and so subsequent crisis management operations must take account of this. For example, fire officers who are the first on the scene of an explosion with an unknown cause must have appropriate equipment (such as full chemical protective gear). The worst case scenario should always be envisaged and it should always be considered whether a malicious act might be the cause9. 3.3 “The strategy devised must refer constantly to the risk inventory and the scientific risk analysis. It would also be useful to test strategies by organising exercises”. 6 Workshop on interministerial management of major hazards held by the ISPU on 29 March 2006. 7 See, for example, the work of ReCCCoM in association with the Ecole des Mines in Paris and the GRIC in Toulouse. Professors J.M. Jacques and M. Latiers, Research Centre for Crisis and Conflict Management, University of Namur- Belgium. 8 F. Khammar, see above. 9 Guy Lenz, former High Commissioner for National Protection, Ministry of State, Luxembourg. 4
  5. 5. The strategy should be assessed in the field through exercises involving the various branches. Exercise staff could be provided for this. Improvements to the overall strategy will be made on the basis of the results of these exercises. The problem of mass evacuation must also be addressed: how will this be arranged and where will people be sent? 4. Need for interministerial management 4.1 “The authorities at the higher end of the scale (national, federal, regional) should be encouraged to reconsider their essentially vertical approach to decision-making in order to facilitate implementation further down the line (at the regional, county, municipal and industrial levels)”. The main role of national authorities is to establish the legal framework, provide back-up when the resources of lower tiers of government are insufficient and co- ordinate activities when they take on a national scale. Establishing a framework and deciding on minimum measures to be taken implies having to adopt a horizontal approach covering all aspects of risk management (identification, prevention, preparedness, crisis management, rehabilitation and lesson-learning) and taking account of all hazards. In most countries, however, national authorities are locked into a vertical view of risk management, in which they fail to take account of all the components of risk management and in which they look no further than their own fields of competence. Local authorities, which are in the front line when a disaster occurs, must apply all the regulations adopted at higher levels of government and have to deal with their inconsistent approach. As a result they are forced to piece everything together themselves to gain an overall view of the risk. It follows from this that co-ordination meetings between the various government departments responsible for risk management aimed at establishing an overall risk management strategy would enable more consistent and effective decisions to be taken at national level and hence make it easier for local authorities to apply them. If meetings of this sort were held, they could also pool information on risks, experts and training and pass them on to the authorities concerned (see recommendation 10 below). Proper co-ordination could be provided at national level by setting up “major hazard management agencies”. Besides co-ordination, their task would be to seek out and pass on information on risks and reference works, experts and training on the subject10. 10 F. Khammar, see above 5
  6. 6. 4.2 “Higher authorities should be alerted to problems encountered in the field” Emergency services require clear and detailed operational guidelines and better co- ordination of regional plans. Regular meetings between the different government departments and branches could improve co-ordination in the field11. 5. Apportionment of responsibilities “It is essential to clearly assign responsibilities for every aspect of risk management in order to avoid omissions or, on the contrary, conflicts of "interest" in the event of duplication”. The apportionment of responsibilities is not always clearly set out in positive law. The most striking example of this is responsibility for prevention. Practically all authorities have some responsibility for prevention but, because their duties are not clearly defined, it is difficult to know where prevention stops and management begins. The danger is either that several authorities feel they are responsible because they have interpreted their duties broadly, and this leads to incompatible measures or even power conflicts, or that nobody feels concerned and the response comes too late12. In the opinion of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for research in arid zones (CRSTRA), which is the Algerian Centre of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement Network, risk management can be improved by: - establishing a national body, bringing together all the partners responsible for prevention; - assigning the main responsibility for the operational phase to the Ministry of the Interior and any additional tasks to the Ministry of Defence. 6. Devise prevention plans “The authorities responsible for risk prevention (primary prevention or the reduction of exposure to danger) should be encouraged to draw up prevention plans along similar lines to the emergency plans: bringing together all the competent departments around common goals and specifying what action they should take in their respective spheres of competence, including monitoring mechanisms”. Consideration could be given to widespread use of prevention plans such as the Walloon Region’s PLUIES plan13, which brings together all the relevant authorities, sets 5 objectives that they must work towards together and lists 27 specific means of achieving them in 5 different spheres of competence. Prevention could be made more efficient if prevention plans included monitoring mechanisms comprising monitoring visits from which lessons could be learned. 11 Workshop on interministerial management of major hazards held by the ISPU on 29 March 2006. 12 K. Van Heuverswijn, Doc. AP/CAT(2005)30. 13 Plan to combat floods and their effects on victims – Long-range integrated plan of 4 March 2004. 6
  7. 7. 7. Emergency planning in phase with prevention “Perhaps emergency planning should make more allowance for residual risks left over after primary prevention, which are not and/or cannot be controlled”. Emergency planning brings together all the partners who are expected to respond in the event of a crisis, identifies what human and material resources can be mustered and establishes co-ordination and command structures. To be more effective and more able to cope with potential threats, it should be more in phase with prevention. For instance, planners should rely not just on the lessons of experience but also on critical issues identified at the prevention stage. In the area of industrial hazards, inspection reports could be seen by planners as useful sources of information as they reveal the weak points of failing prevention policies. These considerations tie in with those on the need to take stock of and analyse risks and in particular the need to make choices and establish priorities when allocating the available resources, which are limited by definition14. 8. Post-crisis plans “Consider the usefulness of ‘post-crisis plans’, by analogy with emergency planning”. Rehabilitation or post-crisis plans would be useful, mainly as a way of helping the public (by monitoring public health and reintegrating people affected by the traumas of disasters) and rehabilitating the areas affected, focusing in particular on key public services (hospitals, schools, etc.).15 9. Integrating the lessons of experience into risk prevention and crisis management “The competent authorities should be encouraged to invest in the mapping and analysis of incidents, accidents and disasters and to develop means of incorporating the results of these analyses into risk prevention and crisis preparedness and management” Two databases – consisting of an inventory and an analysis of industrial incidents – were identified in the study. The first is a system run by the French Bureau for Analysis of Industrial Risks and Pollution (BARPI) and the second is the Major Accident Reporting System, managed by the European Commission. 14 K. Van Heuverswijn, Doc. AP/CAT(2005)30. 15 F. Khammar, see above. 7
  8. 8. 10. Build up and disseminate knowledge and promote education and training 10.1 “National authorities should be encouraged to centralise information on available competences, best scientific and other practices and training at the national level. Plans should be made to organise national databases into networks”. Interministerial management of major hazards is conducive to the pooling of information and experience (see recommendation 4 above). National authorities could set up a core database by centralising all the information available on past crises, schemes at industry, local and international level, and good practices, and listing the experts, training courses, studies and reference works at their disposal on the management of major hazards16. A database of this kind would make it possible to conduct spatio-temporal processing and analysis of major hazards17. It could be networked to enable the organisations concerned to consult it and learn lessons from past disasters to manage risks more effectively in the future. 10.2 “National authorities should also educate the public in risk culture and provide training for operators”. Risk culture: educating the public18. Prevention is achieved by informing, educating and developing a sense of responsibility among the public. In most countries, there is a huge gap in risk culture. Yet the main players in risk management should be the citizens. They are the first to be affected and play a role at all stages, from prevention to crisis management on the ground – one need only think of the large numbers of volunteers needed when a disaster occurs. Public perception of risk is crucial and, given this, the legitimacy of the person passing on information is a decisive factor19. Governments must be aware of the role of their citizens and involve them as much as possible through education and training in risks. At operational level20 Efficient risk management requires material and human resources more than anything else. In this area, the training and specialisation of professionals in the field is a key factor. Furthermore, this objective can only be achieved if candidates are motivated to work as rescuers through improvements in their working conditions (including more 16 There are already certain European schemes of this type such as the European Integrated Prevention of Pollution and Control Bureau (EIPPCB), in Seville, which compiles Best Available Techniques (BAT) and publishes them every three years in a Reference Document. The European Commission’s Civil Protection Unit runs an exchange system between experts which enables them to attend training courses or placements in other EU member states - K. Van Heuverswijn, Doc. AP/CAT(2005)30. 17 F. Khammar, see above. 18 F. Khammar, see above. 19 Workshop on interministerial management of major hazards held by the ISPU on 29 March 2006 20 F. Khammar, see above. 8
  9. 9. esteem, more respect and a level of pay in keeping with the risks they take and the sacrifices they make). Other crucial factors are response speed and proper co-ordination on the ground. 11. From knowledge to decision-making aids “We must step up research to improve our knowledge of increasingly complex phenomena”. Traditional management is based on a retrospective approach, focusing on known risks, whereas we are more and more frequently faced with situations where we do not have all the necessary information and lack experience. Governments need to adapt to these new circumstances and build up their knowledge as new risks emerge, so that when crises occur, their risk managers have enough structured information available to them to guide them in their actions. Support from research teams investigating risk-related scientific questions would make it possible to acquire the necessary new knowledge and make better use of existing knowledge21. 12. Cost of risk management “The authorities concerned should be encouraged to introduce cost analysis as an evaluation factor in the organisation of risk management”. An analysis of the costs of prevention, preparedness, planning, exercises, management and rehabilitation would be conducive to discussion on the efficiency of current structures and alert the public authorities to any shortages in resources, staff or equipment. 21 See, in this connection, France’s Risk, Decision-Making and Spatial Planning (RDT) programme, launched in 2003 by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, with a view to stepping up research on natural and technological hazards and to establishing links between local managers and research workers – Olivier Maquaire, who is the Director of one of the EUR-OPA agreement's specialised centres, the European Centre for Seismic and Geomorphological Hazards (CERG), is also one of the members of the scientific board advising on this programme. Moreover, in 2002, the CERG contributed to a European research project by preparing a comparative study on different practices in five countries (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Poland), focusing on the following aspects: (1) administrative information, (2) legislation, (3) prevention, (4) insurance and liability and (5) public information. The study is appended hereto. 9
  10. 10. 13. Evaluation criteria “The authorities concerned should be encouraged to define evaluation criteria to enhance their efficiency and gear their activities to their aims”. “Each country's legislation requires industrial plant operators to evaluate their prevention policy in order to adjust it to new parameters; there is no such obligation where public services are concerned. To preserve its credibility vis-à-vis its private sector partners, the Chemical Hazard Directorate of Belgium's Federal Employment and Labour Service made the necessary investment to obtain an ISO 9002 certificate, thereby becoming, on 1 April 1999, the first Federal Public Service to be awarded such a certificate for its service quality management system”22. 14. The strategic approach to risk management: Securing continuity “Consider preparing a strategic document encompassing every aspect of risk management, with sections on each component (strategy, prevention, preparedness and management, rehabilitation and evaluation) and, for each section, chapters indicating the specific approach for each type of risk”. We have seen that, in most countries, the authorities are locked into a vertical view of risk management, in which they look no further than their own fields of competence 23. There is no overall perspective on or continuity between the different stages of risk processes, nor are all hazards taken into account. For risk management to improve, there needs to be a change in mentalities and each authority will have to adopt an overall view of risks. This could be achieved by preparing a single document bringing together prevention, planning, management, rehabilitation and evaluation programmes and specifying which authorities are competent for each of these areas. A document of this sort would also be a useful tool for identifying the synergies required for good risk management. 22 K. Van Heuverswijn, Doc. AP/CAT(2005)30. 23 See recommendation 4 above. 10