Cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in the field of civil emergency planning is on the priority list of the Euro-Atlantic dialogue, taking into account the importance of effective disaster-response capabilities development and civilian support to NATO military operations.
Ukraine and NATO have developed practical cooperation since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on civil emergency planning and disaster preparedness between the Ministry of Ukraine for Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1997.
The main attention is paid to interaction within the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC), which is the top NATO advisory body for the protection of civilian populations and the use of civil resources in support of NATO's objectives. It operates primarily in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council format.
The SCEPC coordinates planning in several areas, to ensure – when necessary – civil support for the Alliance ’s military operations or military support for national authorities in civil emergencies. The Committee provides direction and guidance for eight specialised planning boards and committees. These bring together national government, industry experts and military representatives to coordinate emergency planning in areas such as: civil aviation; civil protection; food and agriculture; industrial production and supply; inland surface transport; medical matters; ocean shipping; civil aviation; civil electronic and postal communications.
Ukraine is represented in the SCEPC by the officials of the Ministry for Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. If necessary, other Ukrainian representatives take part in the meetings of SCEPC planning boards and commissions – these are the experts of the Ministry of transport and communication, Ministry of agriculture, Ministry of Industrial Policy, Ministry of Health, State Air Administration of Ukraine, Mission of Ukraine to NATO etc.
Cooperation between Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is efficient too. Following Ukraine’s request for assistance, the Centre provided assistance after severe floods in the country (in 1998, 2001, 2008). Ukraine made its contribution to the work of EADRCC - in 2007-2008 the representative of the Ministry for Emergencies Mr. Oleg Pinsky served as a Voluntary National Contribution to the Center. He was responsible for ensuring coordination among the Alliance and its member states and partners in responding to natural and man-caused disasters.
In December 2008 a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Joint working group on civil emergency planning (JWG) took place. During the meeting, specific ways for further cooperation in the field were discussed, particularly with regard to interaction with EADRCC on early warning and emergency response issues, sharing information, expertise and experience on risk assessment, emergency planning, disaster prevention, participation of Ukraine in NATO trainings and exercises.
Ukraine actively participates in the international disaster-response exercises on the response to disasters. In 2000 Ukraine hosted a NATO exercise called «Trans-Carpathia-2000» to eliminate the effects of flooding, in 2005 - together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and NATO - international exercise «Joint Assistance-2005» aimed at eliminating consequences of the incident with dangerous chemical substances; in 2007 the representatives of Ministry for Emergencies of Ukraine took part in critical infrastructure protection exercise «Idassa-2007» (Croatia) and in 2008 – in the NATO political-military-civilian crisis management exercise CMX 08, critical infrastructure protection exercise «Uusimaa 2008» (Finland), table-top exercise «Amber Fog».