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Brown bag webinar on Host Nation Support

On January 27th, LACER hosted the fourth webinar in the brown bag series of mutual exchange and learning. The theme of the discussion was Host Nation Support (HNS) in ASEAN and the EU. The webinar included a presentation by ERCC Liaison Officer Simon Stermann on the EU role in HNS and use of the EU Guidelines, followed by a facilitated discussion with the AHA Centre on HNS in ASEAN. Thereafter, LACER experts Martin Sjöholm and Peter Månsson briefed participants on the Swedish national experiences with HNS relative to support from other EU countries.

"For emergency planning, we have identified especially training of liaison officers, sending liaison officers, and having specified HNS cells in country as most important within our institutions", Mr Stermann states, explaining that it is crucial to have proper administration processes for the response capacities. "The time from a disaster happening to the time when we as the EU send assistance through the UCPM mechanism is of utmost importance to the success of the response. The admnistrative part is the most important because it really saves time, and thereby saves lives", Mr Stermann says. 

Mr Stermann presenting with headphones

Mr. Simon Stermann, ERCC Liaison Officer presenting.

LACER expert Martin Sjöholm explained that during the wildfires in 2014, Sweden did not have an HNS system in place when external help was neeed. "We were doing permits for the aircraft coming in via ERCC while they were up in the air. Everything was done on an ad hoc basis, which was not good", Mr Sjöholm says. Sweden learned a lesson and worked on their HNS guidelines. When heavy wildfires struck the country again in 2018, the authorities were much better prepared to receive help from the mechanism. In total, Sweden received help from 467 staff, 12 aircraft, 18 helicopters and 85 trucks from 9 different countries within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Martin Sjöholm in front of Swedish flag

Martin Sjöholm, LACER training and exercise expert.

Forest fires in 2014Forest fires in 2018

The webinar on Host Nation Support covered the following topics:

  • Why HNS is important and the rationale for coordination.
  • Typical legal issues that may impede cross-border assistance (e.g. regulations on the import of rescue dogs, medicines, licenses of medical personnel, visa requirements) and how such challenges could be mitigated by regional agreements.
  • The shifting role of the ERCC toward the European disaster manageent agencies.
  • Lessons learned from the work to enhance/propel HNS within the EU (e.g during the development phase of the HNS guidelines) as well as from actual missions when HNS may have been deficient, how this was dealt with during the mission and what changes it potentially generated in terms of HNS recommendation for the EU member states.

The event saw broad participation, with a total of 33 guests encompassing all AHA divisions, the ASEAN DMHA and three officers from BNPB (Indonesian national disaster management organisation) along with LACER team members and other institutions.

HNS presentation