Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation in civil emergency planning

Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) occupies a prominent place in the cooperation of Azerbaijan with NATO. Over the last years, Azerbaijan has steadily been increasing its CEP cooperation with NATO. Multilateral interaction within the EAPC and bilateral cooperation in the framework of IPAP are viewed as mutually reinforcing tools to this end.

Azerbaijan actively contributes to CEPC and Planning Groups (civil protection; transport; public health, food and water; industrial resources and communications) meetings in EAPC format. This format provides a useful forum for exchange of views, building mutual understanding and developing tools and guidelines relevant to national practice. 2010 NATO CEPC plenary meeting and Transport Group 2014 Inland Surface Transport seminar were hosted by Azerbaijan.

There is a network of more than 380 civil experts located in NATO and Partner countries across the Euro-Atlantic area. Civil expert teams can be deployed to assist nations in dealing with a certain issue. Azerbaijani experts on transport, ecology and agriculture are represented in this network as well and are frequently invited by NATO to attend and contribute the respective events.

Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is an important partnership tool within NATO CEP. Created within the framework of the Partnership for Peace programme, the Centre coordinates responses among NATO and Partner countries to natural and man-made disasters in the Euro-Atlantic area. The representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Azerbaijan have been serving in this Centre since 2009 as a Voluntary National Contribution of Azerbaijan to NATO.

A more practical dimension for partners is an opportunity to participate in CEP-related exercises. In this context, Azerbaijan is interested in field exercises and “table-top” exercises conducted under the auspices of EADRCC. Azerbaijani teams participated in “UUSIMAA-2008”, “Jetisu-2009”, “CODRII-2011”, “Georgia-NATO 2012” and “Ukraine-2015” conducted respectively in Finland, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. These exercises enhance practical skills and provide opportunity for live exchange of experiences.

Another tangible benefit for Azerbaijan is bilateral cooperation with NATO CEP. Priorities for bilateral interaction are focused on implementation of respective objectives in Azerbaijan’s IPAP Document. The establishment of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) in 2005, which brought relevant agencies under the authority of a single ministry, further enhanced bilateral cooperation. In November 2008, the NATO CEP Advisory Support Team (AST) visited Azerbaijan to advise on capacity development of the MES. Recommendations developed in their report serve as guidance for areas of expertise assistance, cooperation and concrete measures.

Additionally, NATO ASTs on communications and maritime visited Azerbaijan in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The recommendations have been provided on capacity development as well as efficiency enhancement of Ministry of Communications and High Technologies and State Maritime Administration.