The Union Civil Protection Mechanism is an initiative of the European Commission to constitute a framework for cooperation in disaster preparedness, prevention and response. The purpose of the initiative is to strengthen cooperation between Participating States in the field of civil protection, aiming to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. Through the Mechanism, the European Commission plays a key role in coordinating the response to disasters in Europe and beyond.
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) operates within the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation (ECHO), and acts as a coordination hub to facilitate coherent European response during emergencies.
Environmental emergency expertise is available for affected countries through the ERCC. Assistance can be requested via the Mechanism when the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of the affected country. Once activated, the Mechanism assists with coordination of the assistance made available by its Participating States. Additionally, the Mechanisms assists in disaster preparedness and prevention activities of national authorities and contributes to the exchange of best practices.
Since the beginning of the partnership in 2006, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism was involved in nearly a quarter of all of the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit’s missions. In 2018 and 2019, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism participated in over 50% of all of the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit’s response missions.