LUXEMBOURG – The humanitarian community’s ability to connect, communicate and save lives in emergencies has received a strong signal from satellite operators, who officially signed donation agreements as part of their commitment to the Crisis Connectivity Charter.
The in-kind donation agreements, worth over US$1.3 million, include equipment, practical training and three months of free airtime in each country where the charter will be activated. They are the final steps in making the Crisis Connectivity Charter operational.
The Charter formalizes terms and protocols designed to make satellite-based communications more readily available to humanitarians and affected communities when local phone and internet networks are damaged, destroyed or overloaded after a disaster. The principles also include increased coordination to prioritize access to bandwidth for humanitarian purposes during disaster responses; pre-positioned satellite equipment and transmission capacity in high-risk countries in Europe, the Middle-East, Africa and Asia; and training and capacity building for the humanitarian community around the world.
“Today shows that the private sector is not only an integral part of humanitarian response efforts, but is stepping up its support through tangible actions,” said Enrica Porcari, Chair of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and Chief Information Officer for the World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP, as global lead of the ETC, accepted these donations on behalf of the humanitarian response community. The signing ceremony took place in Luxembourg city on 17 May, nearly three years after the Government of Luxembourg and the ETC hosted a business consultation with the satellite industry, which lay the bases for the Crisis Connectivity Charter. It comes as the humanitarian community responds to an increasing number of emergencies – situations where access to information and communications is a basic human need alongside food, water and shelter. The donation agreements will help ensure that the ETC and its partners can better leverage technology to provide life-saving connectivity to humanitarians and affected populations when disaster strikes.