Today's Strategy to Ensure Tomorrow's Humanitarian Connections

It starts with three personal accounts: one from a mother whose children vanished in conflict; one from a national disaster management officer who knows his country will soon be struck by crisis; and one from an over-worked humanitarian who needs to respond, fast. In all three accounts outlined in the opening of the ETC2020 strategy, it is technology which will transform their situations.

ETC2020 is the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster's (ETC) new strategy to create a communications environment for quick, effective and accountable humanitarian action. It seeks to enable an emergency response environment that provides humanitarians, citizens and governments with a seamless and resilient communications experience, grounded in humanitarian principles. And all this is to be achieved by 2020.

Developed in collaboration and consultation with the ETC network of humanitarian, private sector and government organisations, the ETC2020 strategy was officially endorsed by the membership at the Plenary Meeting in April 2015. ETC2020 prioritises four key areas:

  1. Enhanced communications and energy to meet the increasing connectivity, and corresponding electricity, demands of humanitarian response;
  2. Improved and decentralised response readiness enabling the community to respond to multiple concurrent large-scale disaster;
  3. Working with governments in high-risk countries to build Increased communications resilience to disasters; and
  4. Communications as aid, leveraging the ETC network and expertise to enable more accountable humanitarian response and to empower affected communities as change agents.

Realising that the community responding to humanitarian emergencies – and needing technology services – is no longer limited to traditional aid actors, ETC2020 has a larger scope for the wider response community. This community includes humanitarians, as well as healthcare professionals, private sector and government organisations. For the first time, services to affected populations are being included within the scope of the ETC.

With revised priorities, expanded scope and a new approach encompassing partnerships and advocacy, ETC2020 will enable the technology solutions that allow the mother to find her children; the national disaster management officer to build resilience for the next crisis; and the emergency responder to quickly and effectively respond in emergencies, saving lives.

DOWNLOAD: ETC2020 - A New Strategy for Humanitarian Connections (full strategy)

DOWNLOAD: ETC2020 factsheet

By Mariko Hall, Global Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) Cell

Header photo: Oxfam/ Simon Rawles