Start/End dates

A New Strategy for Humanitarian Connections


‘ETC2020’ is the strategy guiding the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) as it evolves to enable innovative and more effective humanitarian assistance, strengthening local communities as first-responders and facilitating delivery of digital aid.

ETC2020 seeks to ensure that all those responding to humanitarian emergencies - including affected communities - have access to vital communications services. 

Implementation of ETC2020 activities commenced as soon as the strategy was adopted. There are a number of implementation streams taking place including ETC2020 Projects and Tactical Working Groups. 

ETC2020 tactical planning and pilots


"By 2020, the ETC in partnership with leading edge technology companies and local telecomm providers, will create an environment for emergency response which allows humanitarian responders, citizens and governments to have a seamless, resilient and principled communications experience in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The ETC will be seen as innovative, visionary and a leader in convening the humanitarian technology community, and brokering full service communication solutions between private industry, governments, humanitarians, and communities."

Strategic Priorities

The ETC will continue facilitating connectivity services for humanitarian responders, but it will also expand both the types and recipients of those services. ETC2020 focuses on four strategic priorities: 

  • Communications as aid to enable communities to access connectivity when they need it most – in times of crisis. 
  • Improved and decentralized response readiness to ensure local people, processes and equipment solutions are ready to activate rapid communications responses to disasters. 
  • Increased communications resilience to disasters to help affected governments safeguard systems and prepare for responses when disasters strike
  • Enhanced communications and energy to enable a wider group of traditional and non-traditional humanitarian responders to save and improve lives.

Meeting New Humanitarian Needs

Communications technology has completely changed the way people live, connect and find information. It is also changing the way people are impacted by, and respond to, emergencies. At the same time, the humanitarian landscape is evolving with more disasters, more complexity and therefore more responders. 

The ETC needs to be more agile, more localized and more connected, reaching more people by becoming an ‘enabler’. The ETC needs to transform so that affected populations and governments are better connected to manage their responses to emergencies. 

Moving Forward with an Inclusive Approach

In support of the 2020 mission, the ETC: 

  • Seeks new models for partnerships that enable the network to effectively channel joint efforts, by providing scale, scope, and new efficiencies.The ETC will become a ‘broker’ of services, calling upon a broader partnership base to provide services when and where they are needed.
  • Focuses on advocacy to increase understanding of the humanitarian impact of technology in disaster response and ensure communications is restored to affected communities. The ETC will advocate to ensure people have the communications capabilities they need to save lives and protect themselves and others.
  • Involves a willingness to experiment with new and innovative technology, systems and process to find the best communications solutions for people impacted by disasters. 

Involving the Entire Community

The ETC calls upon the support of a wide range of partners to achieve its ETC2020 objective, ensuring all those responding to emergencies have access to vital communications services, transforming aid delivery and resulting in more lives saved. From humanitarian and government, to private sector and beyond, the ETC will need involvement from the entire community if it is going to achieve ETC2020, and enable the delivery of digital aid. 

For more information about becoming involved in ETC2020, contact:

International equipment and expertise prepared before emergencies, and deployed to support response. Affected communities as first responders - networks built before emergencies, enabling faster response through local equipment and expertise. 
Services provided to humanitarian responders in emergencies.Services provided to all those responding to emergencies inc. local communities, humanitarians, affected governments. 
Focused on providing security communications services and voice and internet connectivity within 48 hours of activation.Focus on communication as aid, enhancing connectivity and energy, government resilience and response readiness  – before, during and after emergencies. 
Services implemented directly. 

Service delivery brokered through the wide ETC network of partners. 

The ETC will advocate for provision of services and policies that enable affected populations to communicate after disasters.


ETC2020 was formally adopted by the ETC membership in April 2015 at the Plenary Meeting in Dubai.