Disaster Management Manual
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4.3.2 National coordination and cooperation

Cooperation and cooperation at the national level: the National Security System

The National Security System provides the organizational and regulatory framework for cooperation and coordination in emergency situations.

A National Security System can be defined as a system of administrative authorities, local governments, armed forces, emergency services, legal entities and individuals, and their relationships and activities. The scope of this system is to ensure a coordinated approach to enable fulfillment of basic obligations of the state in securing sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in protecting democratic principles, life, health and property of the population.

The National Security System is designed to comply with the Constitution and its essential elements are constitutional bodies and institutions. Ensuring security is based on a comprehensive approach, which includes designing appropriate mechanisms for managing risk or crisis situations and properly planning for related needs.

The National Security System serves as the institutional framework in creating and implementing related policies and is composed of physical and legal entities. Its basic function is the management and coordination of the various organizations responsible for national security interests. In creating a National Security System, political, military, economic, financial, legislative and social factors need to be accounted for effective risk management. Interactions and relationships among these factors need also to be defined for determining the responsibilities and obligations of the different organizations.

Such structure usually includes the President or Head of State, Parliament, Government, National Security Council and its working bodies, the Central Administration, regional and municipal authorities, the Armed Forces, Intelligence Services, rescue services, health and emergency response services. The Government is responsible for formulating basic policies, strategies and guidelines for disaster reduction and for securing coordination of government disaster reduction activities. Ministries and Agencies have responsibility to take actions related to disaster reduction within their own mandates. A Supreme Executive Authority is responsible for managing and operating the entire security system.

Creating a national security system is a long and difficult process. Legislation is required to define the purpose of individual entities and determine their interactions and obligations to civic life in the law-making process. Legislation often plays a decisive role in emergency management as it affects all stages involved in emergency situations.

A functional security system is not only a tool for effective crisis management, but also enhances prevention of- and preparation for potential crises, their early identification and warning. It is an open and dynamic system, as it must constantly respond to changes in the security environment and emerging threats. Building experience and developing economic and financial viability in such systems is a long-term and arduous process involving both systematic training and real-case experience.

Security measures involve ensuring defense against external military threats, protecting internal order and security, safeguarding the economy and protecting the population from the effects of natural and man-made disasters, including violent social conflicts. Experiences from developed countries clearly indicate that the aforementioned issues are interconnected and need to be addressed on a common basis when planning related measures.

In addressing major emergency situations, we can identify three levels of coordination based upon the magnitude of the emergency:

  • National
  • Regional or Federal
  • Local

These levels involve strategic, operational and tactical components of coordination and cooperation but are also emergency management stage-specific. Integrated Rescue System (IRS) provides a framework for efficient use of resources and cooperation capabilities in emergency situations. Next, the IRS and the different levels of cooperation and coordination are described.

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