When a disaster occurs, functioning interoperability could mean the difference between life and death, particularly when there is a need for international or cross border responses; for example when responding to threats such as climate change related natural hazards and international terrorism.
Developing and implementing standards in the field of disaster resilience and crisis management can save lives, mitigate the harm and damage caused by disasters and reduce the impact of disasters by maintaining basic services such as food, water, electricity and health services.
As part of the EC funded ResiStand project, fifteen partners from seven countries have collaborated over the past two years to propose new standardisation initiatives that can improve disaster resilience.
Challenges in the standardisation process
While standardisation can play a critical role in maximising technical, procedural, operational and semantic interoperability, there is a need to overcome the challenges in the current standardisation process, which result in very few standards being developed.
These challenges include:
- Research organisations and research projects are often unable to find the path to National Standards Bodies
- Cooperation between different technical committees and the involvement of key stakeholders benefiting from standardisation are both limited.
The ResiStand project emerged in response to the challenges that the existing standardisation landscape is facing. Partners engaged with three stakeholder communities, the End-User Community (e.g., crisis management organisations), the Supplier Community (e.g., industrial and research organisations) and the Standards Community (e.g., organisations developing standards) throughout the project to understand the potential of standardisation as a tool for improving disaster resilience.
ResiStand Pre-Standardisation Process
Through a combination of surveys, personal interviews and workshops, partners have analysed existing standards, identified end-user standardisation needs and the opportunities created by suppliers, and studied EU funded disaster resilience projects to identify further needs and opportunities.
This information played a critical role in identifying future standardisation initiatives for improving disaster resilience and the development of the ResiStand Pre-Standardisation Process, a structured self-evaluation procedure, to support initiators in the development and structuring of the standard, collecting the required information, and involving the relevant organisations.
The ResiStand Pre-Standardisation Process offers benefits in terms of reducing the time, effort, and financial resources needed to assess and refine new work items and deliver them to the standardisation funnel. Ultimately, the process will improve the involvement of different stakeholder groups in the standardisation process and prevent costly investment in non-optimal standards.
Three tools are available to the initiators of potential new standardisation initiatives to support them in the evaluation process:
- The ResiStand Standards Catalogue containing data about all relevant existing or planned standards
- The ResiStand Dynamic Roadmap, a database of all pre-standardisation initiatives
- The ResiStand Assessment Framework to assess potential standardisation initiatives in terms of urgency, impact and feasibility
The ResiStand project, called “Increasing disaster resilience by establishing a sustainable process to support standardisation of technologies and services” was funded by the European Union to improve the crisis management and disaster resilience capabilities of the European Union and of individual Member States with means of standards.
Its consortium included National Standards Bodies from Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands, research and technology organisations, SMEs, and larger industrial and consulting companies.
While the ResiStand project has officially ended, its findings and outputs continue to be of support to stakeholders for developing standards. One of the many potential standardisation initiatives identified “CBRNE Training Framework: Requirements for CBRNE Education and Training”, and the ResiStand Assessment Framework have been submitted to the European Committee for Standardization as New Work Item Proposals to be standardised.
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