International Katrina Project (IKP)

Public Risk Management has everything to do with Cooperation. Well, this new project is focussed on nothing else then that. Katrina is metaphor for setting up and developing a cross organisational and international cooperation. Not easy. Therefor challenging. PRIMO Europe underlines the scope of the project and will investigate how it best can contribute to and participate in this project. Initiator Professor Eelco Dykstra explains where the project is all about.

“Official, non-classified US intergovernmental briefings during Hurricane Katrina have been used to  develop a scenario and publish a reality-fiction book called “The Storm” to describe what would or could happen when a super storm hits 11 European countries. Around 100 participating partners have expressed their interest to join forces in the International Katrina Project (IKP), a grass-roots initiative and  network-organisation representing both the public and private sectors (see www.stormovereurope.org). During a period of two years, the story in “The Storm” will be used to obtain focused feedback from within and outside this expanding network organisation. The resulting information allows a comparative assessment of the different approaches and experience in emergency preparedness, response and post-recovery efforts following natural disasters in the EU, the US, and elsewhere.”

By using a scenario which includes widespread collapse of critical infrastructure in the context of global climate changes, the overarching goals of the IKP are:
1. Extract lessons for best practice management and risk reduction that are based on consensus-based conclusions and recommendations;
2. Promote coherent EU-US and international policy and operational approaches towards risk reduction, response, recovery, reconstruction and stabilisation in regions at risk for natural disasters in the context of global climate change.

The project itself consists of five (5) work packages: “Scenario and Book” (completed), “Focused Feedback/Research”, “Agenda for the Future”, “Consensus-building”, and “Toolbox and Dissemination”. Among the general questions that will be addressed by the IKP and its work-packages, are the following:
1. What lessons might the EU and others extract from the operational experience the USA has in planning, preparing, responding and recovering from these kinds of super-storms?
2. Do EU initiatives in science & technology areas such as pre-impact engineering, remote-sensing, earth observation, early warning, and public broadcasting hold benefits for the USA and the international community?
3. What is the current state of, and what the future perspectives on, transatlantic and international co-operation in emergency  management?
4. To what extent would a ‘merger’ between US-EU-International knowledge and experience in emergency  management be beneficial?

Following the production and dissemination of the book as a non-technical, reality-fiction adventure novel, a period of two (2) years has been set aside to obtain focused feedback in the form of “Conclusions and Recommendations” from across countries and disciplines in the EU, US, and elsewhere. Consensus-building will be an integral part of the program through a variety of activities including local workshops, (virtual) seminars, and mailings with survey’s.

A dedicated website (www.stormovereurope.org), a virtual symposium and large interactive conferences in Brussels and Washington DC are being planned to complete the ‘agenda for the future’ and ‘consensus building’ work packages. The ‘Toolbox and dissemination’ work package will consist of a suite of tools such as final version(s) of the book “The Storm, a summary of the Agenda-for-the-Future report and a DVD with a number of tools for cost effective emergency management and “crisis recovery. This toolbox is expected to become available in three versions: for the general public, an educational version (schools), and a policy version (‘white paper’).

Key expected results and their use
Comparative analysis of current EU-US-INTERNATIONAL policies to assess different approaches and experience in emergency preparedness, response and post-recovery efforts following natural disasters – Use: information, conclusions, recommendations, reference and resource lists:
•    Development of the scenario and production of the book “The Storm” – Use: awareness,  scenario development, shared frame of reference, stakeholder mobilisation
•    Development of a standardised approach and a common ‘reservoir’ of questions and assignments to generate consistency of data-sets in the ‘Focus Feedback’ phase– Use: standardised research methodology for semi-quantitative (trend) analysis
•    Download the book into various networks and the IKB project consortium along with standardised questions and assignments – Use: maximise exposure, obtain focused feedback
•    Conducting surveys, seminars, workshops, and (virtual) conferences – Use: collect data-sets
•    Collection, review, processing and analysis of the Focused Feedback phase – Use: applied  research
•    Preparation and production of the report “Agenda-for-the-Future” – Use: information, conclusions and recommendations, reference and resource lists
•    Planning and organising of at least two (2) major international consensus conferences in Washington D.C. and Brussels – Use: consensus building and formulation of  policy and operational recommendations in EU, US and elsewhere
•    Preparation, production and dissemination of an integrated joint US-European-International ‘toolbox’ – Use: policy support (white paper); education, public outreach
•    Final Report including recommendations – Use: support the further development  of coherent EU-US-International policy and operational approaches towards risk reduction, response, recovery, reconstruction and resilience in regions vulnerable for natural disasters in the context of global climate change.

Key Organisational arrangements/project management
The project’s lead agency will be The International Katrina Project. William H. Dent (USA), CEO of Natural Partners, a NGO involved in environmental project management, and Eelco H. Dykstra (Netherlands), known for his work as visiting professor in the USA and Finland to establish International Emergency Management as a discipline, will serve as IKP Project Coordinators (PC) and Primary Investigators (PI). They will work closely with all participating partners in the IKP network.  Other senior project staff include John R. Harrald (USA), emeritus professor of Emergency Management and Systems Engineering at the George Washington University, Eric Gontier (Belgium) who is a senior project manager at the earth-observation and remote sensing unit (TAP) at VITO, responsible for international and EU projects, and Paul op den Brouw (Netherlands), Councillor for Science & Technology at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC. Together they represent both the policy and operational dimensions of emergency management at local, national and international levels on both sides of the Atlantic.  The institutions and individuals connected to the IKP represent a vast network in crisis/disaster/emergency management in the EU, USA and elsewhere.