#Todayoneyearago: The DRIVER+ Final Conference
On February 19th 2020 the University of Muenster, represented by the ERCIS Competence Center for Crisis Management (C³M) team, was heavily involved in the DRIVER+ Advanced Crisis Management Conference - the climax of 6 years of productive work, which took part at BluePoint Brussels.
The DRIVER+ (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience) project was launched in May 2014 and its main objective was the development of innovative solutions to address existing and future challenges in Crisis Management. In context of the DRIVER+ project, the C3M contributed as a solution provider of different decision support tools for disaster relief logistics, the development of the Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM) and facilited the methodological support to the design, execution and evaluation of the conducted D+ Trials and the Final Demonstration.
Thus, C³M facilitated the TGM stand where main result, the TGM handbook and the website, were presented to the visitors. Next to TGM, C3M presented the HumLogSUITE solution, which took its deserved place at the marketplace of the conference. HumLogSUITE is an adaptable simulation environment, designed to analyze and evaluate the performance of disaster relief logistics networks, processes and configurations and thus, assist higher-level crisis managers in the design of crisis management networks (see also here its application with the Federal Agency for Technical Relief). HumLogSUITE was also selected and applied in the third DRIVER+ Trial which took part in May 2019 in the Netherlands, where it addressed the problem of evacuation and sheltering of the affected population (more information can be found here).
A marketplace of the conference and its poster area were the spotlights of the event, giving solution providers an opportunity to present their innovative crisis management solutions and allowing visitors of the event to discover them. The conference hosted over 220 crisis management specialists, academics, technology providers and those who devoted themselves to the project during its active phase and came to emphasize the results of the conducted work, share their experiences and visions.
The special attention of the conference was given to innovation for crisis management in the context of climate change-related events such as floods and wildfires. The conducted work, outcomes and their practical usability and sustainability, and future potential were discussed. The focus of the conference was placed on the development of Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM), reports on conducted trials which enabled assessment of various innovative crisis management solutions in realistic scenarios, establishment of Crisis Management Innovation Network Europe (CMINE) and Centres of Expertise (CoE), and Portfolio of Solutions (PoS), a central repository of innovative solutions for crisis management.
The first day sessions of the conference included welcome speech from Felix Bloch, Head of Unit B3, Disaster Preparedness and Prevention, DG ECHO, European Commission, and speeches of Matthew Jones from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Patrick Meier from WeRobotics, Konstanze Lechner from German Aerospace Center (DLR), Chiara Fonio from Joint Research Center (JRC), Steven van Campen from XVR Simulation, Karmen Poljansek from Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Center (DRMKC), Denis Havlik from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and an award ceremony holded by Todor Tagarev from Institute of ICT, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Matthew Jones reminded us about drastic consequences of fires in Siberia and Australia and introduced projected changes of temperature and their impact on the global environment. Climate models were representing possible futures of the best and the worst-case scenarios, thus, highlighting once again that climate change is an enabler of wildfires.
Patrick Meier presented the major problems and obstacles for rescuing operations, and how humanitarian technologies can help in assessing damage and guiding operations. Using Nepal as an example, he especially stressed the positive outcome of engaging local population in operations and showed the importance and the power of locals. The positive outcome led to encouraging local experts to take part and to take lead in humanitarian emergency and set up an idea for the next innovation in humanitarian technology – radical inclusion.