CERIDES Participates in the Closing Way-Forward Meeting of DG-ECHO FSX Project HOPE


European University Cyprus and CERIDES are happy to announce the successful implementation of the Way-Forward Meeting of the DG-ECHO FSX Project HOPE. The Way-Forward Meeting took place on the 11th and the 12th of December 2023 at the Headquarters of the Directorate-General (DG) for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – (ECHO) in Brussels, Belgium.

DG-ECHO project officer Ms Mariangela Pelliccia hosted the Way-Forward meeting. A delegation from the main project beneficiary, Armenia, attended the meeting, as well as representatives from all consortium partners. The meeting was also attended by Mr Felix Bloch, DG-ECHO Head of Unit of  Knowledge Network and Evidence-Based Policy.

During the meeting, Dr Christos Dimopoulos, the Exercise Head Evaluator, together with Mr Evangelos Katsaros, the Exercise Project Manager, had the opportunity to present the findings of the CERIDES’ structured exercise evaluation methodology which was applied to the HOPE Full-Scale Exercise in Yerevan, Armenia. The Evaluation findings showcased the strength of Armenian authorities to conduct a comprehensive set of USAR activities with the help of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), and with the support of their neighboring countries. The findings also provide a solid framework to the Armenian authorities to further improve their response capacity in the event of a large-scale emergency.

It should also be noted that, during the meeting, the HOPE consortium had the opportunity to visit DG-ECHO’s  Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC), which constitutes the ‘brain’ of UCPM, coordinating the provision of support to countries hit by disasters.

The Way-Forward meeting was the last major activity of the HOPE FSX project. HOPE was a very interesting case study on the activation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) in a conflict zone, focusing on a country with no previous experience on UCPM procedures. For this reason, its major outcome (to which CERIDES’ exercise evaluation framework provided a significant contribution) was the extremely strong learning element for both the Armenian authorities and DG-ECHO.

The HOPE FSX project is funded by the Directorate-General (DG) for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – (ECHO) Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Call: UCPM-2021-EXT). CERIDES acts as the Coordinating Organisation for this project.

The aim of the project is to improve civil protection preparedness and response capabilities of Armenia in dealing with large, complex disasters that require joint response coordination facilitated via the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and INSARAG.

The project consortium of HOPE consists of the following members:

European University Cyprus / CERIDES – Center of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences (Cyprus) (Project Coordinator)
Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) (Armenia)
Protection and Rescue Directorate (North Macedonia)
Ministry of Interior (Montenegro)
BRGM (France)
Direction générale de la Sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises (France)
General Secretariat Civil Protection (Greece)