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ATLAS-ENGAGE at the “Fachtagung Katastrophenvorsorge”

News from Oct 31, 2022

At this year's “Fachtagung Katastrophenvorsorge 2022”, ATLAS-ENGAGE provided the following inputs in addition to participating in various events:

On the one hand, Prof. Dr. Martin Voss contributed to the workshop “Save - Protect - Prepare. Heat action plans in response to the challenges of extreme heat in climate change” with a presentation on voluntary engagement in the context of heat waves. He argued that heat waves need to be understood as a joint task for society as a whole.

On the other hand, the Disaster Research Unit together with the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), and the German Red Cross (DRK) organized a participatory side event on the topic "Is contributing all that matters? Facets of different forms of civil society engagement in disaster response". One take-home-message is that volunteering in civil protection contexts is diversifying and that new challenges are arising in terms of interfaces and concepts for cooperation.

The workshop dealt with current developments in disaster-related volunteering. In addition to the traditionally affiliated and ‘official’ volunteers in population protection in Germany (incl. civil protection and civil defense), there is a variety of ‘unofficial’ volunteers who contribute or would like to contribute to disaster recovery: while some of these volunteers cooperate with authorities and organizations with security tasks (BOS), others operate completely spontaneously and independently. BOS and researchers are working to gain an overview of the forms of engagement, to regulate responsibilities, and to improve communication and coordination structures. Together, we discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with various types of engagement: what forms of cooperation exist, and where are the limits of collective disaster relief activities?

The aim of the workshop was to exchange and discuss current developments and perspectives on volunteering before, during and after disasters. We shared insights from the ongoing ATLAS-ENGAGE project, which conducts a meta-analysis of research projects and operational approaches to diverse forms of engagement in civil protection. Together, we discussed and sorted out the opportunities and challenges associated with various types of engagement, what forms of cooperation exist, where the limits of joint disaster relief activities lie, and which implementation paths and hurdles exist for concepts of cooperation.

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