Lessons of cooperation between government and non-governmental organizations in emergency management in the Czech Republic
Free (open access)
Volume 5 (2015), Issue 3
203 - 221
The purpose of this research is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current forms of cooperation between government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in emergency management in the Czech Republic, while presenting a detailed overview of the key criteria of the effective Czech model, which could be potentially used by other organizations or countries. Previous research has focused on cooperation between government and NGOs in flood risk management, but emergency management concerns more than floods. The scope has been expanded to include volunteer firefighters and rescue workers, the other NGO players in emergencies in the Czech Republic. The research presents an overview of the cooperation between the Czech government and NGOs in various forms of emergency management. Using document review and a series of interviews with emergency management experts, several aspects of cooperation were considered: formalization, timing, level, and type. The research findings demonstrate that some emergency management activities can be very effectively performed by NGOs and their volunteers. In the Czech Republic, integration into the national Integrated Rescue System guarantees a minimum standard of performance. Since volunteers work for free and their work has much lower expenses, they perform their activities in a more cost-effective way than the state. However, this is not valid for the whole emergency management system, but only for such activities that can be assigned to volunteers when there are enough willing volunteers and the NGOs and their volunteers are formally integrated into the rescue system. The Czech experience could be interesting for other countries, particularly post-communist countries, because all emergency systems work with information, and the human factor plays a role everywhere. Thus, it is concluded that some basic aspects of cooperation in Czech emergency management, focused on sharing information and strengthening mutual trust and awareness, could be considered as universal.
cooperation, Czech Republic, emergency management, government, non-governmental organizations.