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In 2001, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism was established, fostering cooperation among national civil protection authorities across Europe. The overall objective of the Mechanism is to facilitate coordination in the field of civil protection, in order to improve the effectiveness of the system for prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters in Europe and elsewhere. 

The exchange of experts programme was developed as a strategic activity within the UCPM to enable civil protection experts to participate in exchanges to other participating states. 

The objective of the programme is to allow civil protection experts to gain experience and direct knowledge about similar responsibilities under different national systems; to familiarise themselves with various techniques used; to study the approaches taken by other emergency services; and, if necessary, to attend or attend or provide courses requiring specific expert knowledge not available in their home or host country respectively. 

The programme is funded by the European Commission and administered by CN APELL-RO in consortium with IGSU (General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations)


1.1. Participating Countries

The Exchange of Experts is open to professional experts and volunteers from the administrations concerned with any aspect of civil protection and environmental emergencies, which are resident in the participating states of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, candidate countries, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland) plus the following eligible countries:

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and “Kosovo" [1]

Eastern Neighbourhood countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine;

Southern Neighbourhood countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine[2], Tunisia[3],[4]

1.2 Exchanges

An exchange would typically be a secondment to a host country and host organisation to observe the operational structures and learn different techniques; but could also additionally comprise attendance in workshops, seminars or conferences or participation in training courses or simulation exercises as part of the exchange. 

Experts may be exchanged individually or in a small group (up to 10 persons). The length of the exchange may vary from a minimum of a few days to up to three months. The typical length is generally five working days. The actual time period and length of an exchange will depend upon the resources available to the respective host organisation. 

Experts may be exchanged to institutes or organisations, such as government departments, emergency services, and scientific institutes with a recognised role in civil protection. Experts may visit one or more organisations in one or more countries, depending upon the scope of the exchange. 

Only costs related to the secondment to civil protection institutions (competent bodies at the national, regional, or local level or bodies having a recognised role in relation to civil protection) of the participating countries and visits to the ERCC are eligible.

1.3. Target groups for participation

It is required that candidates are:

  • Prevention and preparedness experts
  • Intervention team leaders, deputy intervention team leaders and liaison officers
  • Technical experts
  • Assessment experts 
  • Members of coordination teams
  • Staff in charge of coordination
  • Key national contact point
  • Staff responsible for receiving/handling emergency calls and their trainers
  • Staff involved with policy making on disaster management

Priority will be given to the following categories of experts:

  • registered in CECIS
  • working in operation centres
  • in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence(CBRN)
  • in prevention and preparedness
  • in risk assessment

Experts should come from operational or scientific institutions, such as

  • Governmental departments
  • Emergency Services (professional or volunteer)
  • Scientific Institutes having a recognised role in civil protection.

  1.4. Important considerations

  • Equal opportunities will be given to men and women. The Programme explicitly encourages the participation of female experts.
  • Experts applying to the Programme should be able to converse in English and/or the language of the host nation to ensure smooth communication[5].


  • Each candidate for an exchange is required to individually complete the online application form on the website: 
  • The application should contain a clear and focused motivation statement. The motivation statement should include a list of the subject areas which are to be covered during the exchange.  
  • The expected results and the benefit for the host organisation have to be defined.
  • The application should include a proposal for further steps which will be carried out at the national level to distribute/publicise the knowledge and experience gained in the exchange.
  • Upon submitting the application you will receive on your email the application in PDF format: the application must be approved by the expert’s National Training Coordinator (NTC). Please refer to the list of NTCs available at
  • Before submitting the application you will be requested to confirm that all the details completed in the form are correct, to agree with the conditions from the programme guidelines, to confirm holding the appropriate language skills and to give your consent for the processing your personal data as explained in the programme privacy statement.
  • The Programme Team will assist, if necessary, in selecting a host organisation for the expert and /or assist a host organisation in selecting experts. 
  • Upon receiving the NTC-approved application you will receive credentials to login into your e-application to further provide personal data for the purpose of the exchange logistical arrangements (accommodation and travel arrangements).
  • You will use the same credentials to access the evaluation and field report form upon completion of the exchange.


Upon receiving the NTC-approved application, the Programme Team will review the candidate’s request for an exchange. The exchange comes under consideration when an organisation has consented to host the candidate(s). In cooperation, the host organisation and expert(s) develop an agenda and a suitable timeframe for the exchange. The Programme Team will refer the proposal, consisting of the NTC-approved application(s) and the draft agenda to the European Commission for review and approval. 

Upon receipt of the approval of the European Commission, the Programme Team will notify all parties, and begin the logistical organisation of the actual exchange. 

According to the Programme rules, from the date of receipt of the completed application form, the Programme team has 6 months to arrange the exchange, but not earlier than 2 months from receiving the approval from the European Commission.

Please note: An exchange can only be initiated with the approval of the European Commission.

Experts are responsible for obtaining the consent of their employer / employing organisation / institution for participation in the exchange.

The candidates will be given information about: 

  • The Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and the role of the Exchange of Experts programme within the UCPM and additional information pertaining to EU Training Courses
  • Responsibilities and requirements of the exchange (documentation, financial matters etc.) 


4.1. Travel arrangements

All travel documents such as flight tickets, train tickets and information relevant to the exchange will be sent out in a timely manner prior to the exchange.

Outward/Return Journey

  • The Programme Team will reserve and purchase the necessary airline tickets and/or train tickets. 


  • The Programme Team will select, book and procure the necessary accommodations for the duration of the exchange[6].

4.2. Unforeseen events and cancellations If an expert should be prevented from attending an organised exchange, it is the responsibility of the expert to:

  • Inform the Programme Team immediately by phone or email.
  • Contact the airline if the initial flight, or any part of the flight schedule, will be missed.
  • Inform the contracted hotel.
  • Written justification for each cancellation (a supervisor’s statement/a physician’s certificate) is mandatory and has to be sent to the Programme Team who forwards it to the European Commission for review. 
  • Subject to time and budget restraints, the expert’s sending institution/organisation will undertake to pro-vide a substitute, in order to ensure that the exchange will take place. 
  • The substitute expert will be required to complete the online application form and secure the NTC’s official approval.

Please note: In cases of unaccountable absence or inadequate justification, the Exchange of Experts Programme reserves the right to invoice the expert or the expert’s organisation for unrecoverable expenses made on behalf of the cancelling expert.




Experts are required to complete an evaluation form during the exchange. The evaluation must be completed by the expert using the Expert Evaluation Form on the website within one week after the completion of the exchange. The evaluation is a prerequisite for the issuance of a certificate and will be used as a basis for quality assessment of the exchange. 

Attendance List


As proof of involvement in an exchange, the host organisation will maintain a list of participants. The Attendance List must be filled in during the exchange and signed by all exchanged experts and the host organisation. The host organisation must send the list of participants to the Programme Team within one week after the end of the exchange.

Field Reports

The Exchange of Experts requires participants in the programme to prepare a report within 30 days after the exchange is completed. This report should describe the activities under-taken, the lessons learned, the results achieved and benefits of the exchange. 


of  Participation


Upon the successful completion of the programme, the experts and host organisations will receive a certificate of participation in the Exchange of Experts Programme. A certificate will be issued when all relevant exchange documents (attendance list, evaluation form, field report, etc.) have been submitted to and validated by the Programme Team. The certificate will be sent in copy to the NTC.



The Exchange of Experts in civil protection programme is funded by the European Commission. The applicable travel and accommodation expenses will be funded through the project budget according to EU regulations.


  • Experts participating in the programme are responsible for their own safety and insurance coverage (e.g. health insurance, accident insurance, liability insurance). The CN APELL-RO shall be liable only in the event of damages arising from wilful misconduct or gross negligence caused by its’ members (Members defined as Programme team employees) actions. Damage to life, limb and health remain subject to the statutory provisions governing liability. 
  • If a privately-owned motor vehicle or rental car is used in the course of an exchange, neither the European Commission nor the CN APELL-RO will be held liable for damages to vehicle, driver or third parties.  
  • In instanceswhereby a privately-owned motor vehicle or rental vehicle is used, the driver/owner must be in possession of a valid driver licence and insurance policy that covers all liability under civil law.


[1] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence)

[2] This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

[3] At present, Experts from eligible third countries are only exchanged to host organisations in Participating States.

[4] For applications from non-UCPM states please contact the Programme Team for further information.

[5] An interpreter may be provided if necessary for the successful completion of the exchange.

[6] This will generally be a standard single room with breakfast. Whenever possible, a half-board arrangement (breakfast and dinner) will be made in the lodgings in which the expert is staying.