The Crisis and Support Centre, ten years of emergency diplomacy

Since it was created in 2008, the Crisis and Support Centre has seen its role evolve and has adapted its organization to address diverse security, climate, humanitarian, political and health crises.

Its work goes well beyond the times of the crises themselves, starting well in advance and finishing well after they occur.

An evolving structure

The Crisis and Support Centre was created in 2008 at the instigation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. He was acting on the need to create a permanent structure to deal with crises and to limit response time.

In just a few years, this structure has proved to be useful and effective. Earthquakes in Haiti, Japan and Nepal, aircraft tragedies, terrorist attacks on Bombay and Ouagadougou: every situation calls for an adapted response. Initially devoted to providing humanitarian aid and assistance to French people in trouble and to their families and loved ones, the Crisis and Support Centre also anticipates crises. In 2014, it expanded its role to include stabilization and support in post-crisis situations.

Since November 2015, it has also been in charge of the Interministerial Support Unit for Victims (CIAV), which is activated in the event of a terrorist attack on French territory

Mobilizing and coordinating

The action of the Crisis and Support Centre goes well beyond helping French people in trouble abroad.

A crisis does not discriminate and all victims should be saved. The Crisis and Support Centre therefore provides all types of assistance within the same structure. When a crisis breaks out, an aircraft delivering emergency and humanitarian aid to local populations may return to Paris with French nationals on-board who need to be sent back home.

The Crisis and Support Centre harnesses the efforts of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and its partners, other ministries and private institutions to respond effectively to disasters and crises, and minimize their impacts.

An organization able to handle crises

The Crisis and Support Centre is made up of several departments and units:

  • The Preparedness and Partnerships Department develops forecasting tools to anticipate crises and support French expertise where crises are happening;
  • The Situation Department constantly monitors events abroad, analyses threats and risks, and plans how to address crises in liaison with diplomatic posts;
  • The Emergency Operations Department coordinates the crisis response structures: the crisis centre, hotlines and field missions;
  • The Individual Cases Unit deals with families and loved ones of victims of violent death and disappearances of concern abroad;
  • The Humanitarian Action Department coordinates the French government’s emergency humanitarian response and relations with the different partners including NGOs, international organizations and foundations;

The Stabilization Department is in charge of rebuilding the rule of law and supporting civil society in post-crisis countries.

Ten years of commitment

For those who have witnessed or helped in the creation and evolution of the Crisis and Support Centre, these past ten years have above all been a truly human adventure.

Role, priorities, participants…Discover the interactive documentary The Crisis and Support Centre, a Decade of Commitment (in French) through videos, maps and photos.

Last updated on: 6 August 2018