Natural and manmade hazards are associated with serious dangers and emergency situations in the cross-border area of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Powerful tools and processes are needed, to facilitate the optimal management of such events by the responsible local entities, as well as to enhance cooperation mechanisms in both countries. DECIDE aims to reinforce the efficiency and the managerial abilities of local authorities for civil protection in the effective response to natural and manmade disasters. This will be achieved through the design and development of an Intelligent Decision Support System (DECIDE iDSS). The iDSS will be able to handle a variety of natural and manmade disasters, aiming at achieving maximum effectiveness in taking managerial, organizational and operational decisions and actions. Municipalities will be the main territorial actors while development and innovation institutes will provide the scientific and social dimensions needed to have an integrated and balanced approach. One municipality and one research and innovation institute form the solid basis for a cooperative model that can be expanded to the whole Greece - former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cross-border area. DECIDE will combine local knowledge with scientific tools and proven but low cost technological solutions and active involvement of all local and regional stakeholders together with focused education and training activities. Optimum planning and use of available resources in times of economic scarcity will not put at risk socially and economically sensitive areas. The main activities include the assessment of user needs and requirements, the design, the development, the testing and the operational installation of the DECIDE iDSS, coupled with educational and training activities. Significant improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of civil protection systems in protecting natural and cultural heritage is expected. The added value of DECIDE is the acknowledgement of civil protection activities as the "insurance" of development efforts, underlining its vital role in protecting the environment, human lives and critical infrastructures. DECIDE aims to achieve local and regional consensus on the priorities, the means and resources for improved emergency management operations in case of disasters. The project follows both top-down and bottom-up social, economic and policy making processes leading to optimum results that will be regularly updated. Moreover, DECIDE will enable local societies to express their concerns, to provide local knowledge and receive education and training.
The main objectives of DECIDE are:
- Reinforcing the local authorities’ capabilities to effectively and efficiently coordinate not only the prevention process but also the response to natural and manmade disasters, using state-of-the-art technology in the most innovative way.
- Strengthening the capabilities of local societies, in order to act immediately and effectively during the first critical hours after the appearance of a danger, so as to avoid its turning to a disaster. Towards this direction, all local data, knowledge and entities that can contribute to avoiding the disaster will be exploited (public authorities, non–governmental and voluntary organizations, private companies, media, etc).
- Achieving active participation of both the local authorities and the local societies’ members into the process of planning and response of disasters through the optimization of the information and training of related entities and citizens.
- Contributing to the economic and social development of local societies in the most reliable, effective and affordable way. This will be achieved through the creation of synergies, multiplying actions and benefits derived from the use of state-of-the-art technologies and the assimilation of both national and international experience in the field of civil protection.
The outputs of the DECIDE project will include a series of technical and policy reports, studies, an operational, open-source Intelligent Decision Support System, training seminars and workshops, as well as dissemination activities and promotional materials. The core technical deliverables of DECIDE will include User Needs reports related to civil protection structures in Greece, best practices reports related to decision support systems for emergency and disaster management, policy reports related to the integration of innovative decision support systems at regional level, requirements and detailed architecture of the proposed Intelligent Decision Support System and guidelines for its use and operation. Furthermore, training activities will include educational seminars with respective training and information materials, accompanied by an e-learning platform for distant users. For disseminating the DECIDE project outputs and results, a series of targeted workshops and a final event will be organized. The dissemination strategy of DECIDE will ensure the transfer of know-how and experience among the partners but also to other interested parties (municipalities and other relevant authorities).
The envisioned results of DECIDE are:
- Viability of project’s outputs after the end of the project
- Increased awareness through focused and general informational activities.
- Incorporation of user needs mapping, technologies and benchmarking methodologies into the regional and municipal entities’ plans for civil protection, leading to optimized use of available resources and better planning.
- Improved planning, preparedness and management of emergencies through the use of the DECIDE Intelligent Decision Support System,
- Improved training for all related entities’’ personnel, utilizing the DECIDE e-learning platform, leading to better preparation, increased experience and cooperation.
- Improved emergency management plans and procedures due to simulation exercises and training activities results.
- Improved planning for safer local and regional societies
- Conformity to the legislative setting regarding the protection of the environment and the response to emergency situations.