22 Nov 2022
Scientific and ethics advisors find Europe needs better, more strategic crisis management
The EU Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) and the European Group on Ethics in Science and new Technologies (EGE) have jointly presented an evidence review report to to Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management. The report includes an evidence review report, policy recommendations, and a detailed ethics statement. According to this report, the EU needs to improve how it prepares for, and responds to, crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Evidence Review report stresses that crises are changing in nature, transcending borders and sectors, and having cascading and overlapping consequences on society, the economy and the environment. They aggravate inequalities and disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged. Therefore the EU must reconsider traditional – often sectoral – approaches to risk and crisis management.
Based on this scientific evidence, the Chief Scientific Advisors passed over to the European Commission the following recommendations:
- The EU should plan and prepare for crises over the full timeline, from preparedness to response and recovery. Synergies between crisis mitigation measures should be considered.
- The EU should strengthen synergies between European institutions as well as between European institutions and member states; the Emergency Response and Coordination Centre (ERCC) could play a larger role in facilitating the exchange of information and needs.
- To strengthen the EU’s resilience, the Advisors urge for more scalable, fast-deployable and efficient EU financial mechanisms.
- Decision-makers at all levels should also work closely with civil society and the private sector.
According to the European Group on Ethics, values play an essential role in how crises are perceived and addressed because they determine the framing of the problems that crisis management is expected to solve and how the tools for doing so are chosen.
On this basis, the group formulated recommendations for policy makers and other stakeholders, which include, among others:
- Solidarity should be a guiding principle for strategic crisis management and solidaristic institutions should be strengthened at all levels.
- Human dignity and solidarity should guide the allocation of scarce resources, also to avoid undue discrimination and ensure special consideration of disadvantaged people.
- Governments have a duty to combat poverty and inequities, multipliers of the impact of crises.
- The values upon which the decisions and recommendations of government agencies are based must be made clear and open to public scrutiny and appeal.
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