In light of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic that affects all of us, the INSARAG network will have to jointly adopt a high degree of flexibility in order to adapt to this evolutive situation. Implementing a flexible approach in facing modern humanitarian crises, as discussed during the INSARAG 2020 Steering Group meeting, would enable the network to continue providing high quality assistance in emergency preparedness and response, to the people we serve.

This year’s INSARAG Steering Group meeting took place in Geneva on 6 February 2020 during the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW), which constitutes a unique platform for humanitarian stakeholders to discuss common challenges in emergency preparedness and response, and to identify sustainable solutions. This meeting represents undoubtedly an integral part of HNPW especially as INSARAG embodies the spirit of international cooperation. More information is available at

Although the INSARAG Steering Group meets annually, this year’s meeting was particularly important since 2020 marks the celebration of INSARAG’s 30 years of life-saving assistance. In preparation for the third INSARAG Global Meeting in Warsaw in October 2020, the Steering Group meeting was an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and on lessons learned. At the Global Meeting, the network will endorse the Warsaw Declaration. Members States are invited to contribute to the Warsaw Declaration by 31 July 2020, which will then be translated into the INSARAG Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

Furthermore, the Steering Group meeting provided a dedicated space for the network to discuss a strengthened localisation through the National Accreditation Process. To achieve this, a National Accreditation Working Group will be formed. Furthermore, the potential adaptation towards a more agile and flexible response to stay fit for purpose, a need especially relevant in those uncertain times marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, was discussed. The new version of the INSARAG Guidelines has also been endorsed and will be effective as of 1 January 2021. Finally, the Steering Group has agreed on the revision of the Earthquake Response Exercise package. All Regional Chairs are urged to discuss these topics at the regional level, and report back their recommendations and suggestions to Warsaw. The Chairman’s summary can be found here.

I would like to thank the Steering Group, including Regional and Working Group Chairs and members, as well as all participants involved, for the enriching discussions and resolute decision making. Your contributions, dedication and unwavering commitment improve and nurture the network, ensuring the constant adaptation of the INSARAG quality standards and practices.

I would like to conclude by congratulating and offering the best wishes for the INSARAG 30th anniversary and the third Global Meeting, and by hoping that you will all stay safe.


Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Global Chair INSARAG Secretariat