Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider priorities for recovery and renewal
Planning for recovery
Implementing recovery

The European Union recently set out Europe's priorities for recovery, which aim to create a "greener, more digital and more resilient Europe". The latest budget will focus on:

  • "Research and innovation, via Horizon Europe;
  • Fair climate and digital transitions, via the Just Transition Fund and the Digital Europe Programme;
  • Preparedness, recovery and resilience, via the Recovery and Resilience Facility, rescEu, and a new health programme, EU4Health;
  • Modernising traditional policies such as cohesion and the common agricultural policy, to maximise their contribution to the Union's priorities;
  • Fight climate change, with 30% of the EU funds;
  • Biodiversity protection and gender equality"

France recently set out the key measures within their recovery plan, complementing the priorities set out by the European Union. France is investing largely in:

  • Accelerating the greening of the economy, with investments in "energy performance renovations for buildings, in "green infrastructure" and mobility, to reduce the carbon-intensity of manufacturing processes, and in the development of new green technologies" (hydrogen, biofuels, recycling)
  • Economic resilience through "reductions in production taxes, the provision of support for equity capital funding for business, investment in industrial innovation and support for exports"
  • A focus on financial support and digital transformation of voluntary sector enterprises and small-medium enterprises
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Consider how to communicate with migrants and refugees about migration policies and re-settlement/community integration policies during COVID-19
Strategic communications

Due to lockdown measures and temporary breaks to in-person public service provision, communicating specific information to migrants and refugees on their rights and obligations has been challenging. This includes communications on re-settlement programmes to support their integration into communities (see TMB Issue 29 for guidance on national resettlement programmes). Some countries have introduced temporary policy changes and targeted communication of such changes is crucial so that migrants are aware of the essential services that are available to them during the pandemic, e.g. Spain suspended the obligation to have valid documents in order to access essential public services such as healthcare and vaccination. National information strategies can be complemented locally by reaching out directly to migrants living in communities. Consider:

  • Identify and establish contact with the leaders of refugee and migrant groups to communicate important messages
  • Collaborate with migration support services, NGOs and local volunteers to develop a targeted online communications platform for migrants and refugees, e.g. “Migration Information Hub”, Leeds City Council, UK
    • Use the platform to inform migrants about COVID-19 related issues and guidelines; access to health care, food, housing, work rights, visa status, signpost immigration services and detail any changes to policy measures
    • Ensure alternative communication strategies are explored, such as information leaflets through migrations support services reach those who do not have access to the internet
    • Provide information on how victims of discrimination can get help and support
  • Collect further data and information on reaching specific groups through consultation with the relevant communities, to improve future preparedness for crisis communication with migrants and their families
  • Ensure easy access to information by translating key material into the languages of migrant communities:
    • Recruit translation volunteers to support the translation of information and development of multilingual media for the platform, e.g. YouTube videos
  • Organise free workshops for migrants and refugees via Zoom, e.g. ‘How to access health services’, to inform on free services, including mental health facilities
  • Develop and deliver targeted communication strategies to influence communities’ perceptions of migrants, working with local community leaders and groups, and organisations that support and advocate for migrants:
    • Tackle and counter misinformation online to prevent prejudice against migrants and mitigate the negative impact of the health crisis on immigrant integration
    • Set up a social media campaign that directly addresses the prevention of discrimination and spread of misinformation, e.g. “Somos Panas", Columbia
  • Invite the public to help counter the spread of misinformation by sharing fact-based information with their own communities
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Consider how to plan and manage repatriations during COVID-19
Crisis planning

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in countries closing their borders at short notice, and the suspension or severe curtailing of transport. These measures have implications for those who are not in their country of residence including those working, temporarily living, or holidaying abroad. At the time of the first outbreak, over 200,000 EU citizens were estimated to be stranded outside of the EU, and faced difficulties returning home[1].

As travel restrictions for work and holidays ease amidst the ongoing pandemic, but as the possibility of overnight changes to such easements, there is an increased need to consider how repatriations may be managed. This includes COVID-safe travel arrangements for returning citizens, the safety of staff, and the effective test and trace of those returning home. Facilitating the swift and safe repatriation of people via evacuation flights or ground transport requires multiple state and non-state actors. Significant attention has been given to the amazing efforts of commercial and chartered flights in repatriating citizens, but less focus has been paid to the important role that emergency services can play in supporting repatriation efforts.

In the US, air ambulance teams were deployed to support 39 flights, repatriating over 2,000 individuals. Air ambulance teams were able to supplement flights and reduced over reliance on commercial flights for repatriations (a critique of the UK response[2]). This required monumental effort from emergency service providers. After medical screening or treatment at specific facilities, emergency services (such as police) helped to escort people to their homes to ensure they had accurate public health information and that they understood they should self-isolate.

Authorities should consider how to work with emergency services to develop plans for COVID-19 travel scenarios, to better understand how to capitalise on and protect the capacity and resources of emergency services. Consider how to:

  • Develop emergency plans that include a host of emergency service personnel who have technical expertise, and know their communities. Plans should[3]:
    • Be trained and practiced
    • Regularly incorporate best practices gained from previous lessons learned
  • Build capacity in emergency services to support COVID-19 operations through increased staffing and resources
  • Anticipate and plan for adequate rest periods for emergency service staff before they go back on call during an emergency period
  • Protect emergency service staff. Pay special attention to safe removal and disposal of PPE to avoid contamination, including use of a trained observer[4] / “spotter”[5] who:
    • is vigilant in spotting defects in equipment;
    • is proactive in identifying upcoming risks;
    • follows the provided checklist, but focuses on the big picture;
    • is informative, supportive and well-paced in issuing instructions or advice;
    • always practices hand hygiene immediately after providing assistance

Consideration can also be given to what happens to repatriated citizens when they arrive in their country of origin. In Victoria (Australia), research determined that 99% of COVID-19 cases since the end of May could be traced to two hotels housing returning travellers in quarantine[6]. Lesson learnt from this case suggest the need to:

  • Ensure clear and appropriate advice for any personnel involved in repatriation and subsequent quarantine of citizens
  • Ensure training modules for personnel specifically relates to issues of repatriation and subsequent quarantine and is not generalised. Ensure training materials are overseen by experts and are up-to-date
  • Strategically use law enforcement (and army personnel) to provide assistance to a locale when mandatory quarantine is required
  • Be aware that some citizens being asked to quarantine may have competing priorities such as the need to provide financially.
  • Consider how to understand these needs and provide localised assistance to ensure quarantine is not broken








To read this case study in its original format follow the source link below to TMB Issue 21 (p.20-21)

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