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The APELL programme improves the community level emergency preparedness efforts, and supports governments and communities initiatives, in particular in developing countries, to minimize the occurrence and harmful effects of technological hazards and environmental emergencies.
Since 1988, the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) has been leading the Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level (APELL) programme, initiated in response to a number of chemical accidents that resulted in deaths and injuries, environmental damage, and extensive economic impacts in the surrounding communities.
The objectives of APELL are to:
- Identify and create awareness of hazards and risks
- Initiate measures for risk reduction, accident prevention and mitigation
- Develop coordinated preparedness among the local industry, authorities and community
Within the context of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), UN Environment developed the Second Edition of the APELL Handbook launched in 2015. This new edition highlights the importance of an integrated multi-hazard approach at local level, and emphases the importance of multi-stakeholder and all-of-society engagement.
The APELL methodology is contained in a structured 5 phases and 10-elements process and is aimed at creating a cohesive and resilient community to technological or natural hazards through raising awareness and agreement on roles and responsibilities of all community stakeholders to develop measures for preparedness and emergency response.
At the heart of the APELL process is the Coordinating Group, which as the management team nurtures and implements the APELL process in the community. The Coordinating Group brings together various stakeholders in the community including decision-makers from local authorities, industries and private sector, response organisations, and representatives from the civil society.
APELL has been introduced in more than 30 countries, resulting in long-standing local level partnerships and has led to successful multi-stakeholder preparedness efforts. Specific guidance materials have been prepared for the chemical, mining, transport and tourism sectors, for port areas and storage facilities, which have been applied in communities worldwide.
The APELL Methodology
The APELL Process aims at creating a cohesive and resilient community in the face of technological or natural hazards through raising awareness and agreement on roles and responsibilities of all community stakeholders in potential preparedness and response measures. This is achieved by assisting decision-makers and technical personnel to increase community awareness and to prepare coordinated response plans involving industry, government, and the local community, in the event that unexpected events should endanger life, property or the environment. As a result, APELL helps to save lives and minimize adverse impacts resulting from technological hazards and environmental emergencies.
The APELL Process requires coordination, cooperation and strong broad involvement by all the sectors of the community, with a a continuous process of discussion and decision-making to identify gaps and measures to improve them. At the heart of the APELL Process is the Coordinating Group, as the management team that nurtures and implements APELL in the community. The Coordinating Group brings together various stakeholders in the community including decision-makers from local authorities, industries and private sector, response organisations, and representatives from the civil society.
The specific goals of the implementation of the APELL Process are to:
- Provide information to the concerned members of the community on the hazards involved in industrial operations in its neighbourhood, and the measures taken to reduce these risks
- Review, update, or establish emergency response plans in local areas
- Increase local industry involvement in community awareness and emergency response planning
- Integrate industry emergency plans with local emergency response plans into one overall plan for the community to handle all types of emergencies
- Involve members of the local community in the development, testing and implementation of the overall emergency response plan.
With a conceptual format, the APELL Methodology is structured into five (5) phases and a 10-Elements process.
- At first, the APELL process seeks to raise and improve the awareness of all community members to local hazards
- Secondly, the capabilities of the community to respond and prepare are assessed and matched to the identified hazards and related risks
- It is then that APELL focuses on how the gaps are addressed by the community, creating a cycle of continuous improvements.
The 10-Elements APELL Process is illustrated below:
The APELL programme was developed and is implemented in full cooperation with other partners in industry, NGOs, governments and other international organizations worldwide.
In particular, the APELL programme has been directly supported throughout the years by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), which represents numerous national associations, including those of large international corporations and of the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA; as well as international organizations including OECD and the Commission of the European Communities.
Partners in the programme development and implementation amongst others are:
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Section (OCHA), Environmental Emergencies Section
- Environmental Emergencies Centre
Inter-governmental organisations and initiatives
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
- International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Economic Commission of Europe (ECE)
- OECD Working Group on Chemical Accidents
- International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA)
- European Council of Chemical Manufacturers' Federations (CEFIC)
- International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME)
- American Chemistry Council (ACC - former CMA)
- Canadian Chemical Producers' Association (CCPA)
- Large international corporations including Bayer AG, Dow Chemical, Shell, Nalco, OxyChem, Du Pont and Rhone-Poulenc
- National Safety Council of India
- Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (Bangkok)
- Tsinghua University
- Bahia Blanca University
- Green Cross International
Countries and regional organisations:
France, Norway, Sweden, USA, European Commission, Nordic Council
For more information please contact:
Sandra Averous-Monnery (Ms)
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 37 42 82
Beatriz Fernandez (Ms)
Tel: +33 1 44 37 42 97
United Nations Environment Programme
Resources and Markets Branch
1 rue Miollis
75015 Paris, France