B-FAST from Belgium is a new member of IHP

Published: 26 October 2018 

IHP bi-annual meeting decided that B-FAST from Belgium is a new member of IHP

The atmosphere was informal and positive and a number of topics were discussed and decided on. Most importantly, all IHP members and B-FAST Belgium agreed that B-FAST now is a new member of IHP.

Each IHP member and IHP partners have focal points to cover the IHP portfolio. These focal points meet every spring and autumn. The latest meeting was held on 15 – 17 October. THW and DFID from IHP were not able to attend. The attending partners were OCHA, WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM, ECHO and MapAction. The meeting was hosted by the Government of Luxembourg through CGDIS.

Some of the topics were as follows: should the Belgian organization B-FAST finally become the ninth member of IHP; the status of Exercise TRIPLEX 2019; fine tuning IHP’s procedures and SOP:s; updating IHP’s branding materials including the IHP website; training coordination; and a new internal  information platform based on the Virtual OSOCC.

B-FAST has had an observer status in IHP for some time and it was decided that this Focal Point meeting would decide the B-FAST membership. All IHP members agreed to this new membership. Therefore, and since B-FAST still wished to be a member of IHP, they are now the ninth member of IHP. Congratulations to B-FAST and IHP!

Exercise TRIPLEX 2019 has been in the planning phase since last winter. For a number of different but crucial reasons the planning has been on standby since mid-July this year. Already at the time of the Focal Point meeting precious time had elapsed, which has resulted in that necessary time and resources for planning an exercise of this nature were too few. Furthermore, the planning would not be able to start again before at the earliest some time in November 2018. Therefore, it was decided that the next TRIPLEX exercise should be postponed until 2020. All parties involved in TRIPLEX will receive formal information directly from the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB), lead IHP member of TRIPLEX 2020.

Training in IHP happens through national level training, IHP specific courses, and attending partner organisations’ courses, especially ECHO and the UN. Many of IHP’s courses and IHP’s connection to other courses have been carried out for a number of years without too much updating and coordination. It was agreed to address this through the use of each IHP member’s current Training Focal Points. The IHP Chairman will join these focal points into a Training Network and have an annual meeting with them to streamline and update IHP courses and IHP’s use of courses. This will start in January 2019.

The Focal Point meeting in Luxembourg had invited the Swedish company Better Shelter to show their shelter concept which they have developed in a private-public cooperation between Better Shelter, MSB, UNHCR and IKEA. The shelter is 17½ m2 with hard panels on the sides and roof attached to a steel framework. They can be set up next to each other to enable a larger space (e.g. for meeting rooms). These shelters take about four hours to set up but last for three to five years. This could be a shelter solution some IHP members could use for operational solutions like coordination centres, base camps etc. but will need testing. The shelter can be partly seen behind the meeting participants in the picture above.

The meeting ended at lunch on Wednesday 17 October. The next IHP Focal Point meeting will take place in Belgium in the first week of April 2019.

Flemming Nielsen

IHP Chair (DEMA)