Telecom Lead America: Cisco has formed an agreement with United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to allow any United Nations (UN) organization to access Cisco’s networking technology solutions for emergency communications assistance during UN disaster relief missions.
Under the joint Memorandum of Understanding, the two organizations have agreed to collaborate in terms of crisis preparedness, disaster response and technical coordination. The agreement allows both organizations to work together to better respond in disaster situations.
Cisco has signed similar partnerships with a number of nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like American Red Cross, NetHope, Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps and more where it provides resources and services that enhance each organization’s mission capabilities.
Cisco and OCHA will continue to work towards developing a long-term agreement to expand collaboration for additional disaster response areas.
Cisco, through its Tactical Operations (TacOps) Team, which has a disaster response focus and expertise, has developed specific solutions to provide emergency communications in disaster areas.
Cisco has also become an official member of the United Nation’s Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET) and will continue to participate in the biannual plenary sessions, which are used to discuss emergency communications standards and disaster preparedness, as well as to develop response and preparation plans for emergency situations.
Cisco has been at the forefront of offering humanitarian relief in response to a number of crises throughout the world including after earthquakes struck Japan in 2011, and Haiti in 2010, as well as after Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the Southeastern United States in 2005.
“Cisco has a long standing, demonstrated commitment to providing assistance during global and national crises,” said John Stewart, chief security officer and senior vice president, Cisco Global Government Solutions Group. “ Our agreement today ensures UN first and second responders have expedited access to the technology and the Cisco expertise they need during urgent situations such as humanitarian crises and natural and other disasters around the world.”
Chérif Ghaly, chief of the Technical Coordination and Partnerships Unit (TCPU), UN OCHA, said, “Reliable networks, connectivity and interoperability are critical components in any emergency telecommunications infrastructure. Cisco’s leadership in this domain brings a lot of value to the humanitarian relief efforts. In addition, over the past 10 years, Cisco has built very solid emergency response expertise capable of deploying very rapidly to almost any disaster affected zone.”