About the ETC

The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) is a global network of organizations that work together to provide shared communications services in humanitarian emergencies. The ETC is one of the 11 clusters designated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

The ETC Vision

A world where safe and local access to reliable communications is always available.

Building on the ETC2020 strategy vision, ETC2025 aims to consolidate the ETC’s work in emergency preparedness and response, as well as help empower communities and further adapt the cluster’s core services to today’s realities.

The ETC2025 Pillars

ETC strategic pillar 1. Emergency response

Ensure personnel, processes and technology solutions are ready to deploy and provide communication services, as well as support local response capacities to deliver coordination and operational services in humanitarian crises.

Being ready to deploy when every moment counts, is a cornerstone of the ETC.

Building on years of real-world experience across a range of humanitarian scenarios, the ETC has the capacity and proven track record to support sudden-onset and protracted crises. ETC partners are often the first ones in. They have the right people, equipment, and know-how to rapidly reconnect the humanitarian community during and after emergencies. That’s because ETC responders are trained to work together to provide ETC services under the most challenging conditions. ETC processes cover the entire disaster management cycle, from planning and preparedness to response coordination and recovery.

ETC strategic pillar 2. Regional and country preparedness

Improve the resilience of regional, national and community actors based on best-practice and mainstreaming the preparedness mindset.

Having a concerted and coordinated approach is key to emergency preparedness.

The ETC works alongside regional and national stakeholders before disaster strikes to bolster response capacities and strengthen telecommunications networks. The cluster helps governments, humanitarians and private sector providers improve coordination through engagement workshops, and by developing robust emergency preparedness planning. The ETC works from the ground up to support access to early warning systems, engaging with communities, national disaster management agencies and regional institutions.  

ETC strategic pillar 3. Empowered communities

Enable relevant and localized communication services to empower under-connected communities with the ability to communicate and access information.

Providing local and safe access to communications during emergencies is essential to empowering communities.

The ETC has made it a core priority to help empower communities impacted by natural disasters and conflicts. The cluster enables two-way communication between humanitarians and affected populations. The ETC also supports access to information for vulnerable and under-connected communities during emergencies and recovery phases. As part of its efforts to help close the digital divide, the ETC works to provide accessible and sustainable services that are driven by local needs and realities.  

ETC strategic pillar 4. Innovation and sustainable technology

Facilitate the provision of best-in-class and appropriate technology and solutions to foster a culture of innovation to deliver quality services.

Harnessing the potential of emerging technology is critical to staying at the forefront of humanitarian connectivity.

Behind every ETC service lies the desire to provide the best in-class technical solution. The cluster deploys cutting-edge technology that is field-tested, fit-for-purpose, and adaptable to help ensure ETC services positively impact humanitarians and affected populations. The ETC designs its technology solutions with a local and sustainable mindset to facilitate the transition from emergency response to recovery. The Cluster is also developing data protection protocols and privacy standards aligned with the do no digital harm approach – to provide safe access to ETC communications services.

ETC strategic pillar 5. Strategic partner coordination

Harness an engaged partnership network that provides outstanding coordination and support to enable better service delivery at the local level.

At the heart of the ETC is a network of dedicated partners that work together.

The ETC has built a strong network of partners that hail from United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations, NGOs, government, and the private sector – with a common goal of providing reliable, local and safe access to communications during emergencies. The cluster’s value stems from its highly coordinated partnership approach, from the global level all the way to the ETC operations on the ground. By working and coordinating with local partners, global ETC partners can adapt their response capacity according to the evolving humanitarian context and needs.