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).


Timely, predictable, and effective information and communications technology (ICT) services provided by the ETC support improved:

  • Response and coordination among humanitarian organizations
  • Operational security environment for staff and assets
  • Decision-making through timely access to critical information.

Within 48 hours of a disaster, the ETC provides vital security communications services and voice and internet connectivity to assist the response community in their life-saving operations. Within four weeks, ETC services are expanded for continued emergency relief.

Through its ETC2020 strategy, the cluster is evolving from being primarily a service provider, to broker, facilitator and convenor of technology in emergency response.


The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), in partnership with leading edge technology companies and local telecoms providers, facilitates an environment for emergency response which allows humanitarian responders, citizens and governments to have a seamless, resilient and principled communications experience to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The ETC is a visionary and a leader in convening the humanitarian technology community, and brokering full service communication solutions between private industry, governments, humanitarians, and communities.

The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) is constantly evolving to make innovative and more effective humanitarian assistance possible – this strengthens local communities as first-responders and facilitates delivery of digital aid.

The ETC seeks to ensure that all those responding to humanitarian emergencies - including affected communities - have access to vital communications services. 

ETC Strategic Priorities

The ETC facilitates connectivity services for humanitarian responders, while also expanding the types and recipients of those services. The four strategic priorities are: 

  • Communications as aid to enable communities to access connectivity when they need it most – in times of crisis. 
  • Improved and decentralized response readiness to ensure local people, processes and equipment solutions are ready to activate rapid communications responses to disasters. 
  • Increased communications resilience to disasters to help affected governments safeguard systems and prepare for responses when disasters strike
  • Enhanced communications and energy to enable a wider group of traditional and non-traditional humanitarian responders to save and improve lives.

Meeting Evolving Humanitarian Needs

Communications technology has completely changed the way people live, connect and find information. It is also changing the way people are impacted by, and respond to, emergencies. At the same time, the humanitarian landscape is evolving with more disasters, more complexity and therefore more responders. 

The ETC has therefore become more agile, localized and more connected, reaching more people by becoming an enabler through connectivity. The ETC makes it possible for affected populations and governments to be better connected to better manage their responses to emergencies.