Crisis management planning

Berlin, Germany

The Berlin Senate Department for Health, Care and Gender Equality ("Senatsverwaltung für Gesundheit, Pflege und Gleichstellung") has developed a model for standardised operational planning for crisis management.

Managing crisis scenarios requires a high degree of coordination and decision-making, as well as cooperation between many stakeholders. These include, but are not limited to, public health department and hospitals, emergency services, law enforcement agencies, politicians, community leaders, NGOs, and the media. Operational crisis management plans should support relevant institutions and organisations in taking the necessary steps to contain and successfully manage emergencies. In 2012, the Berlin Senate Department for Health, Care and Gender Equality introduced a standardized model for operational crisis management planning – one that can be transferred to various crisis scenarios.

Originally published by the International Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Development CONNECTIVE CITIES: 


City information

Size and population development
3.670.000 (December 31, 2016)

Population composition
12,6% non-German, the majority come from (in order) Turkey, Poland, Italy, Serbia and Kosovo, Russia

Main functions
Capital City of Germany and one of the 16 German states

Main industries / business
Service industries, tourism, higher education, creative industries, IT and media

Political structure
The Senate of Berlin is the executive body governing the city of Berlin. The Senate is composed of the Governing Mayor of Berlin and up to ten Senators appointed by the Governing Mayor.

Administrative structure
Berlin is governed by the Senate Government and 12 District Governments.

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Background and objectives

Protecting public health in biological emergencies is one of the most urgent tasks faced by cities today. Primarily, this involves fighting infectious diseases, pandemics and highly contagious, life-threatening illnesses. Infectious diseases that have been virtually or entirely unknown pose a particular challenge for the medical profession and other relevant stakeholders for public health protection. Experts assume the number of such infectious diseases will increase over time. Moreover, countries located geographically close to military crises must be prepared for possible bioterrorist attacks.

Experts from various fields of public health protection agree that the successful management of biological emergencies will be largely dependent on standardised operational planning.

The Berlin Senate Department for Health, Care and Gender Equality has developed a standardised crisis planning model to address these emergences. The objective of this project is to establish the model in other local authorities and federal states of Germany, and to promote its adoption with city governments world-wide. 


The Lead agency for the project is the Berlin Senate Department for Health, Care and Gender Equality. The model for standardized operational planning for crisis management has been discussed and agreed upon by all relevant  stakeholders. The plan is based on five different scenarios for biological emergencies. It distinguishes between individual cases of illness, local epidemics, regional epidemics, pandemics, and so-called suspected hazardous substances.

The plan is supported by the web-based portal DiDaKat: This enables all stakeholders involved in managing a crisis to obtain updated information in real-time, coordinating and maximising their efforts while protecting personal and confidential information.

Results and impacts

The key element of the plan is a set of standardised terms and definitions. The plan was developed by applying a modular basis that ensures it can be transferred to any field of public health protection, regardless of the particular biological emergency. The web-based portal enables the various stake holders to network their plans, and provides them access to a shared pool of data. This can be used by both public authorities (at local, regional and national levels), and other organisations and institutions involved. It also creates the possibility of establishing links in other thematic areas relevant to crisis situations, such as water supply. 

Lessons learned and transferability

Applying standardised terms and definitions to operational planning makes the quality of information more reliable and ensures optimal management of the resources available. The generic structure increases transparency for all stakeholders at local and national level. Subsequently this leads to overall growth in the professional management of acute emergencies, and builds capacities for responding to new challenges. 




External links / documents