General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies – Spain


Joint-Module with CBRN, Search and Rescue and Assessment Capacities, with 34 staff.


In Spain, Civil Protection, as a fundamental instrument of public security, is a public service in which the organization, the functioning and the implementation is carried out by the different public administrations as well as by many other actors who are involved in the risk management.

The Ministry of Interior is the highest authority in charge of Spanish Civil Protection. The Directorate General of Civil Protection and Emergencies (DGPCE) under the Minister of Interior plays an essential role at state level.

The CP system is based on four key pillars: 1st a comprehensive and actionable legal framework (Law 17/2015 and Decision 1313 on a Union CP Mechanism); 2nd the coordinating bodies at state and regional level, 3rd CP planning and 4th training activities and exercises.

One of the key aspects for the efficacy and cohesion of the NCPS relies on the coordinating bodies which constitute the second pillar of the System. These are: The National CP Counsel and the CP Commissions of ACs.

The Counsel is a collegial organization under the Ministry of Interior that brings together leading representatives of public administrations at all levels. Its main goal is to ensure an effective and adequate coordination in the field of CP between the administrative bodies.

The same approach applies to regional governments. There is a CP Commission composed by representatives of the Autonomous Community government and state and local administrations included in its territory.

Planning is the third pillar of the system. CP Plans are developed to deal with the identified risks by Public Administrations according to the competences in civil protection assigned to them by national law. The State is always responsible for the management of nuclear emergencies and war situations.

The National Civil Protection School (ENPC) is the fourth pillar of the NCPS. It is the training branch of the DGPCE pursuant to Law 17/2015. Moreover, it is a major centre for strategic management that provides specialised training for national and international staff, first responders of CP agencies and volunteers. Each year, the ENPC approves a training plan with an average of 160 courses, 6000 students and 4000 teaching hours.

As far as the organisation and execution of exercises is concerned these are national or international. The aim of the national exercises is to test the plans to cope with the different risks at local, regional and state levels and to practice emergency management and intervention tasks.

With regards to the international exercises, Spain has coordinated 5 major FSE and TTX funded by the European Commission within the UCPM framework since 2012: EURITCHER 2012 (seismic); CURIEX 2013 (nuclear); WESTSUNAMI 2015 (tsunami) and EURIWATEREX 2018 (floods). On the other hand, Spain has participated as partner in other international exercises such as: SEQUANA 2016 (France); EU RITCHERCARAIBES 2017 (Caribe); EUMEFF 2017 (Israel-Jordan); ALSEIMEX 2018 (Algeria).

Currently Spain is partner in the EUCASCADE 2019 (Portugal).

The CP System also includes the emergency response coordination and procedures. If an emergency occurs at local level, the local territorial plan will be activated under the direction of the responsible of the competent body for CP (usually the mayor). Local resources reinforced by other Public Administrations are committed to cope with the situation. This is a level 1 emergency situation.

If the emergency escalates and the local level is unable to tackle with the situation, the Autonomous Community (AC) CP plan (territorial or special) is activated and the emergency management responsibility is taken over by the AC CP Authority.

In the same way, the resources of the AC in addition to reinforcements of other Public Administrations are committed. Most of the emergency situations will be usually managed at this level. This is a level 2 emergency situation.

However, if the situation overcomes the capacity of the AC or competences, in case of nuclear emergency or war situation, or affects other ACs, the Minister of Interior may declare the emergency of National Interest. This decision will be made on his own initiative or on request of the Autonomous Communities or Central Government Delegates.

The DGPCE, on behalf of the Ministry of Interior, and through the Emergency National Centre (CENEM) 24/7, is the Point of Contact of the UCPM and the CECIS operational user. In this framework coordinates with other Central Government bodies and Autonomous Communities their participation in activities of prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

In addition, the National Council of Civil Protection has the role of Spanish Committee for International strategy for Disaster Reduction under the secretariat of the DGPCE.

Thus, the DGPCE is also the focal point for the implementation of the Sendai Framework and works with the National Council to set up the indicators to measure progress in achieving the 7 Global targets. As well the DGPCE is the INSARAG Policy focal point.

Moreover, Spain is member since its creation in July 1996 of the Iberoamerican Association of governmental bodies for civil protection and civil defence.

Finally, Spain has signed bilateral agreements on civil protection assistance and cooperation with:  Algeria; France; Morocco; Russia; Portugal and Tunisia.



Tel.: +34 91 537 31 00

Email Address


Tel.: +34 91 537 31 00

Email Address

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