Follow-the-sun protocol

Follow-the-sun is a method of interdependent working in which responsibility for global emergency communications coordination passes between CI Secretariat, CARE USA, and CARE Australia according to working hours in different time zones. From 09:00-18:00 Central European Time, CI Secretariat communications is responsible for global emergency communications coordination; when responsibility transfers to the Media Advisor at CARE Australia or the Director of Communications at CARE USA under the follow-the-sun protocol, they will then be referred to as the ‘Office-in-Charge for Global Emergency Communications Coordination’.

The Office-in-Charge will fulfil the duties of CI Secretariat communications, including coordinating emergency communications activities, producing and sharing communications materials, and providing communications support to the CO.  Click here for the COMWG contact list. At the end of their ‘shift’, the outgoing Office-in Charge will provide any necessary handover information via e-mail or phone to the incoming Office-in-Charge. The Follow-the-Sun protocol applies seven days a week. NOTE: CI Secretariat communications retains the authority at all times to intervene if needed or mediate any differences of opinion regarding communications coordination in emergencies.


Time (Central European Time) Office-in-charge for Global Emergency Communications Coordination
9:00-18:00 CI Secretariat – Geneva/London
18:00-00:00 USA – Washington DC/New York
00:00-09:00 Australia – Melbourne

Example of follow-the-sun in practice: If an earthquake hits the Philippines (where CARE USA is the Lead Member) at 05:00 Central European Time (23:00 New York time, and 13:00 Melbourne time), it is the responsibility of the CARE Australia media team as the Office-in-Charge for Global Emergency Communications Coordination to coordinate emergency communications and produce communications materials on behalf of the confederation, until CI Secretariat communications takes over communications coordination at 09:00 CET. At 18:00 CET, CI Secretariat passes the role of Office-in-Charge to CARE USA. Note: when the Office-in-Charge is not the Lead Member, they will offer support LM as per the roles and responsibilities of CI Secretariat communications.

NOTE: If it is a large disaster with high casualty rates, and/or high media interest and/or extensive damage, the first office to hear of the disaster is to call CI Secretariat communications OR the CI Humanitarian Director/HEO immediately, regardless of the time.