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Framework and Terms of Reference

1.         OVERVIEW


1.1       The global Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) environment is changing dramatically due to a number of strategic geo-political, geo-economic and geo-social drivers, including globalisation, rapid technological advance, the information and communications revolutions and the uncertainties caused by global conflict and terrorism.  The threats and hazards to critical infrastructure resilience are becoming increasing complex and trans-national in nature.  State-on-state conflict, terrorism, illicit trafficking, climate change, infectious disease, environmental degradation and infrastructure vulnerabilities brought about by growing interdependencies, have all contributed to an uncertain context in which critical infrastructure resilience is a priority.  However, many of the factors that have brought about these changes in the global critical infrastructure resilience environment have also created new possibilities for understanding and addressing such threats and hazards, including the spread of global expertise on critical infrastructure resilience and expanding possibilities for international collaboration.  All of this has created the opportunity to establish a formal network of international critical infrastructure experts, building on the informal network, which began following the 2011 International CIR workshop in Milan.





2.1       The CIRINT.NET is an international network, initiated and guided by cooperating regional and national governments, with participation from a variety of sectors and disciplines. The purpose for its stakeholder organisations and active participants is to:


  • generate relevant understanding of, and diverse insights into, the future of global critical infrastructure resilience challenges;

  • identify and exchange lead practices on methodologies and organisational approaches for improving critical infrastructure resilience arrangements;

  • facilitate outreach from the CIRINT.NET to global governmental and non-governmental expertise from academia, business and NGOs on a wide range of international critical infrastructure resilience issues; and

  • provide opportunities for professional development on critical infrastructure resilience practice and methodologies.


2.2       These objectives will be attained by means of face-to-face discussions and online forums to enable:


  • sharing openly available information and unclassified understanding and perspectives across traditional sectoral and disciplinary lines;

  • facilitating efforts to engage in horizon scanning and futures-thinking;

  • collaborative learning and research; and

  • exploring innovative methological and organisational approaches for improving critical infrastructure resilience.



2.3       In order to develop different CIR work streams in a meaningful way, a number of interconnected Communities of Interest (COI’s) will be created and fostered in order to fulfil the purpose and aims of the CIRINT.NET.  The CIRINT.NET views itself as a network of communities which are relevant to its stakeholder organisations and active participants.


2.4       The CIRINT.NET is a voluntary association and no enforced commitment or participation is assumed.  The CIRINT.NET does not take collective positions on any issue but rather seeks to elevate the level of understanding of these issues through dialogue, research, and the gathering of diverse points of view.  As a community concerned with critical infrastructure resilience issues, broadly conceived, the CIRINT.NET seeks to avoid making policy recommendations, focussing instead on dispassionate discussion and analysis of the forces shaping critical infrastructure resilience strategy, policy and delivery and their future evolution.  The CIRINT.NET will endeavour at all times to keep these discussions at an unclassified level in order to facilitate open dialogue across the network.



3          MEMBERSHIP


3.1       CIRINT.NET Membership and Participation


  • A ‘Member’ is defined as an organisation in the context of the CIRINT.NET.  Membership in the CIRINT.NET is therefore limited to regional, national and supra-national governmental organisations, sector and industry representatives, emergency responder organisations and academic institutions engaged in critical infrastructure resilience – this may include a protective security perspective only, or a natural hazards perspective only, or a combined all risks perspective.  All such organisations regularly seek to monitor, understand, and forecast threats and hazards to regional, national and supra-national critical infrastructure resilience as either their main line of work or as an ancillary function to policy development or operations. 


  • Additional offers of membership will be made in one of two ways.  In the case of countries for which at least one governmental organisation is a member of the CIRINT.NET, it will be the decision of that country’s regional or national government, whether to admit additional organisations as members.  In the case of countries for which there is no CIRINT.NET governmental member, the Executive Board (see 7.1 below) can offer an invitation for membership.


  • All individuals involved in CIRINT.NET activities on behalf of their member organisations are regarded as ‘CIRINT.NET Participants’ and enjoy full membership rights and responsibilities.


3.2       Membership Rights


  • participate in CIRINT.NET governance procedures, subject to the process outlined in 3.3 below;

  • propose new activities and initiatives under the CIRINT.NET, including the possibility to create and chair communities of interest; and

  • receive invitations to CIRINT.NET events for employees with relevant expertise (subject to space availability);

  • receive accounts for the CIRINT.NET web-site issued by the lead organisation in their country (see 4.1 below).

  • to withdraw from membership at any time providing written notification to the CIRINT.NET Coordinator 


3.3       Membership Responsibilities


  • participate actively, regularly, and constructively in CIRINT.NET activities, including encouraging relevant staff officers to engage in CIRINT.NET web-site discussions and exercises, to attend CIRINT.NET events, and to observe CIRINT.NET membership principles; and

  • coordinate CIRINT.NET involvement on a regional, national and supra-national basis.





4.1       In order to streamline CIRINT.NET arrangements, member organisations in a particular country or region will designate one of their number to be the ‘lead organisation’ for that country within the CIRINT.NET and/or form a CIRINT.NET national coordination council.  The lead organisation (or coordination council) will have two major functions, namely to:


  • represent the interests of all members from that country at the General Meeting of the CIRINT.NET (see 7.1 below) or related meetings of CIRINT.NET national representatives; and

  • appoint a working-level CIRINT.NET National Point of Contact (NPC) who can issue web-site accounts (see 6.1 below) and coordinate with the CIRINT.NET Coordinator and the Associate Coordinators (see 7.1 below) and Community of Interest leaders (see 7.2 below) on other administrative matters. This will include organising meetings in that country and identifying and inviting appropriate individuals from that country’s governmental and non-governmental sectors to participate in CIRINT.NET activities.





5.1       To facilitate the successful development of the CIRINT.NET, all members agree to support its operations in accordance with their own means.  For some members, this may mean attending CIRINT.NET events, participating in discussions and contributing to the web-site.  Others may elect to host a one or two-day working session related to a CIRINT.NET Community of Interest, providing some or all of the necessary support, including the venue, experts, meals, etc.  Such events require modest funding, as they usually involve a small number of individuals (between 15-50 as a suggested figure, usually half of whom should be from other countries). In lieu of sponsoring such an event, a country may offer to co-host a CIRINT.NET activity in another country.  There is nothing to prevent members seeking funding or sponsorship through other means in order to achieve CIRINT.NET purposes.  





6.1      All individuals involved in CIRINT.NET activities are ‘CIRINT.NET participants.’  These individuals will have full access to the CIRINT.NET web-site and may be invited to participate in CIRINT.NET Communities of Interest or General Meetings.


  • Participants who work for CIRINT.NET member organisations are designated by their home organisations.

  • Participants from non-member organisations will be admitted into the CIRINT.NET on an invitation-only basis.  Invitations can be offered by National Points of Contact (NPC) or by the CIRINT.NET Coordinator.  Individuals offered participant status should be deemed to be trustworthy and to have expertise relevant to CIRINT.NET areas of interest.  Before issuing participant accounts National Points of Contact (NPC) and the CIRINT.NET Coordinator will liaise and agree this course of action jointly.

  • Participants may also be referred to the CIRINT.NET by registering an application via the CIRINT.NET Website.  In this situation, the CIRINT.NET Coordinator will liaise with the relevant National Point of Contact (NPC) in order to verify the applicants identity and experience relevant to the CIRINT.NET.  Once this is established, the National Point of Contact will issue a formal invitation to join the network.  


6.2       All individuals accepting participant status assume the responsibility to observe a variant of the ‘Chatham House Rule’[1] – not to attribute information obtained in CIRINT.NET meetings or online interaction to the CIRINT.NET or to other participants without authorisation, as well as to observe the other rules of behaviour set out on the CIRINT.NET web-site.  Participants who do not comply with CIRINT.NET rules or broadly accepted standards of appropriate conduct in professional communities can be excluded by decision of the Executive Board.


6.3       The names and email addresses of all individuals offered participant status in the CIRINT.NET will be provided to the CIRINT.NET Coordinator, along with the name of the individual (e.g. the National Point of Contact) who has invited them.  The sponsoring individual must also certify, to a reasonable degree, that the identity of the new participant is known and that responsible behaviour is expected.  This central register is accessible upon request to all National Points of Contact (NPC), every member organisation and the members of the Executive Board.


6.4       In addition to CIRINT.NET ‘participants,’ individuals can be invited on a one-time or occasional basis to speak at or take part in a CIRINT.NET event without being given web-site access.  The National Points of Contact (NPC) will follow procedures outlined above (see section 4.1) in case of invitations to individuals who are citizens of other CIRINT.NET member countries.





7.1       The CIRINT.NET governance structure comprises the following three elements:


  • The Executive Board:

The role of the Executive Board is to provide continued, day-to-day leadership for the CIRINT.NET and to steer its activities on an on-going basis.  In order to establish the CIRINT.NET effectively following the launch in June 2015, the Executive Board will initially comprise those named partners who have been actively engaged in the delivery of the EU Funded MiRACLE Project (See Annex C).  Once the network has been established for at least a two year period, a General Meeting of the CIRINT.NET will be called in order to select an Executive Board by majority decision.  At that stage, the Executive Board should include officials who are highly committed to, and have demonstrated active support for CIRINT.NET, and have the available time to oversee CIRINT.NET activities through the Executive Board.  In selecting members of the Executive Board, the General Meeting attendees should seek to reflect the geographic and cultural diversity of the CIRINT.NET membership.  The CIRINT.NET Coordinator (see below) will be an ex officio member of the Executive Board.  The Executive Board will choose its own Chair by majority vote.


  • The CIRINT.NET Coordinator:

In establishing the CIRINT.NET effectively, coordination will be shared by the those named partners who have been actively engaged in the delivery of the EU Funded MiRACLE Project.   Once the network has been established for at least a two year period, the CIRINT.NET Coordinator will be nominated by the Executive Board and confirmed by the General Meeting.  The CIRINT.NET Coordinator will work part-time on CIRINT.NET issues in a position volunteered by a CIRINT.NET member government. He/she is responsible for the administration of the CIRINT.NET, closely working with the Executive Board and the leaders of the Communities of Interest.    The CIRINT.NET Coordinator will be assisted on (at least) a part-time basis by several Associate Coordinators, whose time will also be volunteered by member organisations.  Ideally there will be at least one Associate Coordinator for each geographic region represented in the CIRINT.NET.  The role of the Coordinators will be to administer CIRINT.NET common functions (see 7.2 below).  The Associate Coordinators can be asked to participate in meetings of the Executive Board if a majority of the members of the latter believe this to be useful.


  • The General Meeting (AGM) of the CIRINT.NET:

The role of the General Meeting (GM) is to provide strategic guidance to the CIRINT.NET.  This will be held usually every 12 months, with one representative from each country or region and at least one CIRINT.NET member organisation invited to participate.  The national representative will be selected by the country’s lead organisation and should be of sufficient seniority to represent the interests of all organisations from that country participating in the CIRINT.NET.  Fifty per cent of national representatives will be considered a quorum at the General Meeting.  Discussions can be conducted even in the absence of a quorum but the results will subsequently be circulated electronically, or through other appropriate means, for comments by all of the national representatives.  The General Meeting is presided by the Chair of the Executive Board (or his/her representative).  The General Meeting may also be conducted virtually through the use of teleconference or video conference for those members unable to attend in person.  The General Meeting has the power/faculty to adopt any supplements and  amendments to the text of the actual ‘Framework and Terms of reference’.   


7.2       CIRINT.NET governance procedures:


  • Policy-making:  The Executive Board and the CIRINT.NET Coordinator will closely work together to address broader, more significant issues related to the overall direction of CIRINT.NET, subject to ultimate approval by the General Meeting if necessary.  This includes: defining performance criteria for, and evaluating the performance of, the CIRINT.NET and its components; deciding on the formation and dissolution of Communities of Interest; determining general topics to be addressed within CIRINT.NET; managing risk; and setting overall policies regarding individual participation and web-site use.  The Executive Board will meet ‘virtually’ on a dedicated and secure online space on a schedule to be determined by the Group.  The Executive Board will also meet face-to-face: at least at (and/or just before) the General Meeting of the CIRINT.NET, and whenever necessary (ideally in conjunction with a CIRINT.NET substantive conference).  Executive Board decisions and recommendations will be by majority.  If there is significant disagreement within the Executive Board, all sides will endeavour to work out a mutually acceptable solution.  If no agreement is reached on an issue of significance, then the matter can be brought to the General Meeting in writing.  Any extraordinary decision taken by the Executive Board in view of maintaining the CIRINT.NET operations or its own are subject to formal approval by the next General Meeting. The Executive Board will also regularly provide updates to members of the General Meeting regarding the activities of the CIRINT.NET.  It should be clear that membership does not formally bind an organisation on policy.


  • Report to General Meeting: The Executive Board will prepare a report on the progress of the CIRINT.NET and its future directions for presentation at the General Meeting.  The members of the Executive Board will attend the meeting to discuss the report with national representatives in attendance.  The Executive Board will also review any past or prospective decisions that have raised concerns amongst the national representatives.


  • Day-to-day administration: The CIRINT.NET Coordinator, and associates, will supervise basic administrative processes within CIRINT.NET, consulting regularly with the Executive Board, and working closely with National Points of Contact (NPC) on relevant issues.  This will include such matters as admitting participants into the CIRINT.NET, managing the CIRINT.NET web-site, and working with Communities of Interest leaders to plan and implement projects and meetings.


  • Leadership of Communities of Interest:  The CIRINT.NET Communities of Interest (COI) leaders will generally be chosen by their respective communities (subject to confirmation by the Executive Board) but, in the case of new communities, may be appointed directly by the Executive Board.  The role of COI leaders is to manage their respective communities.  They are to coordinate closely the management of their COI’s with the Executive Board and the CIRINT.NET Coordinator.  The COI leaders can be invited to participate in meetings of the Executive Board if a majority of the members of the latter believe this to be useful.  Furthermore, when relevant and appropriate, they are encouraged to coordinate their activities with other COI leaders.


  • Retained rights of contributing organisations:  All member organisations retain ultimate rights to control resources and ownership of material voluntarily contributed to the CIRINT.NET. 





8.1       The Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, the university foundation of the Politecnico di Milano university, as one of the founding members of the CIRINT.NET and participating members in the EU funded MiRACLE Project, will fulfil the role of Academic Advisor to the CIRINT.NET, providing support, advice and guidance on professional development opportunities across all aspects of CIR.  The Fondazione Politecnico di Milano will liaise with other academic institutions across the World to ensure that the CIRINT.NET remains a leader in the field of CIR research and development. For the purposes of the participation to the Association the Fondazione Politecnico di Milano may involve specific competences from the Politecnico di Milano university.





9.1       Provisions of the Governance Framework and Terms of Reference may be temporarily revised at any time by a majority of the Executive Board, subject to ratification at the next meeting of the General Meeting.  The Executive Board will engage in a full-scale review of the Terms of Reference no later than 1 July 2017, to take into account the further evolution of the CIRINT.NET, with results reported for discussion at the next General Meeting.





10.1    Once the CIRINT.NET Terms of Reference have been finalised and accepted by existing network contacts, CIRINT.NET members and participants will be invited to attend the formal launch of the network in June 2015 at the 5th International CIR Workshop in Milan, Italy.   A formal ceremony will take place at which Ministerial representatives from the three partner countries engaged in the delivery of the EU Funded MiRACLE Project (Lombardy, Kennemerland and Scotland), will sign the Statement of Support (See Annex A) to formally launch the CIRINT.NET.  Thereafter, members can join simply by completing the Statement of Intent (See Annex B) and applying for membership in the approved manner (see Section 3).


10.2    In order to establish the CIRINT.NET effectively following the launch in June 2015, the Executive Board will initially comprise those named partners who have been actively engaged in the delivery of the EU Funded MiRACLE Project (See Annex C).   The Interim Executive Board (IEB) will choose its own Chair by majority vote.


10.3    The IEB will also set out the strategic direction for the network for the following 12 months, including the programme and arrangements for the 6th Annual International CIR Conference and associated events.   


10.4    As indicated in 7.1 once the network has been established for at least a two year period, a General Meeting of the CIRINT.NET will be called in order to select an Executive Board by majority decision from an anticipated Global membership.  At that stage, the Executive Board should include officials who are highly committed to, and have demonstrated active support for CIRINT.NET, and have the available time to oversee CIRINT.NET activities through the Executive Board. 






11.1    In order to support the online collaboration activities of the network, current network contacts have agreed that a dedicated website should be developed.  CIRINT.NET members and participants will be consulted throughout the development and implementation phase of this project, which will also involve agreement on functionality, access and security of information.  A separate website protocol and procedures guide will also be created to coordinate CIRINT.NET website activity.  This will be taken forward by the Fondazione Politecnico di Milano.




[1] The Chatham House Rule states:  ‘When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.’

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