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European Definitions

EU ACRIMAS project

The EU ACRIMAS conceptual model [1] defines a crisis as a cascade of one or more separate crisis events (2nd order, 3rd order, etc.), that result from one initial crisis event. The effects of a single crisis are divided into two categories:

  • Damage (or impact) such as numbers of fatalities, injured/ill people, costs, impact on basic necessities, …, social and political stability (see Sub-section 3.1.4)
  • Cascading crisis events

International Definitions


A situation that is perceived as difficult. [2]

National Definitions


Crisis: estado delicado y conflictivo en el cual, por circunstancias de origen interno o externo, se rompe el equilibrio y la normalidad de un sistema y se favorece su desorganización. [3]


Situation that is beyond the capacity of normal management structures and processes to deal with effectively. [4]


A situation that threatens public safety and security, the public’s sense of tradition and values or the integrity of the government.

Situation qui menace la sécurité publique, le sens de la tradition et des valeurs de la population ou l’intégrité du gouvernement. [5]

Czech Republic

Krize: Situace, ve které je významným způsobem narušena rovnováha mezi základními charakteristikami systému na jedné straně a postojem okolního prostředí na traně druhé. [6]

Crisis: Situation where the equilibrium among the basic components of the system on the one hand, and approach of the environment on the other hand, is disrupted in a serious way. [7]

Crisis situation shall denote an emergency event according to the Integrated Rescue System Act, disruption of critical infrastructure or another threat when the state of danger, the emergency state or the state of State menace is declared (“crisis state”). [8]

El Salvador

Crisis: Es el proceso de liberación de los elementos sumergidos y reprimidos de un sistema como resultado de una perturbación exógena o endógena, que conduce a la parálisis de los elementos protectores y moderadores, a la extensión de los desórdenes, la aparición de incertidumbres de todo tipo y de reacciones en cadena y eventualmente a la mutación o desaparición del sistema en crisis. [9]

Las crisis pueden ser el resultado de un desastre o constituir ellas mismas el desastre. Ofrecen oportunidades de cambio positivos y no solamente negativos.


Kriisi: tehostettuja toimia vaativa tilanne, joka on vaarallinen, vaikea, sekava tai poikkeuksellinen.

A crisis is a dangerous, difficult, confusing or exceptional situation requiring intensified actions. -unofficial translation- [10]


A crisis is any deviation from the normal state of affairs with the potential to cause damage to critical assets which exceeds the everyday resources of a nation’s organisational system and processes. [11]

A crisis is a suddenly or insidiously developing situation differing from the normal state of affairs and entailing a risk potential which harbours dangers and threats to life and limb or to significant material assets and serious risks to the political, social or economic system, and which requires a decision to be made, often in a state of uncertainty and on the basis of incomplete information. [12].

There is an IT crisis within the context of the CIP Implementation Plan if a failure or an impairment of organisations and facilities of major importance for society with sustained shortage of supplies, significant disruptions to public order, safety and security or other dramatic consequences directly or indirectly occurs and/or is to be expected for IT-related reasons. [13].

Krise ist ein vom Normalzustand abweichende Situation mit dem Potenzial für oder mit bereits eingetretenen Schäden an Schutzgütern, die mit der normalen Ablauf- und Aufbauorganisation nicht mehr bewältigt werden kann, so dass eine Besondere Aufbauorganisation (BAO) erforderlich ist. [14]


Wet Veiligheidsregio's
A crisis is een situatie waarin een vitaal belang van de samenleving is aangetast of dreigt te worden aangetast.
A crisis is a situation that endangers or potentially may endanger a key value of the (Dutch) society. [15]

Handbook Crisisbesluitvorming
Onder een intersectorale crisis wordt in dit Nationaal Handboek verstaan: een gebeurtenis waarbij de nationale veiligheid in het geding is doordat één of meerdere vitale belangen worden aangetast en waarbij de reguliere structuren en/of middelen niet toereikend zijn om de stabiliteit te handhaven. De structuren van het Nationaal Handboek Crisisbesluitvorming treden dan in ieder geval in werking.
An intersectoral crisis is an event in which the national security is at issue as one or more vital interests are affected while the regular structures and or capacities are insufficient to maintain stability. [16]

Crisis: een situatie die kan ontstaan als de veiligheid in het geding is doordat één of meerdere vitale belangen worden aangetast en waarin de reguliere structuren en/of middelen niet toereikend zijn om de stabiliteit te handhaven. [17]


Crisis: from the Greek word krises; means “to separate.” [18]

It is a turning point in progress of an affair or a series of events. A progressive sequence of events, build-up of instability and growth of tension.


Sytuacja kryzysowa – zgodnie z art. 3 pkt 1 ustawy o zarządzaniu kryzysowym – sytuacja wpływająca negatywnie na poziom bezpieczeństwa ludzi, mienia w znacznych rozmiarach lub środowiska, wywołująca znaczne ograniczenia w działaniu właściwych organów administracji publicznej ze względu na nieadekwatność posiadanych sił i środków.

Crisis - in accordance with Article. 3 Section 1 of the Act on Crisis Management - a situation that negatively affects the level of safety of people, property of significant size, or environment and which causes significant restrictions on the operation of the competent authorities of the public administration because of the inadequacy of resources and measures. [19]


Criză: (a) situaţie naţională sau internaţională, caracterizată prin existenţa unei ameninţări la adresa valorilor fundamentale, intereselor şi obiectivelor celor mai importante ale părţilor implicate; (b) manifestare a unor dificultăţi (economice, politice, sociale etc.); (c) schimbare situaţională caracterizată prin creşterea intensităţii „interacţiunilor ostile” între doi sau mai mulţi adversari, cu o mare probabilitate de a se transforma din „interacţiuni ostile” în ostilităţi militare; (d) perioadă de tensiune, de tulburare, de încercări (adesea decisive) care se manifestă în societate; (e) moment critic care intervine în evoluţia vieţii internaţionale, a raporturilor dintre state, a unui sistem, regim sau guvern. [20]


Kriza je stanje, dogodek ali proces v državi ali zunaj nje, ki predstavlja resno grožnjo temeljnim nacionalnim interesom, družbenim vrednotam in normam ter ga ni mogoče obvladovati z običajnimi sredstvi in dejavnostmi podsistemov nacionalne varnosti, temveč zahteva angažiranje kriznega upravljanja. Za krizo sta značilna negotovost razmer in relativno kratek čas za ukrepanje. [21]


A crisis in society refers to an event that: (1) affects many people, (2) affects a significant proportion of society, (3) threatens fundamental values and functions, (4) cannot be managed with normal resources and organisation, (5) is out of the ordinary and/or (6) requires concerted action by several stakeholders. [22]


Krise bezeichnet eine ungünstige Lageentwicklung mit einem ungewissen Ausgang, die grundlegende Entscheidungen und besondere Anstrengungen der Entscheidungsträger erfordert, um eine Wende herbeizuführen. [23]

Le terme « crise » désigne le développement défavorable d’une situation, à l’issue incertaine et qui exige la prise de décisions fondamentales et des efforts particuliers des décideurs pour induire un tournant. [24]

La crisi è un’evoluzione sfavorevole con esito incerto, la cui inversione richiede decisioni fondamentali e sforzi particolari da parte degli organi competenti. [25]

United Kingdom

1. an inherently abnormal, unstable and complex situation that represents a threat to the strategic objectives, reputation or existence of an organization (BSI PAS200).
(2) an emergency of magnitude and/or severity requiring the activation of central government.
(3) Personal - acute emotional reaction to a powerful stimulus or demand. [26]

United States

An incident or situation involving a threat to the United States, its territories, citizens, military forces, possessions, or vital interests that develops rapidly and creates a condition of such diplomatic, economic, political, or military importance that commitment of US military forces and resources is contemplated in order to achieve national objectives. [27]

Standard Definition

ISO/PAS 22399:2007

Any incident(s), human-caused or natural, that require(s) urgent attention and action to protect life, property, or environment [28].

ISO 22300:2012(en)

situation with high level of uncertainty that disrupts the core activities and/or credibility of an organization (2.2.9) and requires urgent action.[29]


Crisis: een abnormale of buitengewone gebeurtenis of situatie die een organisatie of gemeenschap bedreigt en een strategi�sche, adaptieve en tijdige reactie vereist om de levensvatbaarheid en integriteit te behouden. [30]

See also



  1. EU ACRIMAS Project
  2. WHO: Glossary of Humanitarian Terms
  3. Glosario Comites Emergencia Argentina
  4. Australia AS NZS 5050 (2010)
  5. Vocabulaire de la gestion des urgencies/Emergency Management Emergency Management Vocabulary 281 (2012)
  6. Výkladový slovník kybernetické bezpečnosti (2013)
  7. Act No. 181 of 23 July 2014 On Cyber Security and Change of Related Acts (Act on Cyber Security)
  8. No. 240/2000 Coll. on Crisis Management and on amendments of certain acts (Crisis Act) as amended (2000)
  9. Glosario de Riesgo, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, El Salvador
  10. Vocabulary of Comprehensive Security. Helsinki (TSK 47) (2014)
  11. Civil Protection in Germany, BBK, 2012
  12. Protection of Critical Infrastructures – Baseline Protection Concept: Recommendation for Companies, BMI.
  13. Unpublished working glossary of UP KRITIS and BSI, 2014
  14. Glossar BBK
  15. Wet Veiligheidsregio's article 1
  16. Handboek Crisisbesluitvorming, Rijksoverheid, Den Haag, 2013.
  17. Handboek Nationaal Continuïteitsoverleg - Telecommunicatie, Ministerie van Economische Zaken Directoraat-Generaal Energie en Telecom, Netherlands 28 augustus 2008
  18. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan NDRRMP 2011-2028, Philippines (2011)
  19. 2015 Narodowy Program Ochrony Infrastruktury Krytycznej
  21. Vojaška doktrina, Slovenia, 2006
  22. Swedish National Risk Assessment 2012
  23. Glossar der Risikobegriffe, Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz BABS, 29.4.2013
  24. Glossaire des risques, Office fédéral de la protection de la population, 29.4.2013
  25. Glossario sui rischi, Ufficio federale della protezione della popolazione UFPP, 29.4.2013
  26. UK Civil Protection Lexicon 2013
  27. US Military JP 1-02 & JP 3-0
  28. ISO/PAS 22399:2007 Societal security - Guideline for incident preparedness and operational continuity management.
  29. ISO 22300:2012(en) Societal security — Terminology
  30. Cybersecurity Woordenboek 2021