The European Union is supporting capacity building and improvement to the civil protection system in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to prepare the system for the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. During the first session, the project’s Steering Committee, attended by BiH civil protection services, project partners and beneficiaries, adopted a plan of activities that will be coordinated by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Union Civil Protection Mechanism coordinated interventions in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 2014 floods, while, as a participating state, BiH could request assistance in case of emergency so as to protect citizens, property, the environment and cultural heritage of the country.
“This new project reflects the objective of the European Union to work together for better prevention, preparedness and response to disasters in BiH. It is important that the project was designed in close consultation with the Ministry of Security of BiH and the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) in order to ensure cooperation and open communication between all project stakeholders, not only in emergency situations,” said Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform.
Reflecting on best EU practices, the project aims to strengthen the capacities of civil protection mechanisms for prevention, preparedness and response to natural and technical disasters and increase the resilience of the civil protection agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Damir Trut, Assistant Minister of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Croatia, the project coordinator, stated that the aim is to improve the civil protection system so it is capable of responding to risks through detailed needs analyses and plans of activity. “Through 64 activities, the team of experts will, through education and training, endeavour to reach the required readiness and quality so that BiH can become part of the European Union’s civil protection system and then apply for projects, receive assistance, but also be capable of providing assistance to others in need,” said Trut.
The Analytical Report to the Opinion of the European Commission highlights that there is a need for more systematic horizontal cooperation and enhanced vertical coordination among all relevant actors for a more integrated civil protection system. “Bosnia and Herzegovina would be able to respond to risks and increase its resilience with a successful and functional system. Representatives from all levels of governments are included in the project so that we can provide adequate needs assessments and activity plans in line with their needs,” said Idriz Brković, Head of the Department for Strategic planning and Protection and Rescue Measures of the BiH Ministry of Security.
The needs analyses and situation assessments conducted by EU experts highlight the fact that existing mechanisms must be strengthened before Bosnia and Herzegovina is able to join the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The project “EU 4 Better Protection – Capacity Building and Preparation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Union Civil Protection Mechanism’’, in the amount of 1.5 million euros, aims to strengthen the capacities needed to achieve this and will be implemented by the end of 2021.