Preparations of BiH for full membership in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism

As part of the European Union assistance in establishing BiH institutional capacities to reduce disaster risks and prepare for an effective response in the event of natural or other disasters, project “EU for Better Civil Protection” worth €1.5 million is being implemented in BiH. The ultimate goal of the project is to help BiH to become a participating state within the Union Civil Protection Mechanism.

The project is implemented by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia together with the Association for Risk Management “AZUR” from BiH. It has been underway since March 2019 and the first results were presented on December 12, 2019 in Sarajevo at the conference “Preparation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Union Civil Protection Mechanism”.

Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations section I Justice and Home Affairs, Public Administration Reform of the Delegation of the European Union to BiH indicated that until its full participating state membership in UCPM, BiH can receive assistance through the UCPM in a “third country” capacity as already happened during the floods in 2014.

“Before joining the UCPM, the EU needs to be assured that a functioning civil protection mechanism exist within BiH,” said Bizel.

The project is of high importance for the structures of the civil protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it is the basis for the country’s membership in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism.

“We hope and expect that by the Croatian taking over of Presidency from January 1, we as a state will be invited to join the Mechanism. This is important for BIH, because it will accelerate the implementation of EU standards in the area of protection and rescue, as well as give better access to the EU funds,” said Idriz Brkovic, Project coordination within the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to the funds of €1.5 million, the European Union secured the supply of specialised civil protection equipment, including rescue tools, transport and monitoring means, worth €1 million, to be used by the civil protection units in BiH.

Brkovic further stated that “through this project BiH will, fully in line with the EU standards, train water, search & rescue teams”.

Damir Trut, Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior Republic of Croatia and Project Manager, said that in the past months number of the educations, meetings and risk assessments were made, as well as the preparations from the final exercise of the protection and rescue planned for the next year.

“This project will help BiH get necessary interoperability, bring competences of its civil forces to higher level in operative and procedure adjustments sense which will allow them to function and work in the international environment,” said Trut.

This important EU project was designed in close cooperation with the Ministry of Security of BiH and the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) in Brussels.