Introduction by Mr. Kristaq Birbo – NATO ARW Co-Director
Mr. Kristaq Birbo
Executive Director of Atlantic Council of Albania
In the last years the countries of the Western Balkans have faced different emergency situations especially with situations of fires, massive flooding and heavy snow. The experience shows that the magnitude and duration of the emergencies have been very often beyond the response capacity of the affected country.
There is an obvious need, which has lately become more apparent, for joint response to the civil emergencies which directly implies the necessity for joint planning, professional advancement and providing equipment to relevant actors and response, protection and relief operations units in emergency situations and catastrophes.
For that reason I consider as very important the publication of the book about the advanced Research workshop “Sustained Emergency Relief – Regionally Developed Capacities’, held in Struga, Macedonia, on 29 June to 1st July 2012, supported from the NATO Program “Security through science” and very well organized by Colonel Ljube Dukoski and his professional team.
In the book, in the spirit of the transparency, there are the opinions of representatives from state institutions, universities, military and civilian on the issue, freelance experts in the field of crisis management and emergency relief, representatives from NGO, etc, who meet in Struga to discuss the possibility of sustain regional capacities for crisis management and emergency relief.
But the workshop has not been an ordinary meeting with only exchange of opinions, but it succeeded to adopt final practical solutions that this book offers to countries of Western Balkans for future devolvement.
The present book summarizes the analysis of situation and gives recommendations for policy integration and capacity development across the Balkan countries and territories. It points out both the common issues and the individual issues faced within the context of each country. It provides an important resource for guiding the future activities of governments in the region, of the international community, and of other stakeholders. It also provides a platform on which to share knowledge, experience and work within the Western Balkans.
The book set forth different regional capacities that the Western Balkans countries have and the prospect of having them developed. In that direction, having in mind the limited national resources and the budget challenges, the book will serve as a platform for a renewed culture for cooperation in the region which can join forces and resources in order to build more efficient capacities.
The book gives interesting proposals about the prevention of civil emergencies. There are ways to reduce jointly risks and limit consequences, through recognizing the main causes of vulnerability of society, through building capacities to address them, education, training and disaster awareness, building codes, using new technologies, etc, which can significantly reduce the number casualties and damage to property. Security in the Western Balkans is more than simple protection from various threats and new challenges; it implies a complex every-day activity related to security and safety of people and environment in cases of various disasters and crises, which do not recognize borders. May the present book be another effective contribution for the institutions of regional countries, responsible for emergencies relief and crisis management, that wherever a disaster occurs, to be organized and prepared to help each other.
Co-Director of the Workshop
Executive Director of Atlantic Council of Albania
Introduction by Col. Ljube Dukoski, M.A. NATO ARW Co-Director
Col. Ljube Dukoski, M.A.
State adviser for Defense Policy and Planning at MOD, Member of the EACM
The Euro – Atlantic Council of Macedonia and the Atlantic Council of Albania recognized the importance of regional cooperation in the field of Emergency Relief and organized a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on “Sustained Emergency Relief - Regionally Developed Capacities”. This NATO Advanced Research Workshop took place at hotel Drim, Struga, Republic of Macedonia, from 28 June – 01 July, 2012. This successful workshop would not take place without a comprehensive support of NATO.
On this workshop there was total number of 44 representatives from following countries: Republic of Albania, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Turkey. Also there were representatives from NATO Operations Division and HQ KFOR.
NATO Advanced Research Workshop in Struga was an opportunity to presents the national views and individual research in the field of sustainable development of regional capacities for Emergency Relief. Lessons learned from past research shows that all countries of the Western Balkans and elsewhere in Southeast Europe have a great need for solidarity aid in case of accidents and disasters by non-military nature. All countries in the region have significant national capacities for aid in case of Emergency Relief, but the regional mechanisms for mutual assistance and cooperation are still weak. We decided to do an initial survey of the legal framework and existing facilities, as well as plans for the development of capacities in the Western Balkans. The book is the result of those efforts. It sustains two part. The first part is entitled: “Capabilities for Emergency Relief – National Challenges and Perspectives”. The second part is entitled: “Development of Regional Capacities for Emergency Relief in the Spirit of Smart Defense Initiative”.
In the first part of the book “Capabilities for Emergency Relief – National Challenges and Perspectives” there are the researches and contributions from Mr. Ertust Brahja, General Directorate for Civil Emergencies of Albania and Mrs. Marina Mitrevska, Professor on the Institute for Security, Defense and Peace Studies, Ss. “Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje. The second panelists were Col. Mitko Stoykov, Director of Crisis Management for Disaster Response Centre of Excellence, and Faculty “National Security and Defence”, Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Nikola Gace, Director of the National Protection and Rescue Directorate of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Mustaf Gashi from the Office of Civil Emergency Agency of the Republic of Kosovo, and Mr. Urim Vejseli, Head of Department for International Cooperation, Centre for Crisis Management of the Republic of Macedonia. The third panel from the first book is consisted by Prof, Dr. Aziz K. Pollozhani, State councelor in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Branko Dervodel, Deputy Director General in the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia and Mr. Toni Stankovski, Advisor at Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia.
In the second part of the book “Development of Regional Capacities for Emergency Relief in the Spirit of Smart Defense Initiative” we can find the addressing by Mr. Evert G.J. Somer, Civil Emergency Planning, NATO Operations Division, Mrs. Milica Katic, Director of Balkans Institute for risk assessment and emergency management, Republic of Serbia, LTC Luan Domi, Commander of the Research and Rescue Battalion, Republic of Albania, and Col. Mitko Stoykov, Director of Crisis Management for Disaster Response Centre of Excellence, and Faculty “National Security and Defence”, Republic of Bulgaria. On the second panel from this session were, BG Abaz Lleshi, Commander of the Territorial Defense Brigade of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Ali Samet, DM Coordinator from the Macedonian Red Cross, and Brigadier General Dimce Petrovski, PhD, Director of General Staff of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. In the last panel were LTC Fadil Hadergjonaj, Head of Training & Exercise Section Department, Kosovo Security Forces from Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Ljupce Petrovski, Head of section, Directorate for Protection and Rescue of the Republic of Macedonia and Mr. Kyle King, Civil Emergency Advisor, HQ KFOR.
At the end of the book we summarize draft conclusions arising from research and discussions. There are evident differences in the very definitions of the state threats sources. That's why there is need of improved national framework for crisis management provided by national institutions, interagency coordination, mutual support and assistance as well as public campaigns. Towards risk reduction, states, international organizations, NGO's and others need to develop a regional strategy for disaster prevention. Our ambition is to continue the research and development of regional projects in this direction.
Finally, we would like to express our special appreciation for the excellent cooperation and contribution of the research fellows and writers for the production of this book. Also we commend the joint work with the Atlantic Council of Albania, NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the Atlantic Council's from the region and we commend the Youth of Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia's for their consistent and continuous commitment and engagement to the project.
NATO ARW Struga
Emergency Situations our Common Challenges that necessitate Smart Regional Cooperation
Dr. Arian Starova
Deputy Minister of Defence, President of the Atlantic Council of Albania
Dear President Elenovski,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'm very glad to be today in Struga for this event devoted to exploring approaches and ways of dealing with the civil emergencies and relief. And it is so good that we are gathered here together as representatives of both governmental institutions and Atlantic organizations of our region's countries. The very idea of this advanced workshop was a primarily suggested to me by my friend, Mr. Elenovski, which eventually reflected the regional necessities in a fast changing world security environment. I would like to express him my gratitude for that, as well as for his proposal to have the modest support of the Atlantic Council of Albania to jointly organizing this activity.
However, our major gratitude must be extended to the NATO for its principal support to make the workshop take place today.
Turning now to the main topic of our gathering, I would like to first of all, to refer to the multi-dimensionality of the civil emergency as a term. To some extent, this term might be viewed as open-ended in the sense of its comprehensiveness with regard to the unexpected events that put into danger the citizens' life. However, the substantial global and local experiences have strongly suggested right generalizations about civil emergencies as security situations mainly brought about by causes connected to social and natural environment. Nowadays, as we all know, we are witnessing large changes in climate and environment which in turn bring about consequences like, earthquakes, heavy river-floods, heavy snowfalls, large landslides or fires, heavy rainstorms, etc. that disrupt or place under risk the normal life of the citizens almost everywhere. On the other side, we all are aware that we are more and more living in times when societies are concerned about phenomena like financial constraints, scarcity of energy and water resources, unexpected developments in the area of human health with large consequences in the form of epidemics, global extension of the cyberspace what increasingly contains also the risk of being used for criminal purposes, huge movements of peoples as a result of modern transport communication what might create at times social tensions in specific countries, possible use of chemical, biological, radiological weapons by terrorists, etc.
In a word, the citizens' life can be under threat not only because of the wars or armed conflicts in general, but also because of other increasing natural or social causes. The latter is the essential reason why in the document of the New Strategic Concept of NATO we find a formulation which says that “Key environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs will further shape the future security environment in areas of concern to NATO and have the potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations”.
With this, we come to the issue of the governmental institutions and other interested actors in time of civil emergency situations. Alongside with the specialized government agencies or institutions, the national Armed Forces and the defense structures play an irreplaceable role because of their very specific nature of organization, experience, military capabilities and equipment. Other non-governmental interested actors might be involved as the experience showed during the emergency situations in our countries. I hope that in our two days discussions there will be a lot of experience sharing and contribution in ideas around the role these three main actors might play under emergency situations.
Allow me now to say a few words on the importance of our today's discussions on civil emergency situations. In my opinion, there are several reasons for that.
First, the experience of, at least, these past twelve years since the last conflict in the territories of the former Yugoslavia has strongly proved that the large armed conflicts of our region are already a part of our regional history with no foreseeable chance of recurrence. The further development of democratic institutions and progress on the Euro-Atlantic integration way of our countries in the region further consolidate that major change.
Second, as NATO member countries or NATO aspirant countries our countries have adopted defense strategic documents in accordance with the New Strategic Concept of NATO.
Third, the recent experience of civil emergency situations in our countries has convinced almost all our government and non-government actors that these specific situations which recur periodically must be seriously considered on national level.
Fourth, the same recent experience coupled with the global changes and the financial constraints we are facing for some years have also created an international and regional conviction that in coping with civil emergency situations the individual countries have almost always been in need of additional assistance and support by other countries. Hence, civil emergency situations are being viewed upon, managed or administered as an opportunity for international or regional cooperation.
Fifth, as civil emergency situations are mainly inherently unforeseeable, it is a necessity to try to be as organized and preventive as possible through cooperation on national and regional level. And, the countries of the region are always the direct neighbors what imply the promptness of assistance and support during emergencies, although a larger international cooperation is also very important.
Sixth, the distinguished participants and expert-speakers of this advanced workshop representing the countries of the region, I'm sure, will make an important landmark in the common regional efforts for a sustained civil emergency relief organization. And, that is why a well compiled and detailed report of this advanced workshop should be put together as soon as possible and sent to all the interested actors.
Seventh, beyond the immediate benefit from the regional cooperation in time of civil emergencies of specific countries, the other major effect would always be the further improvement in the general human climate and social cohesion of our region what is a great investment for the future of all our countries.
Out of the full well-known global range of civil emergencies we might put into evidence for our region several of them being most common which are related to heavy river floods, large summer fires, heavy snowfalls or rainstorms, earthquakes, landslides, road communication disruptions, short electricity blackouts, etc.
A number of other civil emergency situations might be view as probable although they have not happened in our countries so far. We might number here events like large terrorist attacks by weapon of mass destructions (WMD). However, considering that this new type of threat is only probable to our countries and that we in various ways are confronting it by participating in our NATO missions or the other missions against the international terrorism, the focus in this today's activity in mainly on the civil emergencies connected to the experience in the region.
The recent Albanian experience suggested that almost every year there have been repeated natural disasters and related civil emergency situations because of heavy river flooding, large fires, heavy snowfalls blocking the national roads, water or territory pollution, etc.
The same Albanian experience, and I think to a different extent this is the same for other countries in our region, has persistently recalled all of us that in time of civil emergencies, both our national resources and our inter-agency cooperation on national level are not enough, not sufficient. We have always been in need of additional advice, equipment, assistance, human capabilities and other things.
Allow me to use this event as an opportunity to say it again that Albania has always had a prompt response to these emergency needs by all the countries in our region and this is why I would like to again express our deep gratitude for the support given to us.
Going beyond that, Albania's experience continuously suggests the need for cooperation of our regional countries in cases of civil emergency situations. This is not only a major lesson learnt, but also a call for a deep exploration in the area of the regional cooperation, whose necessity becomes more relevant because of the general financial constraints of nowadays.
Now and in conclusion, I would like to mention a number of dimensions of what might be called a successful regional cooperation on civil emergencies. Of course, I will mention them only in a general way, as the discussions will follow on expert level and in a more detailed approach.
First, a “lessons learnt” process on national level is very important because it might have a substantial positive impact also on regional level by clarifying the needs for a smooth deeper cooperation in the region on civil emergencies.
Second, an agenda of regular meetings of expert groups should be established aiming at sharing the experiences, needs and new ideas among them.
Third, there is a need for better coordination of the existing permanent joint structures dealing with the civil emergencies, maybe by building up new structures.
Fourth, there is a need for written documents on regional strategies for civil emergencies and maybe an additional need for the improvement of such documents on national level.
Fifth, practicing “smart approaches” in terms of equipment and human capabilities would not only help for organizing the structures for an improved response to civil emergencies, but also a for resource saving for each of our countries. The key words of “sharing and pooling” of the capacities for a regional civil emergency response need to be supported by a strong political good will.
Sixth, there is a need for a more comprehensive sharing of the related information on the civil emergencies, starting from weather forecast to intelligent information on possible terrorist attacks. There are many agencies which are doing that, but there is space to think of a better coordination or reorganization of them.
Seventh, planning, training and public education, also are of high importance, the main idea being implied that having these elements in place we would as knowledgeable and preventive as possible for the our emergencies. All our countries can do a lot for that by joining their efforts.
I' m ending here by wishing again a fruitful discussion on regional cooperation for copping successfully with the unavoidable civil emergencies!
Introduction by Lazar Elenovski President of the Euro–Atlantic Council of Macedonia, - Common values, common responsibilities, joined capacities -
Mr. Lazar Elenovski
President of the Euro – Atlantic Council of Macedonia
Dear President Starova,
Fellow Atlantists, Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the very beginning allow me to extend my warm welcome to all of you for finding the time and interest to join us here today at this regional event. I would also like to extend gratitude to NATO, for not just supporting this initiative, but for the wide support it has provided throughout the years. The support that NATO has provided has helped spread the spirit of the Atlantism in the region and moreover join countries to commonly discuss challenges and solutions to the collective security to which they have determined to become members of.
Today we are here to discuss the importance to develop regional capacities to help us in the cooperation in crisis management. Preparation for emerging crisis is more than necessary. Though as one time General Eisenhower said once “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” In that sense, our goal is to prepare and think of the most creative and sustainable solutions that can help us in region terms.
A regional response to major crisis is a natural response for our region. We are a composition of small yet diverse countries, similar yet not the same, with scarce resources and capacities. Individually, none of us countries of the Western Balkans, members or partners of NATO, does not possess the capabilities to fully manage crisis situations or civil emergencies when they appear. In the last period we had the chance to see the whenever some disaster happens in the region, the need for cooperation and help between the countries arise and only in that manner they succeed to reach their results and successfully to finish the process of managing the crisis and control the situation and enable safe environment for the civilians in different regions.
Therefore, this scientific workshop can serve as a platform on which we can build common approach of the region. This platform will help the countries to join forces and resources with purpose to build more efficient capacities. This scientific workshop is of immense importance for the region, and will set forth different regional capacities that the Western Balkans has and the prospects of having them developed and hosted by certain countries. The scientific workshop, also, will be a good opportunity for the new and future member countries to exchange the national views on development of Emergency Relief Capabilities in the process of NATO integration. Taking into account the limited national resources and the budget challenges we can discuss here of finding the best feasible common approach for the countries of the region which can be developed by joined forces and resources in order to build more efficient capacities.
The ongoing regional cooperation mechanisms in different political and military processes, SEEBRIG (South Eastern Europe Brigade), the South East Europe process for cooperation, joined deployment of the US–A3 countries in the ISAF mission, and many other initiatives that the Western Balkan countries have so far is good grounds to translate them into practical regional capacities which can serve future purpose in responding in times of crisis and emergencies.
Today, the security environment is dynamic and the new world order will face more challenges coming from non-conventional threats. We will have to be prepared for times of scarce resources and large scale crisis which will ask for humanitarian and rescue approaches instead of the conventional military tasks. Therefore, we can sue the regional cooperation which has its functionality in the working defence mechanisms to be the basis for developing regional capacities. We will need to think of infrastructure, lift, corridors for transport of resources, movement of goods and people and the legal solutions as results of state agreements to help implement these solutions. As present and future NATO members we have a powerful mechanism at disposal. Alternatively the NATO partner countries will need to join initiatives with the NATO member countries to align capacities. Though we may be diverse on our euro-atlantic path, it should be our roadmap for developing joined capacities which should respond as lean one-part bodies when emergence relief needs to be done.
I would like to express gratitude to the NATO SPS Program which enabled this scientific workshop and to the fellow colleagues, representatives of state institutions, universities and freelance experts in the field of crisis management and emergency relief which gathered to meet and discuss the possibility of sustained regional capacities for crisis management and emergency relief. I expect that this meeting here will not be an ordinary meeting with exchange of opinions, but point to practical solutions that can be offered to the countries in the Western Balkans for future development.
The debate today can be a useful contribution to priorities of the Alliance, the new developments in its own framework and the dialogue for development of the “Smart Defence” capacities which will enable better pooling of the resources that these countries posses with the goal to secure joint implementation of commitments the region has.
We tend to hold common values, the euro-atlantic, and we face common challenges. Therefore, a regional capacity is a natural response which can help us join vision and resources to tailor them to our regional needs.