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13th Strategic Political-Military Seminar held in Sarajevo

The Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in co-operation with the OSCE Mission to BiH, launched yesterday in Sarajevo the 13th strategic political-military seminar. The themes this year are cybersecurity and crisis management.

Experts from the relevant ministries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska, and the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro, as well as representatives of academia, the EU Delegation to BiH, the US Embassy in Sarajevo, and the OSCE Secretariat are attending the three-day seminar.

In his introductory remarks, BiH Minister of Defence, Sifet Podžić, pointed out that modern security threats are common in the entire Western Balkans and that they are most effectively addressed through co-ordinated actions, adding that exchanges of experiences, such as these taking place at political-military seminars, are needed and welcome.

“The frequency of hacker attacks on vital parts of various information systems is forcing countries to improve their security capabilities. The experience and knowledge we have gained in recent years, as well as the trust we have built, certainly benefit our institutions. It enables us to work together in the field of cybersecurity and to speed up the development of BiH’s strategic document in this field,” said Podžić.

“Crisis management, as the second topic of this seminar, is a continuous process, in which individuals, groups and communities work together to mitigate disasters that occur due to cyber risks, and natural and other disasters. We have always been and remain available to civilian institutions to engage the Armed Forces of BiH also in these challenges,” he added.

The OSCE Mission to BiH has supported the strategic political-military seminar for 13 years. Previous seminars have contributed to several important processes, including the deployment of members of the BiH Armed Forces in UN peacekeeping missions, and the development of the Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Security Action Plan and guidelines for military support to civilian authorities.

“This year’s Seminar focuses on crisis management and cyber security, two areas that demand inter-institutional co-operation,” said Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH.

“Over the past several years, the OSCE has intensified its support to building cybersecurity in BiH. Our support in this area now focuses on the operationalization of the OSCE cyber confidence-building measures, development of a cybersecurity framework strategy for BiH, and establishing Computer Emergency Response Teams.”

Speaking about crisis management, Kavalec called on BiH institutions to develop a comprehensive Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy, which would serve as a basis for the development of disaster protection plans at various levels of government. She further emphasized that, as of next year, the Ministry of Defence and the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of BiH will take sole responsibility for the organization of the seminar, and congratulated Minister Podžić on successes achieved thus far.

(Photo: OSCE/Vedran Pribilovic)

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