Exercise of Protection and Rescue “Coordination 2021โ€ starts in BiH

On Wednesday, Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sifet Podzic and Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of BiH Colonel General Senad Masovic visited the participants of the interdepartmental simulation exercise of protection and rescue in BiH "Coordination 2021". Competent institutions from all levels of BiH are also attended by members of the Ministry of Defense and the AF BiH.

The exercise, in several different modules will be mainly held from 21 to 25 June 2021 in the House of the Armed Forces of BiH in Sarajevo. The aim of the exercise is to test international cooperation and coordination of institutions in BiH, as well as non-governmental organizations, in the field of planning and preparedness for emergency situations and to assess the ability to provide information to the public. 

Among the high-ranking guests were BiH Security Minister Selmo Cikotic, US Ambassador to BiH HE Eric Nelson, Commander of the Maryland National Guard, Major General Timothy Gowen, Commander of the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, Brigadier General Eric Folkestad and other senior representatives of the competent institutions in BiH.

The exercise is part of the US Department of Defense's Civil and Military Cooperation and Emergency Preparedness Program, which supports NATO partner countries in building capacity for preparedness and response to natural and other disasters, with the mediation of the National Guard of the US state of Maryland. The Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) of the US Embassy in BiH and the US Civil-Military Emergency Program (CMEP) team.

"In response to natural and similar disasters, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces BiH are, according to the current law, the fourth and last instance for providing assistance to the population and the competent civilian authorities," said Minister Podzic on that occasion. 

"However, the practice has shown that the need to engage the Armed Forces in our country is shown immediately after the outbreak of the accident, and that the BiH Armed Forces are very often in the forces of the first and fastest response to the disaster. 

The MoD and AF BiH, within their capabilities, legal tasks and limited financial resources, will always be ready to respond to the call. But we are especially pleased to help civilian institutions at all levels of the state and the entities to further develop their capabilities to respond to natural disasters, and maybe one day without our help. "

"Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans are seismically active with the possibility of devastating earthquakes, which we are taught by past experiences, and which is confirmed today. In recent years, we have also witnessed the growing impact of climate change around the world, resulting in loss of life and great material damage. Therefore, there is an increasing need for timely and fast reporting, efficient communication, organization and capacity building to address such extraordinary challenges, "said BiH Security Minister Selmo Cikotic. 

"When a natural or other disaster occurs, the only solution is to be well prepared. We are committed to the coordinated work of all relevant institutions and organizations in order to save lives and prevent suffering. 

"The scenario of the simulation exercise "Coordination 2021", which is realized without field activities, was created as a result of a year of work through a series of workshops on planning exercises in emergency situations, or a devastating earthquake in BiH and neighboring countries. 
The exercise provides an opportunity to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of internal procedures of institutions in BiH.

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