Given and received international assistance
Applying the experience and lessons learned and exchanging best practices and experiences with other relevant departments, the Sector aims to become a modern European service, which would be the leading force in the region with the capacity to help the neighboring countries in case of disasters.
During the emergency situation caused by heavy rain and severe flooding in the Republic of Serbia in May 2014, Republic of Serbia requested international assistance bilaterally and multilaterally, through the European Commission, DG ECHO (Union Mechanism for Civil Protection). In accordance with the Law on Emergency Situations, Sector for Emergency Management of the Ministry of Interior was responsible for all coordination of international teams. Republic of Serbia accepted international assistance from 14 countries – Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Macedonia, Hungary, Germany, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, France, Croatia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic. Serbia has also received a significant humanitarian and financial assistance from many countries, international organizations and private donors.
In addition, pursuant to the Agreement of the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation on cooperation in emergency situations, the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations annually provides assistance in the form of aircrafts for extinguishing open land and forest fires. After the earthquake in Kraljevo in 2010, a large amount of support for eliminating the consequences sent Japan, Russian Federation, Turkey and other countries.
In the past, Serbia has provided assistance to countries in the region. Assistance was provided to Slovenia for the elimination of the consequences of severe weather (2014), as well as to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2012), Greece (2007, 2012) and Montenegro (2008, 2012) in fighting forest fires.
The Office for the Assistance to and Recovery of Flooded Areas
The Government of the Republic of Serbia established the Office for the Assistance to and Recovery of Flooded Areas (hereinafter “The Office”) on 22 May 2014. It was established pursuant to the Article 31 point 1 of the Law on Government (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia” no. 55/05, 71/05 – correction, 101/07, 65/08, 16/11, 68/12 – CC, 72/12, 7/14 – CC and 44/14).
The Office is headed by the Director, appointed for the period of five years. The Director is reporting to the Government of Serbia and the Prime Minister. The Director can propose to the Government appointment of one Deputy for the period of five years. The Office is tasked with expert and operational assignments on behalf of the Government.
In particular, it conducts expert, administrative and operational affairs for the needs of the Government and mutual affairs of the Ministries and special organizations which are related to: coordination, monitoring and reporting in regards of the reception and distribution of the humanitarian and other aid addressed to the Government for the people affected by floods; establishment of standards and criteria, as well as the procedures for the distribution of aid; establishment of periodic and final reports on the aid distributed; coordination and preparation of partial reports and of the single report on the damages assessment; coordination of the preparation of priority, partial plans and of single plan for the recovery of the areas affected by floods; coordination of all necessary preceding activities and coordination of the conduct; monitoring and reporting of the conduct of the recovery plans of the areas affected by floods; coordination of the preparation of priority, partial plans and of single construction plan of the areas affected by floods; coordination of all necessary preceding activities and acts concerning the application of the construction plans for the area affected by floods; coordination, monitoring and reporting regarding the activities of the procurements necessary for the execution of the construction plans; establishment of standards and criteria and procedures of reporting during the realization of the construction plans; coordination, monitoring and reporting regarding the finalized parts of the construction plans; drafting of the periodic and final reports on realization of the construction plans; and all other activities related to the assistance and recovery of the flooded areas and monitoring of the fulfillment of the obligations Ministries, special organizations and Government’s services have regarding the activities of the assistance and recovery of flooded areas.
A new special law is currently being drafted, with a view to formulate procedures for reconstruction and recovery of flooded areas. This law will also stipulate the competences of the Office in more detail. Its promulgation is expected by mid-July 2014.
Regional cooperation on trans-boundary waters
Serbia has demonstrated strong interest in bilateral and multilateral cooperation on trans-boundary waters. Since about 92 % of Serbia’s surface water originates from outside the country’s borders, the Government has a strong incentive to cooperate with other riparian countries on the development and utilization of international waters and enter into arrangements for such purposes. These agreements often include floods protection. To this end, Serbia has become a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR); the International Sava River Basin Commission and the Tisa River Basin Forum. Furthermore, Serbia has signed various regional agreements on water management and protection. This includes: (i) the Danube River Protection Convention; (ii) the Budapest Declaration; (iii) the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin; and (iv) the Convention regarding the regime of navigation on the Danube. Finally, Serbia has signed bilateral water management cooperation agreements with Bulgaria and Hungary.