For the last few years the activities of the Sector for Emergency Management were targeted at the institutional capacity building of the Sector and strengthening the position of the Sector both nationally and internationally. During 2009, crucial changes happened in the disaster management system in Serbia. The Serbian Government acknowledged the importance of establishment of an integrated emergency and disaster management system, a therefore, within the Ministry of Interior, Sector for Emergency Management (SEM) was established. Sector for Emergency Management (SEM) integrated Protection and Rescue Sector of the Ministry of Interior, Department for Emergency Situations (Civil Protection) of the Ministry of Defence and a number of employees from the Ministry of Environment (from department for chemical accidents) and Department for hail suppression from republican Republican hydrometerological service.
The most important step toward the establishment of an integrated emergency management system was the setting up of a legal framework in this area. On 29 December 2009, the Serbian National Assembly adopted the new Law on Emergency Situations. In accordance with this Law, the Sector coordinates the activities of all state institutions involved in emergency and disaster management. Sector for Emergency Management (SEM) was established in June 2009. It is an independent body within the Ministry of Interior, and the Head of the SEM is directly responsible to the Minister of Interior.
The main tasks of the Sector, in accordance with the new Law, are to protect lives and property in the event of natural or man-made disasters, also to work in the field of disaster risk reduction and emergency prevention and prompt first response in the event of emergencies (natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, storms, heavy rainfall, electric discharges, hailstorms, atmospheric disasters, drought, rock and snow avalanches, accumulations of ice on flowing water, landslides; man-made disasters – fires, explosions, severe damage, traffic accidents, accidents in mines and tunnels, severe damage and accidents that occur in electricity power plants, oil and gas power plants, and facilities where radioactive substances are kept and used i.e. nuclear power plants, and in telecommunication and information systems; hazards for human life and health and the environment due to the effects of hazardous materials, epidemics of contagious diseases, epidemics of contagious diseases for livestock, pests and other vegetable diseases, and similar large scale phenomena that can endanger human life and health and the environment or that can cause extensive damage).