In April 2022 there was large-scale field civil protection exercise held in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the Regional IPA project ResponSEE. Civil protection forces that participated in the exercise were playing response to a massive earthquake. The event included the participation of professional civil protection units from both entities and Brcko District of BiH, as well as units from neighbouring and other countries (Austria, Romania, Italy, Montenegro, Albania, etc) as well as international organisations present in country, such as Save the Children, WorldVision, OSCE, UN agencies and EU.
The exercise was very successful, and it was great opportunity to present the progress which the country has made on its path towards a full membership in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism.
The exercise was observed by, amongst others, Mr. Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, in charge of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, and European Emergency Response Coordinator.
Thanks to the high level of readiness shown by Bosnia-Herzegovina during this exercise, immediately after his return to Brussels, Commissioner Lenarcic initiated the procedure of the country to accessi the UCPM. In only three months, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European Commission reached an administrative agreement with which the UCPM joining procedure had been negotiated. The agreement was signed on 9 September 2022.
However, a full membership in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism is not the final target for Bosnia-Herzegovina civil protection. It will continue to develop and improve. Next goal to be achieved, with full financial support from the EU, is production of a feasibility study for the 112 number in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project has been launched in January 2023 and it is expected to last 6 months.
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