Today in Mostar, specialized equipment (firefighting, diving, mountaineering) and IT equipment for the Operational Center of Civil Protection in Herzegovina-Neretva County/Canton worth more than 200,000 KM was donated to the rescue services of the BiH civil protection.

The equipment was donated as part of the “Joint response for a better protection and rescue system” project, which is financed by the European Union as part of the Cross-Border Cooperation Program Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro. The delivered equipment and project activities will contribute to the cross-border partnership in improving the system of prevention, intervention and recovery process from disasters caused by climate change in the cross-border area.

Mr. Gianluca Vannini, Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of Delegation of European Union to BiH pointed out that the purpose of this project is to improve the system of prevention and intervention, all with the aim of protecting people and property. “We hope that the equipment provided within this project will further support prevention activities but also a rapid reaction to disasters. We have all witnessed recently how natural disasters can come with a high toll and unannounced. We are reminded that rapid reaction to the disasters and joint efforts are of crucial importance. This region is prone to natural disasters and strengthening its dedicated forces to react promptly is an important task for all levels of authority.”, Vannini pointed out.

Mr. Vaninni emphasized that such initiatives can contribute to strengthening cooperation and joint action in the cross-border area and added that the European Union has allocated significant financial resources to support environmental challenges.

The project will additionally work on the education and training of personnel for field work, through various trainings and intervention exercises, and at today’s event, members of the cross-border mountain rescue services performed a short rescue intervention from heights, in order to show the participants what kind of risks such intervention carry, as well as how important it is to have quality equipment and well-trained staff.

Mr. Eugen Ćubela, acting director of the Directorate for Civil Protection and Firefighting HNC emphasized the importance of strengthening the capacity of emergency services. “The biggest problem we face in the field is the lack of adequate equipment. In July 2022, we established a cross-border partnership, which works intensively on building the capacity of units for the protection and rescue of Herzegovina Neretva Canton and Montenegro. With better and more functional equipment, the services will be better prepared for many interventions. I’m referring to firefighters, mountain rescue services, water and underwater rescue units, as well as other segments of protection and rescue,” Ćubela emphasized.

An additional result of the project, which is extremely important, is regional connection and cross-border cooperation, given that natural disasters do not obey borders, and therefore it is important that emergency services, local communities, institutions and individuals are ready for a timely and adequate reaction, which is precisely one of the goals of the project.

The total value of the project “Joint response for a better system of protection and rescue” is over 590.000 EUR, out of which the European Union provided about 490.000 EUR in grants. Implementation started on 01.07.2022. and will last for 2 years, and it is implemented by the Directorate for Civil Protection and Firefighting of HNC in cooperation with partners: The Entrepreneurship and Business Association LiNK Mostar and the Foundation for the Development of the North of Montenegro (FORS MNE).