To provide adequate prevention and be more ready to react effectively in case of disasters, 18 cities and municipalities from the West Morava basin, which is especially exposed to the risk of floods, earthquakes and landslides, signed the Agreement on Inter-Municipal Cooperation today. Thus, these local self-government units also formed a joint service for civil protection affairs, which will coordinate prevention measures and an early warning and reaction system on the territory of the entire basin, where 800,000 citizens live. The seat of the joint service for civil protection affairs will be in Krusevac, within the local self-government, and all municipalities will finance its work in the West Morava basin.

The signing of the Agreement on Inter-Municipal Cooperation and the establishment of a joint civil protection service were supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, the Ministry of European Integration, the Office for Public Investment Management and the United Nations Development Program) in Serbia. I am proud of European solidarity and consistent support to Serbia in managing and preventing natural disasters, including the pandemic, said N.E. Sam Fabrizi, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, adding: Together with Serbia, we made sure that the state was able to respond and recover from the risk of floods and other disasters. Since 2014, the EU has awarded more than € 170 million in grants for flood recovery and prevention alone. We also helped with an additional 66 million euros in donations during the current health crisis in the best possible way: either by transporting medical and protective equipment or purchasing them, or even by financing the employment of Serbian medical staff in public institutions across the country. No matter what the emergency situation is and when it happens – the EU is here to help Serbia and its people. “I am proud that today we are joining forces with 18 municipalities in order to support stronger coordination and prevention in emergency situations in the West Morava basin,” said Ambassador Fabrizi. “In crisis situations, UNDP is always present on the ground, where it provides support to citizens and local authorities to overcome emergencies faster and easier. In addition, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia and in partnership with the European Union, we help national and local institutions to better prepare for possible challenges, in order to act preventively in time and be more prepared for future crises and disasters. I hope that we will soon see many more initiatives like this in Serbia in the West Morava basin, which can serve as an example to other local communities, “said Francine Pickup, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia. The Director of the Office for Public Investment Management, Marko Blagojević, pointed out: “The joint action of municipalities and cities in reducing the risk of disasters represents a great step forward from the previous practice.” Teamwork, joint financing and coordinated action of local self-government units represent the most efficient way to protect people’s lives and property and reduce the consequences of natural and other disasters to an acceptable minimum. In order to make our communities and infrastructure more resilient to all future disasters, the Public Investment Management Office implements all investments and renovation programs in cooperation with local governments, recognizing risks in the local context, and preventing possible consequences through modern technological and architectural solutions. By investing in people, equipment and infrastructure, synergy at the national and local levels, we build a society capable of resisting many adversities and a spirit of community. ” “Local self-governments are the most important link in the timely reaction to emergency situations, because they are the first to be hit and the first must react in the protection of citizens.” The Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government supported the signing of an agreement between 18 local self-governments in the West Morava Basin in order to unite and start cooperation in order to detect and facilitate crisis management due to natural disasters as soon as possible. ” and local governments. After the ceremonial signing of the Agreement on Inter-Municipal Cooperation, a joint exercise of the civil protection units of the West Morava Basin and the Mountain Rescue Service (GSS) was held. The project “EU for Serbia Disaster Resistant”, implemented by UNDP, envisages the procurement of equipment and vehicles for civil protection units and the GSS, equipping a training center and holding trainings. The total value of this donation from the European Union is 1.2 million euros.

Thanks to the support of the European Union, civil protection units have already been provided with 900 sets of uniforms and 600 meters of three-layer mobile dams for flood defense, with a total value of around 550,000 euros, for engagement in emergency situations. At the beginning of next year, in partnership with the City of Kraljevo, UNDP will start the construction and equipping of the Training Center for the training of general purpose civil protection units, which will be located in Rudno. For this purpose, the European Union provided 600,000 euros.

The Mountain Rescue Service (GSS) has also received new vehicles, uniforms and equipment from the EU, which will enable rescuers to be efficient even in hard-to-reach areas. 2 off-road vehicles, a 9-seater minibus, snowmobiles, as well as telecommunication equipment, stretchers, climbing safety equipment and rescue uniforms are provided for the GSS. This EU donation is worth 200,000 euros. In the second half of this year, specialised trainings will be held for members of the Mountain Rescue Service in accordance with European standards.