Continuation the EMBER project implementation

On 15 March 2017, the first meeting of two working groups from Serbia and Croatia, under the EMBER project financed by the IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme between Croatia and Serbia, was held at the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The objective of the first meeting in a series of joint ones between Serbian and Croatian partners is to prepare a Joint Action Plan, which would contribute to a more coordinated response in the event of flood risk, based on shared experiences during floods in the border region between Serbia and Croatia in May 2014.

A proposal for the structure of the Joint Action Plan was presented at the meeting, which was discussed in more detail in order to define the steps to prepare it, as well as deadlines for the preparation of the first draft of the Joint Action Plan. Topics like equipping and training of operational forces of civil protection units, joint field exercises of operational forces of civil protection units and joint exercises of emergency headquarters envisaged in the EMBER project activities are recognized as a significant part of the Joint Action Plan. An additional item of the plan foresees an analysis of opportunities to submit joint projects under calls for proposals supporting the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union and access to other funds.

Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to exchange experiences acquired during the catastrophic floods of 2014. The representatives of water management companies and participants of civil protection systems from both countries discussed the measures undertaken in flood protection and pointed out positive and negative examples. Also, the participants particularly discussed about the experience of local governments in the process of evacuation during floods and indicated that continual improvement on strengthening communication in flood affected areas was absolutely necessary.

The meeting was led by Gordana Jakovljević, Project Coordinator on behalf of the European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Danijela Barišić, Project Manager representing the Vukovar-Srijem County. The meeting was attended by the project team members from partner institutions, Provincial Government Secretariat, European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Provincial Secretariat for Economy and Tourism, as well as members of the working group established in the project, representatives of the PWMC “Vode Vojvodine” Novi Sad and Municipality of Šid. In addition, the meeting was attended by the representatives of partner institutions from Croatia, Vukovar-Srijem County and the National Protection and Rescue Directorate and members of the working group representing the company “Hrvatske vode”,and the Red Cross. The next meeting will be held in Vukovar during April.