News 2017

25 April 2017

Balkan Symposium of German Defence Attachés

) A two-day Balkan Symposium, gathering German defence attachés based in the SEE region, started at RACVIAC - Centre for Security on Monday, 24 April 2017, with the purpose of discussing the current security and political situation in the region.

RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Croatia, Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, and H.E. Thomas Eberhard Schultze, German Ambassador to Croatia, attended the Symposium Opening ceremony.

The second day of the Symposium started with a presentation on RACVIAC. Ambassador Berk provided an explanation related to the RACVIAC Programme of activities planned for 2017 and plans for the future. Ambassador emphasized that the Centre serves as a platform for SEE countries to exchange knowledge, and harmonize practices, rules and procedures as well as for capability development in security field. Networking is another important aspect of RACVIAC overall aims aimed at getting to know each other and cooperating more efficiently on different security matters, he added.

)Talking about the increasing security challenges such as migration, terrorism and cybercrime Ambassador Berk said that they represent the most important topics RACVIAC is dealing with currently, thus enhancing cooperation and establishment of trust among the countries.

At the end Ambassador Berk took once more the opportunity to express his appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany as an Associate Member of RACVIAC for being a reliable, and invaluable supporter of the Centre, both financially and in terms of expertise, since its inception. He also thanked to German authorities for choosing RACVIAC premises for their Symposium.

24 April 2017

Cyber Security Course starts at RACVIAC

) Five day's course entitled „Cyber Security: Training on WMD Cyber Crimes Investigations” co-organized by RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and United States Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), with financial support of the Federal Republic of Germany started on 24 April 2017.

Aim of the Course is to instruct nontechnical investigators on the fundamental skills needed to exploit digital technology to combat criminal activities, the proliferation of WMD, and the misuse of dual-use materials and technologies. For the purpose of this Course, digital technology includes the Internet, digital media, communication devices, wireless technology, social media and other related technologies.

)Opening the Course Ambassador Haydar Berk, Director of RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation said that „Cyber space, commonly recognized as the battlefield of future, perhaps already is. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop the capabilities in our region, to be well prepared to protect our countries’ critical infrastructure, to detect and to take necessary measures against illegal, criminal cyber activity, against terrorism or other forms of destabilizing attacks. Close regional and wider cooperation and networking is the only way for a strong response to todays’ challenges to security, leading to building of trust and confidence, harmony and enhanced synergy in our region”, added Ambassador Berk.

Greeting the participants on behalf of United States Defence Threat Reduction Agency Mr. Russell Dallas underlined that cyber domain is very demanding since it changes all the time and touches everything in our lives, not only the investigations but every day’s aspect of our lives.

)The course is organized based on the conclusions made following a series of activities organized within the C-WMD Network, where cyber issues were identified as a common, contemporary threat to the security. This Course supports the development of C-WMD national strategies, therefore, some of the participants are representatives of the C-WMD core drafting/working group.

Over the next five days participants will learn about the current cyber environment and the technologies presently employed by cyber experts to further criminal investigations. In doing so, participants will be introduced to, and gain limited competency in, cutting-edge, open-source software and tools that help investigators analyse data from devices, digital media, or social networks. Participants will also be introduced to the realm of future technology, including the use of the Darknet, botnets/malware, and cryptocurrencies.

18 April 2017

RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk visits the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia

) On 18 April 2017 Ambassador Haydar Berk, Director of RACVIAC, upon the invitation of H.E. Andreja Katič, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia, made a working visit to the Ministry of Defence. During the meeting, H.E. Minister Katič highlighted that Slovenia will continue to support RACVIAC's endevaours in strenghtening regional security with available resources and capabilities. Ambassador Berk expressed his thanks and appreciation for the strong support that Slovenia is providing to RACVIAC and for Slovenia`s active participation in the meetings and workshops. Ambassador Berk underlined the importance of increasing RACVIAC’s connectivity and cooperation with NATO, the EU, OSCE and other relevant organizations and institutions. He emphasized that the organization is in a continuous process of adapting its activities according to the needs of the regional countries. Thus RACVIAC’s activities covers regional and global security challenges through a wide spectrum of activities from CBMs, security sector reforms and gender perspectives to counter transnational security threats such as terrorism, proliferation of WMDs, organized crime, all forms of illicit trafficking and cyber security.

Ambassador Berk attended a working lunch hosted by the Director General of the Defence Policy Directorate Mr. Aleš Mišmaš, where security situation in the region and RACVIAC’s efforts were taken up. Ambassador Berk also met with Matej Marn, Political Director / Director-General for Common Foreign and Security Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Berk acquainted Political Director Marn / Director-General for Common Foreign and Security Policy, with the ongoing RACVIAC activities and projects.

)Political Director Marn expressed satisfaction for RACVIAC excellent work, and confidence in more active participation of MFA in RACVIAC activities. Since Slovenia will assume the presidency of SEECP in the second half of 2017, Slovenia will continue to promote and support the activities organised by RACVIAC. Ambassador Berk underlined the importance of regional ownership and that RACVIAC will continue, through the implementation of its Programme, strenghtening confidence and trust, promoting cooperation and stability in the SEE region

12 April 2017

Greek Ambassador Visits RACVIAC

) On Wednesday, 12 April 2017, H.E. Mr. Stergios Tsiepas, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hellenic Republic to the Republic of Croatia, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation.

The guest was welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić and members of RACVIAC staff.

After a presentation on RACVIAC, Ambassador Berk provided an explanation related to the RACVIAC Programme of activities planned for 2017 and plans for the future. Ambassador Berk emphasized that the Centre, apart from the training and education that it provides, serves as an excellent platform for SEE countries to exchange knowledge, ideas and lessons learned on. Networking is another important aspect of RACVIAC overall aims aimed at harmonizing practices, rules and procedures in getting to know each other and cooperating more efficiently on different security matters, he added.

)Talking about the increasing security challenges such as migration and border management Ambassador Tsiepas said that the cooperation and establishment of trust among the countries is crucial, particularly through sending experts and sharing of best practices. Expressing the readiness to remain a reliable Member and supporter of the Centre, Ambassador Tsiepas said that Greece will explore ways how to contribute more actively.

10 April 2017

Seventh C-WMD National Strategy Development Project Workshop starts in RACVIAC

) The seventh C-WMD National Strategy Development Project Workshop entitled “Dual-Use Technology, Emergent Technology, and Terrorism” has started in RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation on 10 April 2017.

The activity is a continuation of a series of events organized within the framework of the C-WMD Network as a result of cooperation between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the International Counterproliferation Program (ICP), the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and the Republic of Croatia.

With the aim to go on supporting the development of C-WMD National Strategies and Action Plans the purpose of this Workshop is to present the challenge that dual-use goods and emerging technologies pose to counterproliferation regimes, as well as to discuss emerging technology and intangible technology transfers and the proliferation aspects of terrorism. Furthermore, the event will provide an opportunity to continue with the well-established practice of peer reviewing the progress in the development of C-WMD national strategies and to exercise concepts through a PSI table-top exercise.

)In his opening address RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, said that this is a unique project in which we are joining our efforts to continuously improve our ability to face the shared security challenges. He stressed that RACVIAC, together with its partners, stands ready to continue to work together and assist the countries by bringing to the table specific knowledge that will assure a well–working national strategy and, in the end, a more secure region.

Welcoming the participants on behalf of DTRA, Rear Admiral Scott Jarabek, DTRA Deputy Director, said that the joint effort of RACVIAC, DTRA, and the Croatian Government in creating national C-WMD Strategies is praiseworthy and essential, not only for the SEE countries but also for the safety of the entire world. He continued by saying that many participating countries have completed their draft Strategies that are not only supporting their national interests but are mutually supporting on a regional scale as well.

)The Workshop has gathered more than 50 participants, namely the national drafting team/working group experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Kosovo**.

The event is designed as an expert forum and it will be conducted through open discussions, case studies, presentations by experts, and a four-phased PSI table-top exercise.

07 April 2017

37th MAG Meeting held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

)On 6 April 2017 the 37th MAG Meeting, the semi-annual meeting of RACVIAC steering body the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG), was held in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Meeting was organized by the Chairmanship of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was officially opened by the current MAG Chairperson Ambassador Branimir Mandic from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Welcoming the participants Ambassador Haydar Berk, Director of RACVIAC, thanked all MAG countries, other participants and partners for outstanding support and cooperation during last year emphasizing that their continuous support will undoubtedly further strengthen and broaden RACVIAC activities aimed at fostering dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South East Europe.

)The Meeting Agenda consisted of a brief presentation of the Director’s Annual Report 2016 which was provided by Ambassador Haydar Berk, who highlighted the most important points in the reporting period.

Pursuant to the Agenda the Meeting continued with a session related to detailed information on the realization of the RACVIAC 2016 Programme, current status of 2017 Programme and projections for 2018, delivered by the Programme Managers from each RACVIAC Pillar and the C-WMD Network Programme Leader.

)In addition to that RACVIAC Chief of Admin & Finance Cell informed MAG about all relevant issues regarding RACVIAC Budget for 2016 and 2017, as well as projections for 2018 and beyond. The last presentation was given by the Deputy Director who informed the participants about the implementation of the organizational structure and provided a brief overview of the current RACVIAC personnel situation.

03 April 2017

Basic Aeronautical Search and Rescue Course begins in RACVIAC

)Basic Aeronautical Search and Rescue Course, organized in partnership with the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (NPRD) of the Republic of Croatia, started today in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The Course is building up on the earlier RACVIAC and NPRD efforts in the Search, Rescue and Protection domain and the constant need for capacity building and improvements.

The purpose of the Course is to increase the capacities of the relevant public institutions in civil emergency response as well as to further enhance the cooperation among homologue institutions in South East Europe. More specifically, the activity will focus on the ways how to explore the concrete needs of each participating SAR institution related to aeronautical SAR, in order to launch comprehensive regional SAR development actions by providing expertise and best practices delivered by the Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organization (JAATO) representative Mr. Brian Brophy. In addition, this activity will also focus on identifying and listing the potential needs of the countries (e.g., education, exercise, coordination) and encourage and develop possible regional and cross border cooperation through SAR operations.

)Opening the activity RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, said that “the activity will be utilized to explore potential future steps in the field of Search and Rescue in SEE and initiate the establishment of a regional Search and Rescue Functional Network with the aim to enhance mutual assistance among Search and Rescue services and optimize the use of Search and Rescue resources in case of disasters. The close regional and wider cooperation among the SEE countries through dialogue and various forms of coordination is a strong response to today’s challenges to international security and defence policy, leading to building of confidence and security among the countries”, emphasized Ambassador Berk.

On behalf of the NPRD, Mr. Davor Spevec, Head of sector, State Information and Communication System of Protection and Rescue, underlined that “Next to quality cooperation, continuous education and training is also an important guideline for building a successful aeronautical search and rescue system for which NPRD, according to the recommendations of the International airline legislations, is trying to establish an education system which will cover all levels of system coordination and their associated functions with appropriate dedicated courses.”

)The Course has brought together more than 30 regional representatives, comprising civilian and military personnel, of the relevant institutions from South East Europe dealing with Search and Rescue activities: Defence/Armed forces, National RCC authorities, National Directorates for Protection and Search, Civil Aviation Authorities, ministries of the interior, Civil Emergency Management Authorities, etc.

27 March 2017

Dayton Article IV Orientation Course begins at RACVIAC

)The ‘Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (Dayton Article IV)’- Orientation Course began at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on Monday, 27 March 2017. The Course has been organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation since 2001 with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is based on the provisions of the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control pursuant to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BA, Annex I-B, Article IV.

The purpose of this Course is to instruct the designated individuals on how to successfully perform their duties as inspectors and/or escorts pursuant to the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control and to establish a common understanding of the Agreement in order to foster mutual trust and confidence as well as transparency during the performance of inspections.

)In the beginning this Course was co-organized by RACVIAC and the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Article IV of Annex 1B of the Dayton Peace Accords but in 2014 Signatory Parties took ownership of the Regional Arms Control, Dayton Article IV Agreement thus assuming responsibility for its further development in cooperation with the international partners.

In his opening address RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk stated that “We are all aware that constructive dialogue and close cooperation, as well as a common approach to security issues, are the crucial prerequisites for achieving peace and stability in the region and beyond. Peace and stability are the main goals of the concept of comprehensive and cooperative security consciously advocated by RACVIAC, and it is our belief that this Course can make a contribution in that regard by serving as an excellent tool for increasing openness and transparency amongst our countries”, added Ambassador Berk.

)The Course will last 4 working days and it will consist of a theoretical and a practical part. The practical part of this year’s Course will be held at the Croatian Land Forces units at the military barracks “3. gardijska brigada ‘KUNE’” in Đakovo, and the military barracks ‘Našice’, in Našice. It will involve a training inspection of a Declared Site, enabling the participants, previously divided into two teams, to practice their roles as inspectors or escorts.

The Course has gathered more than 30 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Kosovo**, and the OSCE.

* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. (In accordance with Arrangements regarding regional representation and cooperation.)

14 March 2017

Diversity and Inclusion in the Security Sector Conference held in RACVIAC

)"Diversity and Inclusion in the Security Sector - Key Leadership Conference" organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung is being held in Hotel "Westin Zagreb", from 13 – 14 March 2017.

The purpose of this activity is to support the promotion of diversity and inclusion Management concepts in security sector institutions, with an emphasis on the integration of gender perspectives and equal opportunity policies by introducing different experiences and benefits that this approach generates in Security sector organizations in the context of initiated reforms and designated ongoing missions and objectives. This event is a continuation of the established series of annual activities launched in 2013, aimed towards enabling comprehensive discussions on diversity and inclusion challenges, strategies and policies for the Security sector in SEE.

)Welcoming the participants, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk said that “It is obvious that there are still lot of barriers, cultural, traditional and structural regarding inclusion of diverse perspectives and expansion of the role and impact of women especially in security sector domain. However, I also believe that the mind-set is the key to overcome issues present in this field. Actions should not focus only on bringing more women in security sector, but we need to recognize that advocacy by men at leadership positions is the most important factor for fostering gender inclusion and gender equality”. He added that “this is not only a women issue but an essential part of achieving good governance and building effective security sector. It is a force multiplier”.

On behalf of Konrad Adenuer Stftung Dr. Michael Lange said that inclusiveness and diversity management, especially socio –cultural diversity, represents a challenge for leadership to create an environment free of prejudices and inequalities.

)General Mirko Šundov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, in his opening address spoke about the inclusiveness of women in Croatian Armed Forces emphasizing their important role in all activities and tasks not only in Croatia but also in the missions and operation abroad. General also mentioned that this Conference and related activities “will contribute to strengthening the role of women in the security sector and in particular on leadership duties. I believe in, and I want to build armed forces that will respect diversity and at the same time maintain the unity of the system in which everyone can achieve their full potential in accordance with their capabilities, while taking into consideration the need to maintain appropriate operational skills.” He concluded that only by women and men working together “we create a synergy we need in order to find solutions on how to deal with the emergence of challenges and threats of present times.”

)Conference key-note speech was delivered by Ambassador Marriët Schuurman, the NATO Secretary General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security. At the beginning Ambassador Schuurman explained why gender equality matters to NATO, saying that: " It is fundamental for what we are, for the world we defend, and hence for the transformation we embarked on in order to be up to the challenges of today". NATO's end state of this approach "is that gender literacy is a defining aspect of our professionalism; that gender analysis is a basic tool in the toolbox of every security provider and decision maker; that gender capacity is a core capability; that our institutions recruit and promote on the basis of merit, not gender - when we have moved from the ‘first ever’ female commander to female commanders and soldiers as the new normal, and a sign of excellence" pointed out Ambassador Schuurman.

)This two-day event has gathered more than 80 participants, senior level executives from the national security sector institutions, national focal points, members of the diplomatic and academic community, civil society organizations dealing with equal opportunity policies and corresponding components of human rights strategies in the security sector and subject matter experts, such as Commander and Senior Military representative of NATO HQ in Sarajevo BG Giselle M. Wilz, DCAF Assistant Director and Head of Gender and Security Division Mr Daniel De Torres, Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Croatia H.E. Mr. Daniel Maksymiuk, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights representative Ms Ewa Sapiezynska, George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies Professor CDR Andreas Hildenbrand, UNDP - SEESAC Senior Programme Coordinator Ms Bojana Balon etc.

The event has been conducted in the form of conference briefings, panel discussions and corresponding round tables regarding fundamental dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the security sector thus providing key leadership with the opportunity to understand the essential elements of diversity and inclusion concepts in the context of long-term benefits for their organizations, its missions, individuals - organization members and, ultimately, the society within which they act. The participants are also given the opportunity to share their own experiences in order to establish a wider picture on the given topics.

08 March 2017

Changing the Discourse Among Men on Gender Equality - "Barbershop" held in Vienna

)Permanent Mission of Iceland to the OSCE organized, with the support from Canada, Croatia, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia and the OSCE Gender Section, an event on 7 March 2017 in Vienna on Changing the Discourse Among Men on Gender Equality. It was done in the concept called "the Barbershop" which is developed by Iceland at the United Nations in New York in 2015 in cooperation with Surinam. The main idea behind the concept is to provide a setting for men-to-men discussions about their own role, privileges and behaviors in realizing women's rights and gender equality.

The key speaker at the event was Dr. Michael Kimmel, a noted scholar on men and masculinities and a distinguished Professor of Sociology at Stony Brooks University at New York.

)The Deputy Director of RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation, BG Gordana Garasic, participated in the first panel as a speaker sharing her experience on being woman in a men's world and what can be done in order to "walk the talk" when we speak of equal opportunities.

Changes have to start with leadership and they have to be held accountable. The same is true for corporate environment and environment in international organizations. Human resources agencies and departments have to find ways to fight "unconscious bias" when recruiting, selecting for promotions and top assignments. The example of recruiting for symphony orchestra was given to illustrate the point: in USA gender ratio of students on musical academies is 50-50, but almost 70 percent hired are men. Only after experiment where student on audition were hidden behind the curtain and carpet on the floor (so committee couldn't hear high heels!), the ratio of hired students was also 50-50.

Other speakers at the Barbershop included: Col Magnus Bratt, Military Adviser of Sweden to OSCE, Robert Baker, Senior Partner and Global Client Director at Mercer, London, UK, Terje Hagen, Director, Department of Human Resources, OSCE, Jean-Francois Lacasse, Deputy Permanent Representative, Delegation of Canada and Islandic Ambassador to OSCE, Greta Gunnarsdottir.

06 March 2017

Vienna Document 2011 Verification and Compliance Course held in Budapest

)The 'Vienna Document 2011 Verification and Compliance Course' organized by RACVIAC - Center for Security Cooperation and hosted by the HU Ministry of Defence began on March 6, 2017 in Budapest.

Vienna Document constitute a part of the conventional arms control and confidence and security building regimes which remain major instruments for ensuring military stability, predictability and transparency, and should be a living document, updated and modernized. In order to facilitate the implementation of the provision of the Vienna Document, RACVIAC has been organizing this course for the countries of the South East European region since 2001. The main purpose of this Course is to provide participants with a theoretical overview of the Vienna Document 2011, providing a comprehensive analysis of both the theoretical and practical level of the implementation of these activities.

)Opening the Course, Mr. Gyorgy Rabai, Head of Defence Policy Section, HU MOD, welcomed efforts of the RACVIAC – Center for Security Cooperation in fostering the dialog in the SEE region and emphasized the importance of conventional arms control and confidence and security building regimes in Europe. He told the audience that we are going to show the real life at a real unit.

In her speech, BG Gordana Garašić, Deputy Director of RACVIAC – Center for Security Cooperation, emphasized the importance of the Vienna Document 2011 as the only document that is composed of politically binding confidence and security-building measures designed to increase openness and transparency concerning military activities conducted inside the OSCE's zone of application. With the last issues of the VD' 11 the OSCE participating States expressed their will to restore trust and confidence in the politico-military dimension and called on participating States to work in a spirit of openness and to foster cooperation by building mutual understanding. She emphasized the necessity to substantially update and modernize the Vienna Document in line with the changes in the security environment flavored with new technological developments in the military sphere.

)Mr. Istvan Balogh, Head of the Section Policy and Non-Proliferation Department, HU MFAT, explained to the audience the Hungarian Foreign and Security Policy.

The course is designed as a combination of theoretical and practical activities planned to be carried out in Budapest (the theoretical part) and a practical part to conduct a training evaluation visit in the 86th Helicopter Base in Szolnok, Hungary. Representatives from Member countries are participating in this course, as well as distinguish lecturers from the Republic of Austria, Hungary, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Serbia and NATO.

03 March 2017

Second Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SEECP Participants

)The informal meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SEECP Participants was held in Zagreb, 2-3 March, 2017, under Croatian Chairmanship. RACVIAC-Center for Security Cooperation was represented by Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, and Deputy Director, BG Gordana Garašić.

RCC and representative from EEAS were also represented at the meeting. SEECP Countries representatives were exchanging views on the current situation and latest developments in SEE and they were discussing on ways and modalities in which SEECP cooperation experience can best be used to overcome present challenges and maximize joint opportunities, particularly in the sector of connectivity, communication, transport and energy. It was stated that no single country can solve some of the challenges and fight against threats such are: terrorism, radicalization, foreign terrorist fighters, uncontrolled and irregular migration. The only solution is cooperation but pragmatic one and better connectivity. EU enlargement process must stay open for all countries who will meet the necessary standards, the same goes for membership in NATO, too.

During his statement, Ambassador Berk, emphasized the important role that RACVIAC plays in the region concerning the security and stability through dialog and cooperation. The priority to improve awareness, cooperation and building capacity is especially given in the areas of countering terrorism, countering WMD, foreign terrorist fighters, cyber security, border security and management, security sector transformation including integration of gender perspectives in security sector. At the same time, traditional activities in arms control area are conducted, too. It is the only organization in SEE conducting courses on subregional arms control and on verification and compliance of the Vienna Document 11. In order to cope with the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, he suggested that short and long term rehabilitation and reintegration programs and mechanisms to deal with those individuals who have been identified and prosecuted as foreign terrorist fighters and particularly with their families, should be established. So far, effective mechanisms to tackle this issue do not exist.

Click here to download the SEECP Meeting_Zagreb March 2017_Joint Statement (chapter 7 is emphasizing the role of RACVIAC).

01 March 2017

Border Security and Management Seminar

)The Border Security and Management Seminar, organized by RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation and hosted by MK Ministry of Defence began on March 1, 2017 in Skopje.

The Seminar is continuation of the border security and management events jointly conducted by RACVIAC, DCAF Office Ljubljana and the OSCE Border Security and Management Unit. This time activity consists of two parts: lectures and discussions on the first day, and the study field trip to a refugee camp on the second day.

The topic of border security and management caught special attention during the unprecedented flow of migrants in 2015 and the challenges that law enforcement authorities have become increasingly diversified. Border security and management is a matter of the national sovereignty and responsibility of States, however, such challenges nowadays can be effectively prevented and tackled through interagency and international cooperation, only. In that sense, sharing of good practices, cross-border dialogue, transparency and confidence-building constitute the first logical steps towards generating solutions. The importance of exchanging information among states and their agencies is crucial, and that has been pointed out by all speakers.

This kind of activity presents a good opportunity for identifying and sharing lessons learned among border security and management officials attending and contributing to Seminar. Furthermore, the Border Security and Management Concept of the OSCE has been presented together with projects developed by DCAF in this area. That was followed by presentations of national experiences.

)The Seminar was opened by Ms. Elizabeta Chupovska Ristova, State Secretary of the MOD, MK, and BG Gordana Garašić, deputy director of RACVIAC-Centre of Security Cooperation. Ambassador Nina Suomalainen, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje shortly presented the work of the OSCE Mission in MK which was followed by expert presentation. Seminar keynote speech was delivered by Ms. Rasa Ostrauskaite, Head of Transnational Threats Department in the OSCE. The scope of work of her Department includes numerous threats: trafficking and smuggling of human beings, goods, drugs, weapons, even cultural property, border management, cyber security and terrorism in all its shapes. The challenge is to build modern proactive police force that will be able to deal effectively with threats and OSCE is engaged in police development and reform, on one hand, and in building capacities, on the other hand. One of the very important achievements is forming of National Focal Points network (now exist in 52 countries of OSCE) that enables exchanging of information. Transnational Threats Department deals also with the issue of foreign terrorist fighters and they are addressing it by forming three mobile training teams that are training frontline officers in different countries. Not less important is to mention that border management includes gender equality platform too, and they provide online training together with SEESAC.

16 February 2017

Peer Review Seminar on OSCE Code of Conduct Starts at RACVIAC

)On Thursday, 16 February 2017, a „Peer Review Seminar on OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security“ started at RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. This two-day event is organized in cooperation with the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry of National Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria.

The main purpose of the event is to facilitate consultations with experts on the implementation of the values and standards outlined in the OSCE Code of Conduct in SEE countries during the reviewed period. The primary aim is to bring together governmental experts who will analyze past experiences and discuss the implementation of the OSCE CoC in SEE among themselves ("peer" format type of event).

)Opening the Seminar H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, said: "No matter how deeply the countries of South East Europe are engaged in Security Sector Reform, the OSCE Code of Conduct will continue to be a valuable tool in keeping track of the democratic changes they have made. He also stressed that, „at its core, the Code of Conduct also imposes upon the participating States the commitment to co-operate, including through the development of sound economic and environmental conditions, as well as to counter tensions that may lead to conflicts.“ “By organizing this event our intention was to continue to facilitate your consultations with the OSCE experts on the implementation of the values and standards outlined in the Code for 2016 as the most recent reviewing period”, added Ambassador Berk.

)OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation Coordinator for the Code of Conduct LtCdr Vučić Bošković said that “RACVIAC is widely recognized as an organization that contributes to the security and stability of SEE and this peer review Conference has been seen as an additional confidence security building measure which compensates for the lack of analysis of the (Code of Conduct) questionnaires, due to financial and human resources limitations in most participating States, to asses voluminous replies independently, and due to limitations of the CPC that in accordance with its mandate it can only provide statistical data excluding any assessments.”

Mr Christian Wägli, on behalf of the OSCE Secretariat, Conflict Prevention Centre, underlined that “Code of Conduct remains an unparalleled norm-setting instrument for democratic control of the Armed forces in the OSCE area and beyond” and that this is an excellent opportunity to discuss an information exchange and to hear how it is being compiled in the SEE region.

)H.E. Andreas Wiedenhoff, Austrian Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia said that “Today, we live in a completely different security environment compared back to 2000. This is true globally, but also in the RACVIAC region itself. Our world has grown more complex, difficult and insecure. Challenges are largely transnational. Thus, the responses can generally not only be national. Strong regional co-operation is the way forward. This makes the work of RACVIAC all the more important. RACVIAC has, in its work, succeeded to continuously adapt to new challenges and to represent this regional spirit on a daily basis” pointed out Ambassador Wiedenhoff.

The Seminar has gathered more than 30 participants from the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Kosovo**, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, and Republic of Serbia, as well as several experts from OSCE and DCAF.

)“The 2017 Peer Review Seminar on the OSCE Code of Conduct in South-Eastern Europe (SEE)” is a part of a series of similar events which became a RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation midterm project co-organized with and supported by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre. The event series was initiated in 2012 with a Seminar that had the main purpose to raise awareness about commitments and to discuss experiences and challenges regarding practical implementation and then continued with the Seminar for parliamentarians in 2013, a similar Workshop in 2014 and a Conference in 2016 that supported the implementation of the CoC values and standards in the SEE region and beyond, thereby expanding knowledge about its main objectives.

* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. (In accordance with Arrangements regarding regional representation and cooperation.)

14 February 2017

Financial Agreement for 2017 Signed with Federal Republic of Germany

)On 14 February 2017, H.E. Thomas E. Schultze, the German Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, and H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, signed the Financial Agreement between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and the Federal Republic of Germany for the year 2017.

With this Agreement, the Federal Republic of Germany allocated funds which will be used to support RACVIAC activities, covering the costs of seminars, courses and workshops, especially within the RACVIAC "Cooperative Security Environment (CSE), with focus on Arms Control" Pillar.

)RACVIAC’s CSE Pillar, aiming at contributing to enhancing confidence and cooperation among security forces in the region, focuses primarily on the training and education of arms control experts in order to lay the groundwork for implementing arms control agreements and treaties such as the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (Dayton Article IV) and Convention on Cluster Munitions as well as Physical Security and Stockpile Management Seminar and Arms Control Symposium. Additionally, this year Gender Training of the Trainers Course will be supported by Germany in order to enhance implementation of gender perspective in the security sector in SEE.

Federal Republic of Germany, an Associate Member of RACVIAC, has been a constant, invaluable supporter of the organization since its inception not only financially but also in terms of expertise.

09 February 2017

Ambassador of Romania Visits RACVIAC

)On Thursday, 09 February 2017, H.E. Mr. Constantin-Mihail Grigorie, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by Mr. Florian Antohi, Minister Counsellor, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić and RACVIAC senior staff members.

)After a presentation on RACVIAC, Ambassador Berk provided an explanation related to the development of RACVIAC Programme of activities, activities planned for 2017 and plans for the future.

Expressing the readiness to remain a reliable Member and supporter of the Centre, Ambassador Grigoriu said that Romania, as an initiator of the Energy Security Project, which was launched in 2015, will continue to contribute to the Centre in the field of energy security, in order to share experiences at the regional level and facilitate a common understanding of the concept of energy security in SEE.

Ambassador Grigoriu showed interest in RACVIAC activities particularly related to Cyber Security and Border Management and expressed his willingness to strengthen cooperation between RACVIAC and Romania.

03 February 2017

Albanian Ambassador and Defence Attaché Visit RACVIAC

)On Friday 03 February 2017, H.E. Ilir Melo, the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the Republic of Croatia and Albanian Defence Attaché Colonel Leonard Coku visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

The guests met with RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk and Deputy Director, Brigadier General Gordana Garašić. Ambassador Berk informed the guests about RACVIAC ongoing work and future plans, touching upon the long-term partnership the RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation has had with the Republic of Albania.

Taking into account RACVIAC mission and its role in the region, H.E. Ilir Melo availed himself of this opportunity to reassure RACVIAC of Republic of Albania’s partnership and continued support. He showed interest in RACVIAC current activities and plans for the forthcoming period adding that the Republic of Albania, as a RACVIAC Member, will indeed continue to support RACVIAC in the times to come thus fulfilling the mutual goal of enhancing security and cooperation in the SEE region.

01 February 2017

Fourteenth Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop Begins in RACVIAC

)Workshops focusing on the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) started in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 01 February. This Workshop is a continuation of fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which kicked off in 2004, and promotes the implementation of the CWC in South-Eastern Europe.

Opening the event RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk noted that “the CWC Workshop represents one of the most important annual activities of our Organization, and this year we are delighted to host this Workshop for the fourteenth time in a row.” Ambassador Berk, furthermore, stressed that “the purpose of this Workshop is to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and to provide a broad overview of the CWC implementation procedures with specific focus on the ways in which different agencies may come together and work effectively in a chemical emergency setting. This year, therefore, the main focus will be on the inter-agency coordination in chemical response”.

On behalf of the OPCW Mr Guy Valente, Project Officer, Assistance and Protection Branch of the OPCW, expressed his highest appreciation to RACVIAC for hosting of this Workshop. “Events such as these are necessary in order to sensitize the Members as regards their rights and obligations under the CWC, and are also crucial for sharing of ideas and strengthening of bilateral relationships in the region”, pointed out Mr Valente.

The Workshop serves as a forum for enhancing regional capacity building in the fight against chemical weapons. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and to provide a broad overview of the CWC implementation procedures with specific focus on different aspects, and measures, in implementing the Convention. OPCW seeks to gain a clear understanding of the measures that are currently in place in the different countries in the region and of the mechanisms deployed by them.

Based on the feedback received from last year’s CWC Seminar attendees certain presentations, namely those by OPCW experts Mr Gay Valente and Mr Carol Peterfi, will provide an overview of the equipment used by the Inspectorate, while particular attention will be given to the newest tools in use as well as a review of two hypothetical chemical emergencies in the context of the attendees’ home countries.

30 January 2017

Working Visit in Vienna

)From January 24 to 26 2017 RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation organized a working visit in Vienna, AT.

RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk was invited by the current Romanian Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), to be a keynote speaker at the 842nd Meeting of the FSC. Ambassador Haydar Berk presented RACVIAC and its activities in 2017 and spoke about the challenges and expectations concerning South East European Security.

)Other keynote speakers on the same topic were Ms. Zdravka Busic, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Republic of Croatia and Ambassador Simona Miculescu, Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations Office in Belgrade. Among the representatives who took the floor, Mrs. Pavlina Rehor, Counsellor at the EU Delegation to the OSCE, in her Statement on behalf of the EU highlighted RACVIAC’s important role in South East Europe by fostering security, dialogue and cooperation, and also appreciated the close cooperation between the OSCE and RACVIAC in promoting and implementing the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

The delegation, consisting of Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director BG Gordana Garasic, and PLO Col Ägidius Daniel Muhr, took the opportunity to meet with BG Reihard Trischak, MoD AT, Mrs Rasa Ostrauskaite, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats, and Mr Juan Carlos Lentijo, Deputy Director General at the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and exchanged views on the future cooperation in activities organized by RACVIAC.

Click here to download the Statement of H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation N°842, Vienna, 25 January 2017.

Click here to download the EU Statement on South East European Security_ OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation N°842 Vienna, 25 January 2017.

23 January 2017

Workshop on development of national C-WMD strategies begins in RACVIAC

)A sixth workshop of the national working groups on the development of counter weapons of mass destruction implementation plans and strategies, titled „ C-WMD National Strategies – Legal Framework, Implementation Plans, and Strategic Linkages“ began in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation today.

The activity is organized within the framework of the C-WMD Network as a result of continued cooperation between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Republic of Croatia.

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In his opening address RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, said that “our first C-WMD Network workshop this year will aim to revise the main challenges in the development of national strategies and to point out the strategic linkages between the C-WMD Strategy and national strategic documents as well as international obligations”. He stressed that “a well–written national Strategy should have a corresponding legal framework behind it in order to have a smooth implementation process”. He added that RACVIAC “is happy to see so many people from different countries and national authorities standing ready to work together and bring to the table their specific knowledge that will assure a well–working national strategy and, in the end, a more secure region.”

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Welcoming the participants on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Amir Muharemi, Assistant Minister for Global Affairs, said that “a little bit more than three years ago, the countries of South-Eastern Europe unanimously concluded that the best way to strengthen our security is by enhancing national measures against proliferation as well as strengthening cooperation at the regional level.”

He pointed out that although none of the SEE countries possess weapons of mass destruction, it is important to underline the significance of good quality inter-agency cooperation. “Trafficking of WMD-related material flourishes in regions where legislation is insufficient, taking advantage of the gaps and lack of coordination between the legislative and the executive aspects of the states' authorities. The lack of effective counter-WMD national strategies and response plans, lack of coordination and preparedness, both at the national and the regional level, can have dramatic consequences for us all”, emphasized Mr Muharemi.

)This three-day event will focus on further support for the development and refinement of C-WMD National Strategies, especially the peer review progress made in the development of national strategies to counter the proliferation of WMDs, as well as revision of the main legal challenges and establishment of the strategic linkage between a C-WMD Strategy and other relevant national strategies. In addition, participants will also discuss implementation and action plans.

)The workshop has gathered more than 50 participants, namely, national drafting team/working group experts from the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Kosovo**.

19 January 2017

Meeting of MAG Points of Contact held in RACVIAC

)A Meeting of Point of Contacts of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation Multinational Advisory Group was held in RACVIAC on 19 January 2017, with the aim of discussing details of RACVIAC 2017 Programme.

At the opening of the Meeting RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk welcomed the representatives from member countries, associate members and partnering organizations saying that the Centre greatly appreciates their outstanding support and cooperation.

He pointed out that RACVIAC’s main goal in the forthcoming period is to increase the quality and visibility of activities in terms of upgrading the level of participants and ensuring a more active engagement of the Members and Associate Members.

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Following the introductory address by RACVIAC Director, RACVIAC Programme Managers Col Erhan Kiliҫaslan (Cooperative Security Environment), Mrs. Ana Ežova Kržaloska (International and Regional Cooperation) and Mr. Ivan Hostnik (Security Sector Reform) presented the Programme for 2017 within their respective Pillars and projection for 2018. Mrs. Ivana Barbara Blažević presented the developments in the C-WMD project as well as its roadmap for the future.

In a continuation meeting was focused on a discussion regarding specific aspects of member countries’ and contributing partners’ participation related to the academic and financial support to activities. This opportunity was used to share information on the current stage of ongoing preparation for jointly organized and hosted activities.

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Later on Major Jasminka Šoić, Chief of Administration and Finance Cell, provided information regarding the realization of the budget for 2016 and projections for the budget 2017.

Closing the event Ambassador Berk thanked the representatives for all the recommendations and suggestions received mentioning that RACVIAC counts on their active participation and cooperation in the future too.

17 January 2017

Representative of IAEA and RACVIAC discuss future cooperation

)On 17 January 2017 Mr Thierry Pelletier, Senior Nuclear Security Officer, Division of Nuclear Security, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), payed a visit to RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in order to discuss future cooperation between the two Organizations.

Mr Pelletier was welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić, and RACVIAC staff members.

After a short introduction Mr Pelletier was given a briefing on RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in which emphasis was put on the Programme of activities that are planned to be conducted by RACVIAC three Pillars in 2017.

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Mr Pelletier then presented RACVIAC staff with an outline of IAEA’s current projects and activities.

During the meeting discussion focused on exchange of information on possible future cooperation and areas of common interest especially in the field of C-WMD Network and activities related to the area of nuclear security in general.It was agreed that synergy and coordination between the two Organizations will enhance the further development of nuclear security architecture and strengthen the regulatory level and harmonization process in SEE region.

This presents an additional step forward in extending the scope of the C-WMD Network, which is a project launched in RACVIAC in 2015 with the aim of facilitating the development of national strategies to counter the weapons of mass destruction.

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. (In accordance with Arrangements regarding regional representation and cooperation.)