News 2018

20 March 2018

Open Skies Course starts in Hungary

The “Open Skies Treaty Areal Observation Course”, co-organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Hungarian Ministry of Defence, started in Jakabszállás in Hungary on 20 March 2018.

The Open Skies courses have been organized in RACVIAC since 2002 and are some of its most distinctive training events with the purpose to train personnel from SEE countries to plan, organize and execute an Aerial Observation Mission based on the provisions of the Open Skies Treaty thus increasing the administrative capacity in the field of security cooperation.

Opening the Course on behalf of RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, LtC Servet Aya, Programme Manager in RACVIAC CSE Pillar, said that “the Open Skies Treaty, developed during the last years of the Cold War as a mechanism to increase transparency between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, together with the Vienna Document, has gained a newfound relevance in the recent years”. He continued by saying that this Treaty “is one of the most important and effective military-political instruments aimed at building trust and increasing transparency. The South East European region is also a part of it and most of the countries are members of the Open Skies Treaty and benefit from it. It provides important means to gain a greater understanding about military activities and could contribute to a de-escalation of a crisis”, pointed out LtC Aya. At the end he extended his deepest gratitude to Hungary for hosting and co-organising the Course as well as for providing the observation aircraft.

Speaking on behalf of the co-organizer Major General László Domján, Head of Hungarian MoD Defence Policy Department, recalled for the participants the history of the Open Skies Treaty and reflected on its importance. Referring to the changed security environment and increasing security challenges not only in Europe but all over the world as well Major General said that this Treaty is an important instrument that is able to provide greater openness and transparency and to enhance confidence- and security-building measures. He also underlined the significance of belonging to a family of experts on the Open Skies regime and sharing of experiences which is essential to develop and strengthen capabilities and cooperation.

The two-week Course is designed as a combination of a theoretical and a practical part. The theoretical part will provide a comprehensive and detailed overview of the relevant parts of the OST while during the practical part of the Course an Aerial Observation Mission will be planned and carried out over the territory of Hungary using the Open Skies aircraft, the AN-26. The practical phase will take place next week at Kecskemét airport and in the Photolab in Budapest.

The Course has gathered participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Kosovo⃰ and is supported by the provision of specialists and experts from Germany, Hungary, and Italy.

*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.

13 March 2018

Border Security and Management Seminar begins in RACVIAC

As a continuation of the border security and management event series the “Border Security and Management Seminar”, organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in partnership with DCAF Ljubljana, is taking place in Rakitje on 13 March 2018.

The purpose of this event is to strengthen capacity building and support the implementation of the Border Security and Management Concept of the OSCE Participating States in South East Europe as well as the DCAF Integrative Internal Security Governance Concept and its Western Balkan Border Security Initiative. By addressing the challenges in border security and management this Seminar is aimed to improve efficiency of the border management authorities in SEE and foster mutual cooperation in mitigating current and potential security threats.

The Seminar will cover a wide array of expertise in the field of national and international policies and mechanisms in cross-border movement and migration management: irregular migration challenges, risk assessment and information management, return and readmission of migrants, migrant interviews and the role of the military in border management.

Opening the Seminar RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk said that “although the intensity of migrant flows that have significantly affected Europe during the past several years has diminished, the challenges to the law enforcement and migration authorities caused by the developing dynamics of migration are becoming increasingly diversified. The challenge is even greater since on the one side we need to ensure a free and secure movement of persons, goods, services, and on the other hand we are facing threats of terrorism, smuggling and trafficking in weapons, drugs and human beings.” Ambassador Berk continued by emphasizing that “cross-border security challenges nowadays can be effectively prevented and tackled through interagency and international collaboration only. In that sense, sharing of good practices, cross-border cooperation, transparency and confidence-building constitute the first logical steps towards generating solutions for the benefit of all. This is very important especially when we take into account the fact that our countries and their borders are not identical, each has a particular feature and requests a specific policy response“, said Ambassador Berk.

Seminar introductory speeches were given by Mr Andreas Pichler, Austrian Ministry of Interior Attaché to Croatia and Slovenia, Mr Anton Travner, Director of DCAF Ljubljana and Mr Marco Weiser, Liaison Officer of the German Federal Police for Croatia and Slovenia.

The event has gathered more than 20 participants, police officers and civilian officials responsible for border security and migration from the ministries of interior/security, ministries of finance, representatives of the customs, drug control, border guard/border police national services and other relevant institutions, as well as experts from OSCE and DCAF Ljubljana.

This Seminar is supported and sponsored by the Republic of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany.

08 March 2018

RACVIAC marks International Women's Day

Today the world is marking International Women's Day and there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

This year the UN is marking it under the theme „Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

With this theme the UN is asking to transform global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice into an action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.

RACVIAC – Centre for Security cooperation remains fully committed to the promotion of gender equality and inclusiveness. In this regard the Centre continues to organize various activities each year addressing the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions on women and peace and security. This year also, for the fifth time, we are organizing a Gender Training of the Trainers Course scheduled for May.

RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation conveys greetings to all women on the occasion of International Women's Day.

05 March 2018

Dayton Article IV Orientation Course begins in Sarajevo

)The “Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (Dayton Article IV) - Orientation Course”, hosted by the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, started in Sarajevo on Monday, 05 March 2018.

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 the 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.

Opening the Course on behalf of RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk LtC Servet Aya, Programme Manager in RACVIAC CSE Pillar, stated that ““Dayton Article IV Course’’ is one of the most recognizable annual activities of our Organization, since it evidently makes a significant contribution to regional stability, transparency and trust and attracts participants not only from the SEE region but the entire world as well. Having participants from South Korea with us here today proves the importance of this Agreement, not only when it comes to its successful practical application nowadays but experience and good practice sharing as well”, added LtC Aya.

The Course will last 4 working days and it will consist of a theoretical and a practical part. The practical part will be held in the Armed Forces of Bosna and Hercegovina units in Visoko and Kiseljak. 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, Germany, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and OSCE.

At the initial phase, the Course used to be 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.

01 March 2018

Advanced SAR Course starts in RACVIAC

The “Search and Rescue (SAR) - On Scene Coordinator (OSC) Advanced Course”, organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in partnership with the National Protection and Rescue Directorate of the Republic of Croatia as part of the wider Search and Rescue Programme that encompasses a set of tailor-made activities designed for experts involved in the subject of search and rescue, started on 01 March 2018 in RACVIAC.

The purpose of this advanced Course that supports the further development of regional cooperation and builds capabilities in the search and rescue area, is to explore the concrete needs of each participating SAR institution related to the designation, duties and responsibilities of the On-Scene Coordinator (OSC), especially the role of OSC in a mass rescue operation, on-scene communication and when planning and conducting the search.

The Course will also further strengthen the overall SAR capacity in the national SAR structures of the SEE countries and increase the cooperation in civil emergency response pursuant to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue.

The Course lectures are delivered by an internationally acknowledged SAR expert from the Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organization (JAATO), Mr Brian Brophy, who will share the expertise and best practices in promoting the implementation of the International Conventions related to SAR, in particular the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual for SAR Coordinators.

The Course participants are mid-level representatives, civilian and military, of the relevant institutions from South East Europe that deal with Search and Rescue activities such as defence/Armed forces, national RCC authorities, national directorates for protection and search, civil aviation authorities, ministries of interior, and civil emergency management authorities.

27 February 2018

Basic SAR Course starts in RACVIAC

The “Basic Aeronautical Search and Rescue Course“ started on 27 February 2018 in RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation.

The Course is a continuation of a set of activities jointly organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the National Protection and Rescue Directorate (NPRD) of the Republic of Croatia, aimed at capacity building and improvements in the fields of search, rescue and protection, as part of wider cooperation in the SEE region in monitoring and implementing civil emergency measures.

The objective of this activity is to increase the capacities of the relevant public institutions in civil emergency response as well as to further enhance the cooperation among them. The Course will focus on exploring the concrete needs of each participating SAR institution related to aeronautical SAR, in order to launch comprehensive regional SAR development actions. Encouraging and developing possible regional and cross-border cooperation through SAR operations, exchanging experiences and best practices, addressing the common challenges and exploring the potential future steps in the field of protection and rescue in South-Eastern Europe, will be the topics of this activity too.

Opening the Course Ambassador Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, said that “RACVIAC has recognized the importance of efficient SAR structures, national and regional alike, and treated this topic as a security issue that should be further discussed and explored. The close regional and wider cooperation among the SEE countries, through dialogue and various forms of coordination, is a strong response to todays’ challenges to international security and defence policy, leading to building of confidence and security among them, and development of synergy among the participants in these activities”, emphasized Ambassador Berk.

Speaking on behalf of the co-organizer Mr Dragan Lozančić, NPRD Director General, said that cooperation and coordination is a key word in this area. Besides that education, training and exercises aimed at capacity building and skills development both on the national and regional or international level are crucial because there are always some aspects of the search and rescue area that should be improved, he added. The Course will also provide a very good opportunity for the participants to gain knowledge and make contacts, in Croatia and across the border, concluded Mr Lozancic.

This event has brought together more than 50 participants, civilian and military, from the relevant SEE institutions dealing with search and rescue activities: defence/armed forces, national RCC authorities, national directorates for protection and search, civil aviation authorities, ministries of interior, civil emergency management authorities, etc.

The necessary expertise and best practices will be delivered by Mr Brian Brophy, SAR Expert from the Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organization (JAATO).

Shortly after this event ends the “Search and Rescue - On Scene Coordinator Advanced Course” will begin on 01 March in RACVIAC.

8 February 2018

Azerbaijani Ambassador Visits RACVIAC

On Thursday, 08 February 2018, H.E. Mr Fakhraddin Gurbanov, the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Croatia, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation.

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

After a presentation on RACVIAC history, mission and accomplishments Ambassador Berk provided further explanation related to the RACVIAC Members' role and development of the Programme of activities. Ambassador emphasized that apart from promoting dialogue and cooperation between the SEE countries, networking has always been a very important aspect of RACVIAC overall aims in order to harmonize the practices, rules and procedures and build trust and confidence.

Ambassador Berk also provided additional information related to some of the flagship activities such as energy security that are contributing to dialogue and cooperation in the region.

Ambassador Gurbanov thanked for the information provided and expressed his appreciation for RACVIAC's contribution to the security of the SEE region.

6 February 2018

Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop starts

A Workshop focusing on the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in partnership with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has started on 06 February 2018 in Rakitje.

The CWC workshops are aimed at promoting the implementation of the CWC in South-Eastern Europe, which directly enhances regional stability, transparency and trust.

The purpose of the 2018 Workshop, fifteenth in a row since 2004, is to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and provide a broad overview of the CWC implementation procedures with specific focus on the 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.

Opening the Workshop Ambassador Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director said that “this year the main focus will be on „Understanding Non-Proliferation in the CWC Context” and within that comprehensive topic specifically on how to prevent the intentional misuse of chemicals and what to do in case that happens. It is essential to have a complex picture about the issues, the ways of prevention and the players as well as the possible solutions in case such an emergency situation occurs. The Workshop will explore the tools and means to enforce non-proliferation and will give an overview of the related matters. We hope that this Workshop will serve as a favourable environment that will encourage focused discussions”, concluded Ambassador Berk.

Lecturers and experts, Mr Guy Valente and Mr Jan Wuyts from OPCW, Ms Raluca Ginghina from the Romanian Ministry of National Defence, LtC Valentina Ključarić and LtC Dragutin Tušek from the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies “Janko Bobetko” of the Croatian Defence Academy “Dr. Franjo Tuđman”, will provide invaluable insights and expertise in identifying problems and possible solutions while exploring the way ahead.

The event has gathered more than 20 participants, senior/junior military or civilian recommendation-makers dealing with CWC issues and/or those responsible for escorting inspections who will provide a short presentation on how their agencies ensure that dangerous chemicals don’t wind up in the wrong hands.

22 January 2018

Ninth Meeting of the C-WMD Network

The ninth meeting of the RACVIAC C-WMD Network national working/drafting groups titled „C-WMD National Strategies – Current Threat Environment & Cyber Elements of a C-WMD Strategy“ started on 22 January 2018.

RACVIAC has been organizing these meetings since 2015 with the continuous support from U.S European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the International Counterproliferation Program (ICP), European Union, and Republic of Croatia.

Opening the meeting RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk said that based on the agreed Roadmap for the development of national strategies to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction the project is about to complete its drafting phase, which will be followed by a validation and testing period, and that he is pleased to see the progress made so far. Since each workshop covers the different aspects needed for developing National strategies RACVIAC is trying to gather experts in specific fields and lines of work to share their knowledge and experience. Thus, Ambassador Berk expressed a special welcome to the experts from INTERPOL, Frontex, and the World Health Organization.

Welcoming the participants on behalf of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia Mr Petar Mihatov, Assistant Minister for Defence Policy, said that SEE is facing different security threats: interethnic tensions, quasi nationalism, fragile state institutions, underdeveloped civil societies, corruption and organized crime, as well as contemporary security challenges such as migration. He continued by saying that the EU and NATO need to realize that a stable SEE is in their interest and that they need to engage more in the region. On the other hand SEE countries need to carry out the reforms and assume political responsibility to cope with the security challenges, he stressed.

LtC Charity Hartley from DTRA said that SEE is really setting the example for regional partnership in the WMD arena.

The event is divided into two parts. The first day is organized as a roundtable aimed to overview the current threat environment and its impact on SEE. In continuation the meeting will continue facilitating the development of national C-WMD Strategies and Action Plans focusing on cyber elements of a C-WMD Strategy, which will be the central theme of the event.

More than 60 participants, mostly members of the core national working/drafting groups and experts working on cyber issues, legal issues, and intelligence, are attending this four-day event.

18 January 2018

MAG POC Meeting held in RACVIAC

A Meeting of Point of Contacts of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation Multinational Advisory Group was held on 18 January 2018, with the aim to coordinate and discuss details related to the activities planned in RACVIAC Programme 2018.

At the opening of the Meeting RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk welcomed the representatives from Members, Associate members and participants saying that the Centre had an intensive 2017 having conducted 28 activities and 2018 also be a busy period. He pointed out that RACVIAC is determined to increase its efforts to foster security dialogue and cooperation in SEE in 2018 as well by focusing on contemporary security challenges, such as weapons of mass destruction, foreign terrorist fighters, cyber security, border security, and different aspects of arms control and security sector reform.

Following the introductory address by RACVIAC Director, RACVIAC Programme Managers Col Servet Aya, (Cooperative Security Environment with focus on Arms Control Pillar) and Ms Ana Ezhova Krzhaloska (International and Regional Cooperation with focus on Euroatlantic Integration Pillar), and Activity Manager Maj Božo Dukarić (Security Sector Reform Pillar) presented the Programme for 2018 within their respective Pillars and projection for 2019. Ms Ivana Barbara Blažević presented activities planned in the RACVIAC C-WMD Network project as well as its roadmap for the future.

Later on Major Jasminka Šoić, Chief of Administration and Finance Cell, provided information regarding the current financial situation while putting emphasis on the Programme part of the Budget 2018.

In continuation the meeting 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 possibilities of improving the quality and visibility of RACVIAC activities by upgrading the participant level and engagement. Furthermore, the current stage of ongoing preparations of jointly organized and hosted activities was consulted.

Closing the event Ambassador Berk thanked the Members, Associate members and participants representatives for all valuable contribution made to RACVIAC so far and added that the Centre counts on their active engagement and support.

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