News 2021

14 - 15 June 2021

Arms Control Symposium and Dayton Agreement 25th Anniversary Celebration Event

The online Arms Control Symposium and Dayton Agreement 25th Anniversary Celebration Event was organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in the period from 14 to 15 June 2021. Dayton Agreement 25th Anniversary Celebration Event started with the opening of the photo exhibition in virtual format dedicated to the implementation of the Agreement. On the Agenda there was the Official Session of the Sub-Regional Consultative Commission (SCC) statements of the Agreement parties’ political representatives, OSCE, Contact Group and RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

MG Jeronim Bazo said in his opening statement: “I am very honoured to be here today and as Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation wish you a happy 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control.” “As the only organization providing training with practical part for future Sub-Regional Arms Control inspectors, RACVIAC has conducted 24 Dayton Article IV Orientation Courses and trained more than 500 military officers over the last 20 years. That confirms good cooperation and transparency among the signatories and RACVIAC and directly contributes to the regional stability and building trust,” he continued. He also emphasized that the control of arms still had a big role to play in addressing ongoing regional and global security concerns, threats and challenges: “Given the unfolding and important challenges and threats in regional and global security, the field of Arms Control must adopt new approaches and new ways of thinking. Reflecting the vision and mission, RACVAIC will continue to promote peace and stability in the region by further contributing to raising the countries’ institutional capacities in dealing with the common security challenges.” Lastly, he thanked all for the fruitful cooperation so far and once again congratulated everyone on this significant anniversary.

The awards and special recognitions to the distinguished individuals and organizations were assigned at the very end of the Celebration and we are especially proud that RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and Ms Vedrana Djukarić, Activity Coordinator in the Security Sector Governance Pillar, RACVIAC, received the Certificate of Appreciation.

The first day of Arms Control Symposium (Panel I) was dedicated to “History and Development of the Agreement – National View” and the second day (Panel II) to “Arms Control Current Issues”. The purpose of this event was to present the latest developments in Arms Control, with the aim of revealing new perspectives on confidence-building measures in Europe and wider. The idea was to bring together all relevant players coming from the ‘Arms Control Family’ as well as experts dealing with related non-proliferation issues and provide them with the opportunity to discuss and share ideas on the Arms Control, taking into consideration the developments in this field in the region and in Europe as well as on a global scale.

“RACVIAC is honoured to be in charge of developing this annual Symposium as a regional platform to enable RACVIAC Members to update the South-Eastern European region on relevant information regarding this field. As we have repeatedly stated, the regional approach to security issues is a crucial element of peace and stability in the region and beyond. Hence, I hope that ideas expressed during this Symposium will not remain at a conceptual level but that this forum, through the involvement of the field’s prominent experts, will prove conducive to highlighting the challenges and successes of the past whilst outlining the plans for the future in a very concrete way, for the benefit of the SEE region. It will also serve as an excellent tool for increasing cooperation, openness and transparency amongst our countries,” said RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo in his opening address. He has also taken the opportunity to express his sincere appreciation to speakers, arms control experts, academics, researchers and national representatives who took part in this event. RACVIAC Director emphasised that the Symposium was organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation with central financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Croatia without which that event wouldn’t be possible.

This was RACVIAC’s 11th Symposium in a series of such events aimed to annually review the recent developments in the ever-changing political and security arena and consider future developments and challenges in the Arms Control domain, on a regional and global scale. This year it gathered more than 60 national representatives as well as experts and scholars with a wide area of expertise, coming from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, USA as well as the Observatory on Security and CBRN Defence (OSDIFE), The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), UNDP - SEESAC, The Bundeswehr Verification Center (BwVC), National University of Public Service (NUPS) – Budapest and BENELUX Arms Control Agency (BACA).

The Arms Control Symposium and Dayton Agreement 25th Anniversary Celebration Event was organized in the partnership with Sub-Regional Arms Control Agreement Signatory Countries (B&H, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) and financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Croatia. The closing remarks were delivered by COL Deniz Öztürk, Program Manager in CSE Pillar and Mr Predrag Omrčen, Activity Coordinator in CSE Pillar. COL Öztürk closed the Symposium with words of gratitude and appreciation to the contributors as well as participants.

* 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.

10 June 2021

South-Eastern Europe Defense Ministerial Deputy Chiefs of Defence Meeting

RACVIAC Director, Major General (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, participated in the DCHODs Meeting held under the chairmanship of Albania and hosted by Croatia, on 10 June 2021, via Videoconference, with the aim to foster constructive regional political-military cooperation in South Eastern Europe (SEE) and in order to further enhance peace, stability, trust, prosperity and security in the region.

DCHODs in their Joint Statement stated: “We appreciate the RACVIAC – Center for Security Cooperation as a unique international organization – a project owned by the region and working for the region -which has made an outstanding contribution to enhancing permanent and sincere security cooperation among the SEE countries and to reaching long-lasting peace and prosperity.”

The Chair of SEDM Secretariat, H.E. Mr Petro Koçi, presented the activities carried out during the two years of the Albanian Chairmanship. Regarding the capacity building, BG Jurković mentioned RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, as a regionally owned organization that the majority of the attendees’ countries were members of. He continued that the Centre had just marked its 20 years of fostering dialogue and cooperation on security matters through partnership between the countries of the region and their international partners highlighting that the part of its mission was to support European and Euro-Atlantic integration in South East Europe. BG Jurković concluded by congratulating RACVIAC on its major anniversary.

25 May 2021

Workshop on “NATO European Security Challenges and their implication on SEE Region”

In order to have an open and comprehensive discussion on emerging security challenges for NATO and EU in South East European region, Director of RACVIAC, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo opened the on-line workshop on “NATO EUROPEAN SECURITY CHALLENGES AND THEIR IMPLICATION ON SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN REGION” and welcomed participants from Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Ministries of Interior, Ministries of Defence, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and members of the academic community involved in addressing the contemporary security challenges and policy development processes.

In cooperation with the NATO School Oberammergau and the George Marshall Centre, RACVIAC organized this Workshop with a purpose of enabling open security policy and academic expert debates on emerging security challenges in the context of ongoing processes towards the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

As the Director of RACVIAC, General Bazo emphasized the extreme importance and challenge of this subject matter, thanking all the participants who took part virtually in this online meeting, wishing all of them a very fruitful and productive Workshop. The issue that gathered members was the change of the security environment in SEE region in fundamental ways. Therefore, the Workshop aimed at exploring this phenomenon, with special attention to hybrid warfare, organized crime, migration, Russia and China’s influence in the Balkans and so on.

The main objectives of the Workshop were directed to address the most emerging challenges to NATO-European security cooperation; then, to discuss the implications of such challenges for the SEE region highlighting China’s and other countries growing influence in SEE; and ultimately, to review the newest geopolitical shifts and resulting European and national security issues in view of the existing Euro-Atlantic integration processes in SEE region.

18 - 19 May 2021

The International Dual Use Investigations (IDUI) Course

As a follow-on to the conclusions of the last year’s Course and a series of events organized by RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation within the C-WMD Network and with the support of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) from the USA, by which conclusions cyber issues have been identified as a common modern threat to the security, on 18 – 19 May 2021 RACVIAC has organized a Cyber Security Course related “The International Dual Use Investigations (IDUI) Course”.

As the Director of RACVIAC, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo in his welcoming address said, “The primary objective of this Course is to educate enforcement authorities about techniques to successfully pursue transnational investigations of dual-use items related to WMD material.” He continued explaining to the participants that during those two days they would have the opportunity to develop understanding of multilateral export control regimes, specialized investigative techniques and resources used in transnational investigations. Furthermore, he stated that the participants would be able to examine selected case studies that highlighted the importance of sensitive dual-use items, enhanced their awareness of available investigative tools and allowed them to recognize the value of international norms and partnerships.

General Bazo also emphasized that, in accordance with RACVIAC mission to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in the SEE region, the Course was seen as an excellent opportunity for further development of close regional cooperation on WMD cyber security threats, which is the only way forward for a strong response to todays’ challenges to security, leading to building of trust and confidence, harmony and enhanced synergy in our region.

The first day of the Course was reserved for the topics such as WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Fundamentals, Why Do Dual-Use Investigations Matter, Export Control Model and Best Practices, Initiating a Dual-Use Investigation and International Support for Investigations. The second day of the Course was focused on Case Studies such as: Asher Karni, Kaiga Investigation – Dual-Use Commodity Transshipment and Lattice Semiconductor - Financial Tracking. Other topics that were covered during the course were: Indicators of Suspicious Activity, Investigative Planning, Strategies and Techniques and Preparation for the Judicial Process. The Course gathered more than 40 participants from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey.

* 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.

11 May 2021

The Biological Weapons Convention(BWC): Issues and Challenges

Due to the significance of the topic and on request of members, RACVIAC organized a ground-breaking seminar on Biological Weapons Convention. “The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC): Issues and Challenges” Seminar took place on 11 May 2021, with over 50 participants from the region and beyond. The audience of the seminar included senior/junior military or civilian policy-makers/recommendation-makers/experts dealing with non-proliferation or BWC issues and responsible for biological safety and security issues. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction is usually referred to as the Biological (Toxin) Weapons Convention (BWC/BTWC). Entering into force in 1975, it was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. The questions of biological threat, purposely engineered or naturally occurring, as well as biological safety and security, are today more relevant than ever.

A better understanding of the BWC can contribute to regional and global stability, transparency and trust and can make the stakeholders more prepared for tackling bio threats in the future. The purpose of this Seminar was to provide a broad overview of the Convention as in the run up to the 9th BWC Review Conference, it is even more essential to have a comprehensive picture about the basics of the Convention.

Session one was dedicated to an Overview of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and Related Issues. The first presenter was Ambassador Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary Emeritus of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Preparatory Commission, who spoke about the historical overview and key issues in terms of BWC. Ambassador Tóth underlined that in terms of arms control issues we cannot be stuck in the past/present, progress needs to be made. Investment into education and training can be a key means of improving the 'state of play'.

Mr Daniel Feakes, Chief of the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention within the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in Geneva, provided the participants with a thorough Introduction of the BWC. Inter alia, he presented the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) underlying that their aim and objectives are “… to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions, and in order to improve international cooperation in the field of peaceful biological activities.”

Ambassador Elena Kuzmanovska Biondic, Chair, BWC Meeting of Experts on Assistance, Response and Preparedness presented an Overview of the Ongoing Meeting of Experts on Assistance, Response and Preparedness. She initiated discussion raising questions like: “What do you see as the key challenges in addressing the threat or use of biological weapons?” and “What mechanisms need to be in place to effectively provide for or request international assistance?”

Current Issues in Light of the Upcoming 9th BWC Review Conference (RevCon) were discussed by Dr Jean Pascal Zanders, Disarmament & Security Researcher, The Trench. He emphasized that a “single treaty (i.e.: BWC) faced many challenges”, for example, enhancing transparency and confidence in compliance, reinforcing national implementation of BTWC (Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention) obligations, investigating and addressing allegations of BW (biological weapons) use, scientific and technological advances relevant to the BTWC, servicing the BTWC (financial contributions by states parties) etc. Core challenges for the 9th RevCon, as he presented, include: “…finding consensus on fresh common agreements and understanding and on meaningful sets of new activities with a prospect of decision.”

The second session focused mainly on issues related to biological technology and terrorism/warfare. In his presentation on “Science and Technology (S&T) and Proposed Solutions under the BWC”, the first presenter, Dr Alexander Kelle, Senior Researcher, IFSH, outlined a few steps to be made before addressing S&T challenges under the BWC. In his view, during the preparations for the 9th Review Conference, the BWC States Parties should clarify the scope and purpose of the S&T review mechanism, including issues like the advisory board, political guidance for mechanism, a board to determine areas of work, target audience for outputs, number of participants from different political groups and, finally, institutional support and its funding in order to ensure effective and efficient functioning of the mechanism board.

The next presenter, Dr Lajos Rózsa, Scientific Advisor at The Institute of Evolution, ELKH Centre for Ecological Research, HU, held the attention of the participants at a very high level using captivating facts concerning The Natural History of Bio-Warfare. “Every day peoples´ intention for biological warfare is quite common. Consequently, we should be prepared and expect biological aggression to re-emerge anytime, anywhere, in most diverse forms, including bio-crimes and bio-terrorism,” he pointed out. He was followed by Prof Roberto Mugavero (President, OSDIFE), who gave his contribution presenting the “new tools for biological threats prevention”.

The final presentation was delivered by Ambassador Tibor Tóth who shared his views on key issues concerning leadership in control of critical technologies. He concluded the seminar with the optimistic message that the present special situation could act as a momentum changing competitive security to cooperative security. Ms Beata Varga, Activity Manager in the CSE Pillar, RACVIAC, closed the Seminar with words: “I would like to extend our gratitude to all of you for participating in this event organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. This was – in several years – the first BWC related event of RACVIAC but, due to the significance of the topic and to the upcoming BWC Review Conference (in 2022), most probably not the last one."

5-6 May 2021

Strenghtening Integrity in Security Sector – Regional Workshop

The two-day Regional Workshop "Strengthening Integrity in the Security Sector" took place online via Cisco Webex platform on 5-6 May 2021, with more than 45 participants from the region. The Workshop was organized in partnership with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) Secretariat. The general objective was to incorporate the anti-corruption approaches into the security sector and to increase the capacity of relevant entities for developing effective corruption prevention and integrity strengthening mechanisms. The participants of the workshop included mid-level representatives of the ministries of defence, ministries of internal affairs (internal control and professional standards units), judges and prosecutors as well as anti-corruption agencies.

The Workshop Webinar provided interactive lectures from the recognized stakeholders in the field, including tour-de-table sessions for the exchange of good practices among the attendees. According to the available international and regional assessments and reports, (EU, Council of Europe, UNODC, and Transparency International), corruption is one of the main challenges in Southeast Europe. Thus, continuous efforts in curbing corruption are needed, regarding both prevention and suppression to reduce it and eliminate potential risks of any kind of misbehaviour. The defence sector, due to its specificities, is identified as one of the sectors with high risks for misconduct and corruption. Detected corruption risks are lack of transparency, conflict of interest, lack of financial control, trading in confidential information, nepotism and other new forms of corruption and unethical and improper behaviour.

The Workshop was opened by MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, Director of RACVIAC and Ms Aneta Arnaudovska, Senior Anti-Corruption Advisor at RAI Secretariat. Director Bazo, in his introductory speech, stated, "Being aware of the fact that integrity and fight against corruption in the defence and security areas present one of the common challenges in the region, and considering that this specific topic needs to be treated multi-disciplinary, RACVIAC and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative have been implementing joint activities since 2014. This Workshop is an excellent opportunity for further development of regional cooperation on Corruption Risk Assessment and Institutional Integrity and for promoting the enhancement of the existing national structures through exchange of information and sharing best practices." The Director complimented and thanked RAI (Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative) for the outstanding cooperation as well as excellent topics and exquisite speakers.

Ms Aneta Arnaudovska pointed out that RAI would continue to enhance the regional cooperation in the narrow thematic fields, where outstanding expertise is developed. With new coordination tools and mechanisms cooperation will reinforce the existing and build new partnerships, including youth, activists, social media, private sector and academia in a broad anti- corruption knowledge platform and it will raise public awareness on the anti-corruption incentives.

Session one was focused on Integrity in the Defence Sector (individual and institutional). The opening presentation was given by Ms Nataša Novaković, President at the Commission for the Resolution of Conflict of Interests, Croatia, who spoke about the structure of the Commission and its competences and their cooperation with the security sector. The main challenges Commission is facing are related to general political will, legal framework regarding the implementation of regulations, lack of human and financial resources as well as political pressure and other similar challenges faced by other commissions dealing with this topic. Ms. Novaković mentioned the statistical fact regarding the period 2019/2020, when out of 190 initiated proceedings 10 cases were connected to staff from the Security Sector and the Ministry of the Interior. She emphasized the big problem of unclosed cases because of the lack of documents.

Mr Jovan Nicić, an Anti-Corruption Expert from Prospector, Belgrade, addressed the participants on the topic of Corruption Risk Assessment as an anti-corruption mechanism and its effect on the Security Sector. Recommendations for the future, based on the previous experience, are that the combined package of strategies and tools that will include one or more CRA (Corruption Risk Assessment) approaches is the most effective in dealing with corruption. In addition, CRA tools should be dictated by an understanding of the dynamics of concrete public institutions/sectors.

The main topic of session two was NATO Building Integrity: The impact of corruption on peace and security and the importance of promoting integrity and accountability. Dr Nadja Milanova, Building Integrity Officer at the Defence Institution and Capacity Building, Operations Division, NATO HQ, presented 13 years of NATO's work on building integrity through various activities and events that had taken place during that period. NATO Building Integrity (BI) Programme provides practical tools to help participating countries strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and security sector. It promotes good practice, processes and methodologies and provides countries with tailored support to make defence and security institutions more effective. The practical part of the workshop included Tour-de-table sessions. Participants had the opportunity to deliver 5-minute presentations with a focus on practical cases and experiences on topics covered in the workshop.

The second day of the Regional Workshop was divided into two sessions. The first focused on Effective investigation and prosecution of corruption cases with an emphasis on the defence/police, while the second was oriented towards Whistle-blower Protection in practice. In the first session, Mr Krešimir Ostrogonac, State Prosecutor and Deputy Director of the USKOK in Croatia, and Mr Betim Jahja, Judge at Basic Court Tetovo in North Macedonia, presented national law cases on high-profile corruption in the area of public procurement as one of the government activities most vulnerable to corruption.

Mr Stephen Kohn, Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Whistle-blower Centre, pointed out at the enormous importance of whistle-blowers when it came to corruption detection. According to the presented data, 81% of all fraud discoveries in the period from 2009 to 2020 were triggered by whistle-blowers, while 19% were triggered by the government. It is very important to protect whistle-blowers and make their work worthwhile because without them 81% of the corruption would have never been discovered. Many of those 19% turned in by the whistle-blowers were not qualified to get an award. International application of U.S. whistle-blower reward laws means they can be used in any other country and the data which support that include over 4000 international tips from 120 countries received by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2011 to 2020. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the original whistle-blower 'qui tam' reward law, the False Claims Act (FCA), targeting fraud in government contracting. After being modernized in 1986, the FCA has been incentivizing reporting and is the model for all current whistle-blower reward laws. It is crucial to keep in mind that employees will report if they feel incentivized and protected. To make whistle-blowing work it is necessary to make reporting confidential and anonymous, to have strong civil, criminal and administrative sanctions punishing fraud, bribery and corruption, to have an independent and empowered whistle-blowing office and to promote and financially incentivize reporting of major frauds.

Wrap-up and conclusions of the Workshop were delivered by MG Slaven Zdilar, Deputy Director of RACVIAC, who congratulated participants for being part of a very successful workshop focused mostly on practical cases and best practices from countries of the region. "Fighting corruption, as we have heard often during the workshop, is a never-ending process that requires political will, resolution and constant effort from all of us, the institutions we are coming from, and the whole country. As we have seen in these two days, all countries share more or less same challenges in fighting corruption, but sometimes those are addressed in different ways, which allows us to learn from each other. Therefore, your openness and sincere presentation of your national solutions were crucial for the success of the workshop", MG Zdilar concluded

28 April 2021

45th MAG Meeting held on-line

The 45th Annual Meeting of the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG), RACVIAC steering body, took place online today. The Meeting was organized under the chairmanship of the Republic of North Macedonia. It started with a welcome address by Mrs Radmila Shekerinska, Minister of Defence of the Republic of North Macedonia and was chaired by Mr Dragan Nikolić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence of North Macedonia.

Minister of Defence of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mrs Radmila Shekerinska, addressed the participants and emphasized the RACVIAC’s role in building bridges of trust and cooperation in meeting the modern challenges like cyber-threats, malicious information and even the current pandemics. The most important task of initiatives like RACVIAC is creating a sense of security and confidence in the region thus laying the foundations for freedom, democratic processes and trust, she emphasized.

The Meeting continued with a brief presentation of the Director’s Annual Report, given by the Director of RACVIAC, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo. As all MAG Meeting participants had been provided with an electronic version of the Report in advance, the Director highlighted only some of the most important achievements during the year 2020: “This has been a very unusual and challenging year, but each challenge in itself is a great opportunity for growing stronger. In 2020 we were living in a totally changed environment which has completely remodelled our way of living, thinking, working and doing business. The pandemic outbreak paralysed the world in many ways and new challenges and threats for each and every one of us popped up. Hence, during 2020 we shifted from in-person activities to online ones, which turned out to be a very good solution for keeping us together in fulfilling our mission.” MG (ret.) Bazo took the opportunity to thank all RACVIAC Members, Associate Members, Observers, participants and partners for the support they have provided to RACVIAC so far and to ask them to continue to do so in the future as well.

Pursuant to the Meeting Agenda, RACVIAC Programme and Activity Managers and C-WMD Network Leader gave presentations with regard to the realization of the Programme in 2020 and plans for 2021. All representatives had been provided with an electronic version of the updated Programme 2021 in advance. Chief of Administration and Finance Cell briefed MAG participants on the Realization of RACVIAC Budget for 2020, Budget for 2021, Draft Budget for 2022 and Projection until 2024.

Afterwards, RACVIAC Operations Manager informed the MAG representatives about the current personnel situation in the Centre and renewed the call, especially to those Members that are not at the moment represented in RACVIAC, to send qualified personnel. The last briefing was related to the nomination of the new RACVIAC Director. All the participants supported the idea of the extension of the current Director's mandate. At the end of the MAG Meeting, the Conclusions were presented and adopted by all the participants.

30 March - 1 April 2021

C-WMD Network Phase Two Online Symposium – Projects kick-off

C-WMD Network Phase Two Online Symposium – Projects kick-off was held online from 30 March to 1 April. This three day activity focused on facilitated discussion and case study tutorial on four C-WMD projects: Risk Atlas, Dual Use and Emerging Technologies, Trend Analysis and Bio Security project. The main objectives of this activity were to discuss development of four C-WMD Phase 2 Projects, exercise regional cooperation through the RACVIAC C-WMD portal, peer review progress in the development of C-WMD national strategies and support the execution of national table top exercises.

Opening the Workshop, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, RACVIAC Director, underlined: “This Symposium is the second activity to take place in 2021 within the C-WMD Network, with the aim of providing plenary presentations and case-study sessions on Phase 2 C-WMD projects. This remains a crucial time for dialogue and collaboration within the region, and I am confident - especially judging from the initial participation numbers today - that we can make significant developments despite the global challenge we continue to face. Over the past five years we have run fifteen (15) workshops and conferences, amassing the expertise of over 150 experts working in the C-WMD field. As it stands, the network is currently in Phase 2: Strategic Context which consists of four (4) regional projects focused on different areas of concern within the area of counterproliferation. The long-term aim of this phase is to establish a functioning platform for enhanced regional cooperation within the field, and ultimately a self-governing multinational regional forum focused on contemporary and emerging WMD challenges. Lastly, on behalf of RACVIAC, I wish to thank all participants in advance for investing your time in this Online Symposium over the next few days. Your active participation and contributions are greatly appreciated. I wish all participants a very fruitful and productive Symposium and I look forward to the future successes of this Network and its regional projects.“, concluded Director Bazo.

The first day of the activity was focused on Bio Security project. The opening presentation was given by Dr. Neal Woollen on the topic of “Plenary presentation and discussion on latest trends in biological risks and security”; it was followed by the 3 breakout groups which discussed a series of Case studies on Insider Threats, Intangible Technology Transfer and Bio Safety and Laboratory Security. The second day of the activity was focused on Dual Use and Emerging Technologies. It started with Mr. Andrew Dolan’s presentation on “Dual Use Technology Developments”, followed by the 3 breakout groups discussing Dual Use and Emergent Technology Trends, Case study on Logistic Supply Chains and Case study on Proliferation Concealment Techniques. Day three was focused on Risk Analysis and it started with Dr. Pratap Sadasivan presentation on “Nuclear Security Risk Assessment” after which followed work in 3 breakout groups covering the topics of Assessing Information & Interpretation of Risk Indicators and Prioritizing Risk Factors. All of the topics and discussions during this three day event were inevitably intertwined with the fourth project: Trends Analysis. Each day of activity finished with Mr. Andrew Dolan’s wrap up.

This Activity gathered more than 50 representatives from 14 countries. Activity community was comprised representatives from ministries of defence, foreign affairs, trade, interior and energy, as well as representatives from agencies, customs and civil institutes. All the participants followed the activity on-line, due to the travel restrictions and coronavirus social distancing measures.

Mr. Josip Mandić, the leader of the C-WMD Network at the RACVIAC- Centre for Security Cooperation reemphasized the importance of enhanced regional cooperation in the fields of contemporary WMD proliferation challenges which will be realized through the four launched CWMD projects. For the successful accomplishment of this goal we established dedicated CWMD web portal which will support and facilitate communication and information sharing within the CWMD Network. At the very end, Mr. Mandić thanked the participants, as well as the presenters and the facilitators for thought-provoking statements and activity in general.

23 March 2021

Visit of Swiss Defence Attaché

It was a great pleasure to have Colonel Urs Sulser, the Swiss Defence Attaché to the Republic of Croatia, visit RACVIAC on 23rd March 2021. RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo and Deputy Director MG Slaven Zdilar welcomed the distinguished guest. During the meeting, several questions related to RACVIAC Programme of activities and some ongoing and future projects were discussed.

The work of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and its Programme 2021 was presented to Col Sulser and the two parties exchanged some ideas for future cooperation. MG (ret.) Bazo also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the cooperation through International Organizations that are located in Geneva; GICHD - Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-mining and DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance.

Col Sulser and Director Bazo agreed on their readiness to intensify mutual cooperation in the future. Col Sulser thanked for the hospitality and offered his willingness to collaborate on future projects.

16-17 March 2021

Human Resource Management – Change Management Workshop

“Human Resources Management - Change Management Workshop” was held online in RACVIAC from 16 to 17 March 2021. The 2-day virtual Workshop was focused on clarifying inevitable nature of change processes and on what can be done to better enable changes and deal with them. In order to understand the change reactions and how to manage them, the participants examined the importance of emotional intelligence and communication as a critical skill to manage and drive changes. During the opening speech, the RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo expressed his appreciation to RACVIAC’s partner in this activity, Ms Kristina Priseker, Director of FLAME Consulting Company, who conducted this online workshop intended for human resources professionals, middle and senior level managers and those who will assume managerial or executive tasks in their future careers. He also thanked all the participants taking part in this event.

The objectives of the workshop were to familiarize leaders with key things to keep in mind when changes are happening in their environment, to build leadership skills in dealing with human motivation and behaviour during the process of change – regardless of whether the leader is the initiator of the change or the change has a wider scope and is maybe “pushed” by someone else. The objective was also to provide useful and practical framework for understanding the role of the leader in the change process as well as tools to design and manage change processes. The first training day was focused on introduction and understanding of key concepts and tools, using presentations, videos, case studies, participatory approach and interactive group activities to support learning. Emphasis was put on understanding the nature of change and introduction of tools for designing change process. On the second day the interactive approach and presentation were used to introduce ways of leading the team through the change process and supporting behaviour change in order to make new ways of working sustainable.

“Sometimes the changes are disruptive, such as those imposed by COVID – 19 pandemic and organizations have to respond to them by drastic adjustments, but some other changes are happening on a regular basis – such as restructuring and reorganization, introducing new rules, regulations and business processes. Regardless of their scope, we should be aware that changes are inevitable and very often needed, but also demanding”, concluded Bazo. Most of the participants agreed that the workshop is applicable in almost all aspects of life, not only in human resources management. The workshop gathered more than 20 participants from 9 countries.

26 February 2021

Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop

The on-line workshop “Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop” was held in RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation on 26 February 2021.Workshops focusing on the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have been organized annually since 2004 thanks to RACVIAC cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The 2021 Workshop was a continuation of fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC and the OPCW in promoting the implementation of the CWC in South-Eastern Europe, which directly helps enhance regional stability, transparency and trust.

The Workshop was opened with a brief welcome address given by RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, who said that Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop was one of RACVIAC’s most important annual activities and that RACVIAC was delighted to host this Workshop for the eighteenth time so far and for the first time online. After MG (ret.) Bazo delivered his introductory speech, he welcomed and greeted Mr Li Zhao, Head of OPCW’s International Cooperation Branch as well as other excellent presenters from the OPCW: Dr Rohan Perera, (Senior Programme Officer, International Cooperation Branch) and Mr Vaclovas Semaskevicius (Programme Officer, IPB) whose invaluable contribution and cooperation were appreciated very much.

The purpose was to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and provide a broad overview of the Convention and its implementation procedures with a specific focus on chemical safety and security. Some of the specific Workshop objectives were to inform the participants about the particularities of dual-use chemicals, to be able to understand the chemical threat, threat analysis, chemical safety and security in general and regarding dual-use chemicals in particular, to get familiar with chemical security audit and to gain an understanding of how to better achieve chemical safety and security through implementation thereof.

It is essential to have a complex picture about the issues, the players – multiple agencies, military and civilian – as well as the most burning issues which may affect the present and the future of the CWC/OPCW. There are numerous challenges to be faced in terms of the implementation of the CWC and the prevention of the intentional misuse of chemicals. Chemical safety and security is an essential first step to prevent accidental or intentional misuse of these materials. This year the main focus is put on the issue of "Chemical Security Audit for Dual Use Chemicals". This Workshop was co-organized with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as a continuation of the two organizations’ fruitful cooperation in promoting the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in South East Europe (SEE). It gathered more than 30 participants from 9 countries and 1 international organization.

25 February 2021

MAG Chairman visited RACVIAC

Multinational Advisory Group Chairman, Mr Dragan Nikolić, State Secretary in the MoD of North Macedonia and Ms Ana Ezhova Krzhaloska, Assistant Head of the Department for International Cooperation in the MoD of North Macedonia, paid a visit to RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation yesterday.The main purpose of the visit was to discuss possible options for holding the 45th MAG Meeting scheduled for 13 Apr 2021 in Skopje, the Republic of North Macedonia.

The work of RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation was presented to them in details and some ongoing and future projects were mentioned during the discussion. The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo and Deputy Director MG Slaven Zdilar. Mr Bazo also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the support that the Republic of North Macedonia has provided to the Centre so far.

It is worth mentioning that in the period from 2009 to 2012, the Director of RACVIAC was H.E. Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski. From the very establishment of RACVIAC, North Macedonia has been actively participating in the work of the Centre by seconding the staff, financing the budget and hosting RACVIAC's activities. North Macedonia regularly sends participants to RACVIAC’s activities in all three Pillars and in the C-WMD Network.

25 February 2021

C-WMD Phase 2 – Dual Use and Emerging Technologies Project

On February 25th at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) in Zagreb, a Workshop within the Dual Use and Emerging Technologies Project was held. During the opening speech, the Director of RACVIAC, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, took the opportunity to express his appreciation for FER contribution in organizing this one-day Workshop focused on Raising Awareness of the integrity of academic research involving dual-use items. He also emphasized the importance of such Outreach programs aimed at safeguarding the integrity of any dual-use research within academia, with the wider aim to combat contemporary WMD challenges.

Professor Nikola Mišković, Vice Dean for Research, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the Faculty hosted this activity and also his expectations for further cooperation with RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on similar projects. Prof Mišković emphasized the importance of familiarizing the academic community with EU legislation in accordance with regimes related to Dual-Use items.

Associate Professor Predrag Pale, PhD, from the Department of Electronic Systems and Information Processing, talked about current threats and risks Involving Cyber Security/Data Protection relative to academic research. The list of lecturers included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs from Flanders (Belgium), European Commission, the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb and other experts in the Workshop topic related field as well as lecturers from the private sector. At the end of the Workshop, representatives of Kosovo* and Montenegro presented national achievements in the field of Dual-Use.

According to global processes and technological advances, it is necessary for research organisations to have strong incentives to innovate and collaborate internationally as a basis for advancing the research. However, among many genuine and transparent collaborations that aim to develop meaningful scientific and technological advancement, there are offers of collaboration, invitations and informal exchanges with covert motives; for instance, seeking access to research involving dual-use items for other malicious purposes and possibly associated with the proliferation of WMD. The main objectives of this activity were to present Overview of Proliferation and Dual use Technology and to analyse threats and risks related to the protection of academia research.

The workshop gathered more than 40 representatives from 11 countries and representatives of the European Union Commission. The organization of the workshop is a joint project of the Republic of Croatia, Montenegro and Kosovo*.

* 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.

17 February 2021

Visit of the representatives of the International Sava River Basin Commission and the WACOM Project Team to RACVIAC

The representatives of the University of Ljubljana Prof Primož Banovec - the WACOM Project Leader and Ms Andreja Žerjav – the WACOM Project Coordinator, the International Sava River Basin Commission, Mr Samo Grošelj, Deputy Secretary for Protection of Waters and Aquatic Eco-system and Mr Robert Mikac, the University of Zagreb, visited RACVIAC on 17 February 2021.

The purpose of this visit was to inform RACVIAC on the activities of the International Sava River Basin Commission (Sava Commission) and the implementation of the Water Contingency Management in the Sava River Basin (WACOM) Project, to identify areas of common interests and explore opportunities for establishing mutually beneficial cooperation. The RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo welcomed the guests and expressed RACVIAC’s readiness to contribute to regional efforts for diminishing risks of natural and man-made disasters and building national civil protection capacities.

Mr Samo Grošelj presented the history, mission, and activities of the Sava Commission, the implementing body of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB) ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. He pointed out at the regional cooperation process related to water management and prevention of hazards, i.e. floods and accidental pollution, as some of the FASRB’s specific goals supporting sustainable development of the region.

Prof Primož Banovec explained the main characteristics, planning and implementation of the WACOM Project, emphasizing the importance of coordinated response to emergencies in case of accidental pollution and floods on transboundary watercourses. This common response can be successfully achieved by developing models and protocols for emergencies.

All parties expressed great interest in the continuation of consultations with the aim to establish permanent cooperation in the area of water management, especially related to security and safety.

27 January 2021

MAG POCs Meeting held in RACVIAC

On 27 January 2021, the online Meeting of Points of Contact of Multinational Advisory Group – Steering Committee of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation was held. The aim of the Meeting was to make an overview of the realization of RACVIAC Programme 2020, the implementation of Programme 2021 and the Finances.

Opening the meeting, RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo welcomed the representatives from Members and Associate Members saying that the Centre greatly appreciated their outstanding support and cooperation. He also pointed out the need for the participants’ interaction, engagement and expressing their valuable opinions. He also wished everyone a happy new year as this was the first meeting held this year.

As the Programme for the year 2021 was approved during the 44th online MAG Meeting in October 2020, the first session of the briefing gave an overview of the activities conducted during 2020 and the activities that will be conducted during the year 2021. It also provided representatives with information regarding the current financial situation. Following the introductory addresses by RACVIAC Director, RACVIAC Planning & Liaison Officer COL Gerhard Schweiger moderated the Meeting and presented the first speaker. Programme Manager Col Deniz Öztürk (Cooperative Security Environment Pillar), Mr Josip Mandić (Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Network), Mr Berat Jashari (Countering Transnational Security Threats Pillar) and LTC Dimitrios Biris (Security Sector Governance Pillar) presented the realization of Programme for 2020 within their respective Pillars and the projection for 2021. MAJ Sanja Kragujević (Chief of Admin&Finance) presented the Budget realization for 2020 and the Budget for 2021.

In the second part of the meeting the objective was to discuss and examine the possibilities of improving the quality and visibility of RACVIAC activities taking into consideration the times we are living in, thus upgrade the participants’ level of insight and ensure a more active engagement of Members and Associate Members. National POCs were strongly encouraged to give their national views on specific requirements that are of great interest to be further developed within the main approved Programme for 2021.

In addition, MAG POCs informed RACVIAC on their readiness to cooperate and support some particular activities and all of them expressed their hope the activities would be held live soon. RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo concluded the meeting and thanked everyone for their engagement during the meeting. He also said that we were preparing for both possibilities: for online activities but also for live activities, and hopefully there would be more of live ones

19 January 2021

RACVIAC delegation visits the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing

On 19th January 2021, RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation Deputy Director MG Zdilar, Ph.D. and C-WMD Network Leader Mr Mandić, together with Ms Irena Alajbeg, Head of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sector (Croatian MFA), paid a visit to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) in Zagreb. The RACVIAC delegation was welcomed by the FER Dean Prof. Gordan Gledec, Ph.D. and Vice Dean for Research, Prof. Nikola Mišković, Ph.D.

At the beginning of the meeting Prof. Gledec, FER Dean, welcomed RACVIAC delegation and praised the RACVIAC initiative to enhance cooperation with FER.

MG Zdilar thanked the FER management for their hospitality and briefly presented the history, mission, structure and core activities of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. MG Zdilar also emphasized his desire to expand the RACVIACs academic security portfolio in line with the new security paradigm, stressing the role of emerging technologies.

Mr Mandic took the opportunity to express his appreciation for FER contribution in organizing one-day Workshop which will be focused on Raising Awareness of the integrity of academic research involving dual-use items and which will be held at FER on the 25th February 2021.

Prof. Mišković, Vice Dean for Research, presented several others opportunities for further cooperation, such as Master classes for middle and senior government officials, on topics ranging from cyber security, AI and robotics to information security.

At the end of the meeting both sides agreed that future cooperation between the two organizations would be mutually beneficial and supported additional engagements in that direction.

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