News 2017

19 June 2017

Energy Security Seminar starts at RACVIAC

) Energy Security Seminar “Contribution of EU’s Neighbouring South-Eastern Countries to Regional Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation” has started on 19 June 2017 in RACVIAC premises.

The Seminar is organized jointly by RACVIAC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Energy of Romania, and supported by the Croatian Ministry of Energy and Environment, and it is a continuation of a series of activities organized previously in this area.

)The purpose of this event is to continue to enable open expert debates on common energy security challenges in the context of the Energy Security Strategy and the Energy Union Strategy Framework. The Seminar will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the SEE region faces in the field of energy security. A special focus will be given to measures dealing with high levels of import dependency and the exchange of information and best practices in energy market development, as well as to the new technologies and renewable energy.

)Opening the Seminar RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk said that “Taking stock of the conclusions and lessons of the two events organized in 2015 and 2016, a natural evolution towards more technically-oriented discussions based on regional cooperation formats and the role of the Energy Community seemed appropriate. In accordance with RACVIAC mission to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in SEE region, we see this Seminar as an excellent opportunity for further development of regional cooperation on Energy Security and to promote this issue through the exchange of experiences and sharing of information”, concluded Ambassador Berk.

)Speaking on behalf of Romania, the leading nation for Energy Security in RACVIAC context, H.E. Mr. Constantin Mihail Grigoriu, Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Croatia underlined that “Energy has become a strategic factor in global politics, a vital element for the economic development and progress of the society in its eternity, generating in the same time, a number of major global concerns.”

)Dr. Mario Šiljeg, State Secretary, Croatian Ministry of Energy and Environment, greeting the participants said that “The natural energy market deployment, the energy infrastructure development and its protection should be the corner stone for the energy security. By sharing our experiences, problems, plans and efforts to find the adequate answers for the energy security challenges we will be one step closer to finding right solutions.”

The Seminar has brought together senior level officials and experts from governmental institutions and agencies from SEE countries, relevant international and regional organizations, and selected experts in the field of energy security.

The event will last two days, and it will include a study visit to the TPP Plomin.

14 June 2017

Ambassador of Brazil Visits RACVIAC

)On Wednesday, 14 June 2017, H.E. Mr. Paulo Roberto Campos Tarrisse da Fontoura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by Mr. David Silveira da Mota Neto, Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission, and Mr. Gustavo dos Santos Pereira, First Secretary, 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, and activities planned for 2017. Ambassador Berk emphasized that the Centre, apart from the training and education that it provides, serves as an excellent platform for networking, building of bridges, trust and confidence among the SEE countries. Capacity development and harmonization is another important aspect of RACVIAC overall goals of cooperating more efficiently on different security matters in the region, he added.

In continuation the two Ambassadors talked about the increasing security challenges such as terrorism and border management but also about the challenges related to the implementation of Arms control treaties and agreements such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Chemical Weapons Convention.

12 June 2017

Workshop on Articles 3 & 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions begins in RACVIAC

) A two-day Workshop on “Enhancing the Implementation of Articles 3 & 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in South East Europe: the Country Coalition Concept” started on 12 June 2017 in RACVIAC in Rakitje, Croatia. The Workshop has been co-organized by RACVIAC and the Permanent Representation of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament in its capacity as the President of the 7th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), with the support of the Implementation Support Unit of the CCM (ISU-CCM). Germany financially sponsored the workshop.

)The purpose of this Workshop is to discuss future developments impacting the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). It will focus on the concept of establishing “country coalitions” for the state parties (i.e., with a country-specific focus) as a means to enhance international cooperation and thus support the implementation of specific aspects of the Convention in South East Europe. Also, this event will serve as a forum for sharing and exchanging experience, knowledge and ideas on various aspects of the Articles 3 & 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

)Opening the Workshop Ambassador Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, said that “the Convention on Cluster Munitions has been a remarkable success in the short time that it has been in force. The destroying of tens of millions of cluster munitions, clearance of hundreds square meters of land, and providing of the assistance services to the cluster munition victims is clear evidence that the Convention is having a definitive impact.” He continued by expressing his wish that “discussions during this Workshop would not just remain at a conceptual level, that this forum will be able to identify our achievements and future plans in a very concrete way, paying attention to the SEE region in particular”.

)Greeting the Workshop participants, H.E. Michael Biontino, Head of the Permanent Representation of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament in his capacity as the President of the 7th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) said that more tangible and individualized cooperation between donors, affected countries and other actors involved in the process of CCM implementation is needed.

The Workshop has gathered participants from SEE countries as well as States Parties from different regions with CCM obligations: Australia, Cuba, and Peru, and the representatives of the implementing organisations such as the EU Cluster Munition Coalition and Norwegian People’s Aid.

06 June 2017

Meeting of the Representatives of Defence and Security Committees from SEE Parliaments starts in Sarajevo

) „Annual Meeting of the Representatives of Defence and Security Committees from SEE Parliaments” started in Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Sarajevo, on Tuesday 06 June 2017.

The Meeting is jointly organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, and our host, the Joint Commission for Defence and Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and supported by DCAF - Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo.

The main purpose of the Annual Meeting in 2017 is to give a broad introduction on the mechanism and practices of the regional parliamentary defence and security committees, enabling the participants to discuss parliamentary procedures, challenges and oversight mechanisms in the field of defence and security, focusing on the contemporary security challenges in the South- Eastern European region.

)Opening the event RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, said that “we live in a more complicated environment. Our basic security or risk assessments are along the lines of general assessments in Europe. However, the level of risks, vulnerabilities, potential threats differ given the strategic location and characteristics of our region. Most important challenges or potential risks we have today in our region are terrorism, be it foreign terrorist fighters or other terrorist groups, violent extremism, possibility of proliferation of WMD, cyber-attacks. Furthermore, these risks are also accompanied by sources of instability such as irregular and uncontrolled migration, cultural intolerances. Terrorism is a scourge of our times targeting our values. There could be no justification for terrorism, and that the fight against terrorism cannot be selective. International community needs to work together against any form of terrorism and any terrorist organization, without exception. No single country can deal with the risks and challenges to security by itself. Therefore, cooperation and concerted efforts among all actors are of vital importance”.

)This event is a continuation of a series of Annual Meetings of the Representatives of Defence and Security Committees of the Parliaments launched in 2013, and aimed at promotion of parliamentary oversight and sharing the mechanism and practices. All previous events, regional, inter-parliamentary and bilateral ones, between RACVIAC and the Defence and Security Committees from SEE Parliaments, have been unanimously assessed as important and beneficial forums of parliamentarians and experts from the countries of South-East Europe (SEE).

The Meeting is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of National Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria.

In his opening speech H.E. Mr Martin Pammer, Austrian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that “Strong regional cooperation is the way forward! Solutions to security challenges can only be found through greater regional engagement and cooperation. This makes the work of RACVIAC all the more important.”

30 May 2017

Regional Workshop on Corruption Risk Assessment starts in Podgorica

) A two-day regional Workshop titled “Corruption Risk Assessment and Institutional Integrity”, co-organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI), with the support of the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro, has started on Tuesday, 30 May 2017, in Podgorica, ME.

This Workshop is a continuation of a series of activities previously organized by RACVIAC - Centre of Security Cooperation in cooperation with RAI and is intended as a capacity building endeavour for a new generation of experts involved in the subject of building integrity and fighting corruption.

The purpose of the Workshop is to increase the capacity of the ministries of defence in the field of corruption risk assessment and integrity, as well as to strengthen their cooperation with anti-corruption bodies.

It aims at increasing awareness about the current anti-corruption mechanisms and tools, but also the needed legal solutions. In the next two days participants will gain a better understanding of the specific elements related to integrity plans, integrity measures, identification and mitigation of corruption risks, prevention of corruption in public procurement, financial control management, protection of whistle-blowers, etc.

)Opening the Workshop on behalf of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ms Ana Ezhova Krzhaloska, RACVIAC Programme Manager in International and Reginal Cooperation with a focus on Euro Atlantic Integrations Pillar, said: “According to the available international and regional assessments and reports, corruption is still one of the main challenges in SEE. Thus, continuous efforts in curbing corruption are needed, both as regards prevention as well as suppression, in order to reduce corruption and eliminate potential risks of any kind of misbehaviour. In accordance with RACVIAC mission to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in SEE region, we see this Workshop as an excellent opportunity for further development of regional cooperation on Corruption Assessment and Institutional Integrity and to promote the enhancement of the existing national structures through the exchange of information and sharing of available training opportunities” pointed out Ms Ezhova Krzhaloska.

)Ms Alma Adrović, Head of NATO & EU Department at the Montenegrin Ministry of Defence, said that “this topic requires attention of all of us focused on developing global partnership and active exchange of information in order to properly prevent and combat corruption. In today’s world, corruption is a threat to stability, it is a crime of its own, and it supports the appearance of other crimes. It erodes trust in public institutions and political processes, and undermines the functioning of the markets. In one way or another, corruption affects us all by endangering national security and representing one of the major threats to stability.”

Greeting the audience Mr Davor Dubravica, Chairperson of RAI, stated that corruption presents one of the main challenges in the SEE and that anti-corruption is a priority for all the RAI member countries’ governments. He emphasized that cooperation with others is crucial in joining efforts to curb corruption.

19 May 2017

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia visits RACVIAC

) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia His Excellency Davor Ivo Stier visited RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation on 19 May 2017. His Excellency Minister Stier was welcomed by Ambassador Haydar Berk, Director of RACVIAC and Brigadier General Gordana Garasic, Deputy Director.


) In the meeting with Ambassador Berk he was briefed on the activities of the organization covering regional and global security challenges in a wide spectrum and in particular on those related to enhancing regional cooperation, networking and capacity building in the field of counter terrorism, cyber security and arms control. Ambassador Berk expressed his gratitude on behalf of the organization for the strong support that Croatia is providing to RACVIAC. H.E. Minister Stier emphasized that Croatia will continue to provide strong support to the organization.

15 May 2017

Gender Training of the Trainers Course starts at RACVIAC

) Gender Training of the Trainers Course, organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, together with the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations of the Swedish Armed Forces (NCGM) and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, and with the support of UNDP SEESAC, has started on 15th May 2017.

This event is a continuation of a series of annual activities launched in 2013 aimed at promotion of gender equality policies and equal opportunities in the security sector.

The aim of this two-week Course is to prepare instructors and trainers to plan and conduct pre-deployment training and education for troops, units and officers on gender perspectives in military operations. The Course content is applicable in both national and international training and education for armed forces and defence organizations and will provide the participants with knowledge on how to integrate the gender perspective in mission specific training as well as national basic training.

)Opening the Course Ambassador Berk said that “this is already the 4th Course in a row organised by RACVIAC which shows the relevance of RACVIAC as a regional hub for gender mainstreaming in the South-Eastern European region”. Relating to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security Ambassador pointed out that “today we should aim to contribute to the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security by making it an integral part of everyday business in both civilian and military structures. Commitments have been made to ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into policies, activities and efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts. Due regard will be given to the social roles of both men and women and how these may lead to different risks and security needs. Attention will also be paid to how these roles may translate into different contributions to conflict prevention and resolution. Our security institutions aim to yield a change in the mindsets and behaviors and promote awareness and positive changes,“ concluded Ambassador Berk.

)Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia Colonel Davor Kiralj, Head of the Sector for Development and Management of Human Potentials, said that the “Importance of the Gender perspective integration is slowly but steadily gaining appropriate recognition, and RACVIAC is contributing to this effort greatly by facilitating its resources and thus supporting this joint regional endeavour.”

Relating to a four-year partnership between RACVIAC and NCGM and the importance of this Course, NCGM representative Lt Anu Kaar underlined that “committed leadership is probably the most important aspect when integrating the gender perspective, but work is often done by skilful instructors.”

Colonel Boženko Đevoić greeted the participants on behalf of the Croatian Armed Forces General Staff saying that, as a result of great cooperation, so far we have trained participants from 15 countries in GToT Courses here at RACVIAC.

)The importance of the gender aspect in military operations had prompted NATO, as well as other national and multinational defence organisations to address, regulate and implement the integration of the gender perspective, both on the duty level and on the level of participation in Peace Support Operations (PSO). According to the Review of the Practical Implications of UNSCR 1325 for the Conduct of NATO-led Operations and Missions (2013) a very important recommendation to NATO and all current and future operational partner nations is to "train trainers on UNSCR 1325 and gender mainstreaming, with the objective of supporting on-the-job training”.

Upon the successful completion of the Course the participants will receive certificates proving that they are NATO certified gender trainers.

9 May 2017

Croatian War School visits RACVIAC

) The 19th generation of the Croatian "Ban Josip Jelačić" War School, led by Colonels Miro Čolić and Željko Akrap, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation on 09th May 2017.

The visit was part of the School’s Studies Program and its purpose was to familiarize students with RACVIAC as the only international organization located in the Republic of Croatia. The students were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director BG Gordana Garašić, and senior staff members.

)Following the presentation covering the history, mission and role of the Centre Ambassador Berk provided an explanation related to the development of the Programme of activities and most recognizable projects being conducted at RACVIAC, in accordance with its Strategy 2015-2020. Talking about the increasing security challenges such as migration, terrorism and cybercrime Ambassador Berk said that no single country can cope with them alone emphasizing that the regional and international cooperation is of utmost importance.

The 19th generation of the War School has 15 members: 11 members of the Croatian Armed Forces, one official of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, one official of the Ministry of Interior, one member of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one member of the Army of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*.

The "Ban Josip Jelačić" War School was established in 1998 as the highest-level military school in the Republic of Croatia that is offering education for senior officers and civil servants of the Republic of Croatia and other countries.

4 May 2017

Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Turkish Embassy visits RACVIAC

) Ms. Günay Babadoğan-Ertan, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Turkish Embassy visited RACVIAC –Centre For Security Cooperation on 5 May 2017. She met with Ambassador Haydar Berk, Director of RACVIAC and Brigadier General Gordana Garasic, Deputy Director. Program of RACVIAC during the forthcoming period and cooperation with the Turkish authorities were taken up during the meeting.

4 May 2017

Industrial Security Workshop starts at RACVIAC

) "6S Expert Working Group (EWG) + Workshop in RACVIAC Format (Industrial Security)” organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Office of the National Security Council of the Republic of Croatia started at RACVIAC on 04 May 2017.

The activity will focus on different issues specific to various economic sectors within the field of industrial security as part of the government sector security policy, such as the defence sector or IT sector. The Workshop will also cover the topic of cyber security in the context of the industrial security area.

Opening the Workshop RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk said that “the 6S Initiative launched in 2013 by the Croatian and Slovenian National Security Authorities gathers most RACVIAC Members’ Directors, and we thought that expanding it to all our Members would be beneficial, thus enhancing security cooperation and raising the level of information security standards in South-Eastern Europe, and in this case, applying it to the topic of industrial security. From RACVIAC point of view we see this activity as an excellent opportunity for further development of regional cooperation in the area of information security. This field perfectly fits in with other activities that RACVIAC is addressing on the basis of the needs and guidance of its Members against the most emergent threats to regional and international security as well as the transformation processes within the countries of SEE in view of the EU and NATO membership responsibilities and institutional readiness”, pointed out Ambassador Berk.

)Speaking on behalf of the National Security Council of the Republic of Croatia Ambassador Pjer Šimunović said that the S6 Initiative is functioning as a forum for exchanging best practices and ideas and supporting each other on a joint way towards establishing stronger, advanced procedures related to functioning of national security authorities and designated security authorities which deal with security clearances, industrial security clearances, security of classified information, thus strengthening international cooperation, exchange of classified information, etc. He continued to say that “Industrial Security is one of today’s most sensitive security policies and as we see in practice and in theory, it is getting more and more associated with cyber security and is very sophisticated and important. The presence of several Croatian companies is an important element of forging public and private national security partnerships in the certification and accreditation process and that of exchanging best practices and views”, concluded Ambassador Šimunović.

)The Workshop has gathered experts representing National Security Authorities from SEE countries, representatives of the General Secretariat of the EU Council, and Regional Cooperation Council, as well as several certified Croatian companies that will give presentations on Industrial Security issues.

The 6S Initiative (the Six States Initiative) was launched under the auspices of the Brdo-Brijuni Process by the Croatian and Slovenian National Security Authorities (NSAs) in 2013, focusing on encouraging security cooperation and raising the level of information security standards in the region. The Initiative gathers the directors of the NSAs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro, and Republic of Serbia, with Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Croatia as mentors.

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.

)

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.

)

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.

)

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.

)

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.)