RCC and Regional Initiatives and Task Forces in South East Europe
There are six initiatives in the domain of Security Cooperation with which the RCC cooperates. Each includes several SEECP participating states as well as countries outside the SEECP area, depending on the format of initiative and region covered. These have developed relevant security cooperation projects and mechanisms.
1. Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative (DPPI SEE) – Sarajevo
Its members are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (under its constitutional name), Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey. The task of Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative (DPPI SEE) is to contribute to the development of a cohesive regional strategy for disaster preparedness and prevention. It is a regional initiative that seeks to provide a framework for SEE nations to develop programmes and projects leading to strengthened capabilities to prevent and respond to natural and man-made, i.e. technological disasters. The initiative brings together donor countries and national and international non-governmental and governmental organisations to coordinate ongoing and future activities and identify unmet needs in order to improve efficiency of national disaster management. The overarching goal of DPPI SEE is to foster regional cooperation and coordination in disaster preparedness and prevention.
The DPPI SEE is currently in a transition period and, as such, has a structure that still relies on donor community. Transfer of the DPPI SEE to regional ownership will require sufficient progress on legal and procedural instruments (intra-regional and inter-country agreements on procedures, standards and disaster management concepts); preparation for transforming DPPI SEE Secretariat into a legal entity; assuming full political responsibility by participating states in compliance with the developed Strategy and Bi-annual Action Plan.
RCC is a member of the DPPI Regional Meeting and the DPPI Chair in Office (CiO) reports to the RCC.
Activities under the EU Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Disasters-South programme covering the Euro-Mediterranean area are open to EU candidate and potential candidate countries. The EU-funded regional Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative is currently implemented by UNDP and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The World Bank and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) are also active in the field of civil protection and disaster risk reduction in the region.
2. South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC)
SEESAC is a joint project between the Regional Cooperation Council and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assisting SEE governments with implementation of the 2001 Regional Plan for Combating the Proliferation and Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).
SEESAC’s mandate provides for the implementation of holistic SALW control programmes with an emphasis on Cross Border Control, Legislative and Regulatory Issues, Management Information, SALW Survey, SALW Awareness and Communications Strategy, SALW Collection Programmes, SALW Destruction Programmes, SALW Stockpile Management Issues.
SEESAC has made substantial progress in working with governments in SEE on establishing national strategies on SALW control and implementation of specific project activities, which address the supply and demand side of SALW control.
3. South East Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM)
Initiated in 1996, the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) represents a process of cooperation among the Ministries of Defence of South East European countries. Members of SEDM are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and USA, and Georgia and Moldova with the status of observers.
The main objective of SEDM process is to strengthen understanding and political-military cooperation in the region in order to enhance stability and security in SEE. SEDM objectives inter alia are “promotion of mutual understanding, confidence and cooperation among member countries; contribution of SEDM and Multinational Peace Force of the SEE (MPFSEE) / South-Eastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG) to regional and worldwide security and stability; enhancement of the SEEBRIG interoperability and capability to deploy in peace support missions; facilitation of SEEBRIG employment in peace support operations; promotion of Euro - Atlantic integration processes of SEDM member nations; implementation and development of the SEDM projects”.
4. The United States-Adriatic Charter
Partners in this regional initiative are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (under its constitutional name), Montenegro, and the United States. Although there is no formal mechanism to include official observers, other countries, such as Serbia and Slovenia, have attended Adriatic Charter events on occasion. The initiative’s founding document was signed in 2003 in Washington under the aegis of the United States. The Charter, as a diplomatic project, has two objectives: to secure an open-door NATO policy and provide a framework for cooperation and mutual support to NATO candidate countries. The “A5” rotates the chair in six-month period to every partner country except the United States. During these six months, the chair organises various activities which always include a Foreign Affairs Ministerial and Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) meeting and other events as set by the country chair. As a rule, the Defence Ministerial is held only once a year, usually in November. In the most recent defence ministerial statement, Adriatic Charter nations reaffirmed their key objective of fostering regional cooperation, stability and integration of the partner states in Euro-Atlantic structures. Partner states declared that Adriatic Charter activities and projects should be coordinated and synchronized with other regional initiatives, such as SEDM (South East Europe Defence Ministerial), SEEC (South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse), RCC (Regional Cooperation Council), etc., in order to avoid duplication of efforts and resources.
5. South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse (SEEC)
The Initiative was established by EUCOM, Slovenia, NATO aspirants, which at that moment were Republic of Albania, Republic of Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and PfP aspirants Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro on 1 December 2004.
The aim of SEEC is to coordinate efforts of allied and friendly nations offering assistance to NATO candidates and PfP aspiring countries in the region thereby avoiding duplication, optimizing limited resources and synchronizing efforts, while achieving shared goals.
SEEC provides a multinational defence forum for discussing and exchanging information on bilateral and multilateral security cooperation programmes with NATO and PfP aspirant nations. At the last SEEC meeting in 2009, member countries agreed to establish three regional centres with the highest level of common interest to be developed and used by all countries in the region, i.e. – Peace Support Operations Training Centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Media Training Centre in Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defence Centre in Kruševac, Republic of Serbia.
6. Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) – Rakitje (Croatia)
Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) is the legal successor of the Regional Arms Control Verification and Assistance Center and is an international, independent, non-profit, regionally- owned, academic organisation, accountable to its political decision making body, the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG). RACVIAC is financially supported by SEECP participating states represented in MAG, as well as Associate countries.
The mission of RACVIAC is to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South East Europe through partnership between the countries of the region and their international partners by “transforming thinking on national, regional and international security cooperation issues; exposing participants to the benefit of cooperative approaches to security issues, primarily through conferences, courses, seminars and meetings at RACVIAC, as well as through language training and other applicable supportive programmes”. RACVIAC’s goal is to become the premier platform for dialogue on security cooperation in South East Europe. The RCC is invited to MAG meetings as an observer.
The new Agreement on RACVIAC was signed by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey on the 14-th of April 2010 and according to Art 27 /1 “shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the signatory States, in accordance with their respective legal requirements” and in 27/3 “The Agreement shall enter in force on the first day of the month following the date on which the fifth of States ...has deposited its instrument of ratification ...”. When the new Agreement on RACVIAC enters into force, the relations between RCC and RACVIAC will be clarified by a MoU in accordance with RACVIAC Strategy 4.6.To be ready to assist RCC activities”.