The big fires which take place in the Montenegrin and Bosnian forests every year destroy hundreds of hectares of woodland and in some cases cost human lives, and have contributed to severe damage in the regional ecosystems. To face these challenges the neighbouring countries have limited financial resources, and the management of the existing human and technical resources has often been chaotic and without practical effects.
This project initiated a bottom-up approach, seeking the contribution of all involved partners for developing local “poles” of technical competences, communication networks, and prevention, detection and disaster support units in a cost effective way. It involved a cross-border partnership between the Municipality of Trebinje and Municipality of Nikšić, FORS Montenegro (Foundation for the Development of Northern Montenegro), the Territorial Fire Brigade of Trebinje Municipality (TFBTM), the Protection and Rescue Service of Nikšič Municipality (PRSNM), while target groups included PRSNM and TFBTM staff, volunteer fire brigades in Nikšić and some 200 students of elementary and secondary schools in Trebinje and Nikšić.
To establish an integrated plan for fire and natural disaster management in the cross-border area between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Four clusters of activities were carried out as part of this project:
Establishing a Cooperation Agreement on fire prevention, including preparation and adoption of the Cooperation Agreement and organising an agreement signing meeting.
Equipping and capacity building of TFBT and PRSNM, and local population in the cross border area, including identification and procurement of the necessary equipment; development of common planning and training curricula and finally the organisation of joint drills for the employees of TFBT & PRSNM;
Public awareness campaign, including workshops for local population in the target municipalities on fire prevention and fire risks, awareness raising campaign in primary and secondary schools; wide media campaign; printing and distributing publications on topics related to fire prevention; installation of road signs.
Development of Integrated Fire and Natural Disasters Management Plan in the Cross-border Area, including the establishment of a task force for plan development; recruitment of consultant to facilitate the process; workshop on the development of the integrated plan.
The main results of this project were as follows:
Agreement for the fire and natural disasters prevention, mitigation, and control established between the forest fire Brigades (Nikšić and Trebinje), the municipalities of Nikšić and Trebinje, and the target population in the cross-border area.
Improved performance of fire brigades in Trebinje and Nikšić.
Local population in the cross-border area familiarised with preventative actions against fires.
Integrated Plan for Fire and Natural Disasters Management in the cross-border area between the municipalities of Nikšić and Trebinje prepared and adopted.
Aspects of good practice
The project has been rated highly on all aspects of good practice, especially in its cross-border dimension and impact, innovative nature, strong dissemination and sustainability.
The sustainability of the project builds on the agreement on fire prevention in the border zone and the integrated plan for fires and natural disasters management which were developed and adopted as part of the project. Based on these two strategic documents the two fire fighting units have kept carrying out key activities, including educational lectures in local communities and schools and cross-border training.
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