Measure 1.1: Improving the productivity and competitiveness of the programme area’s economic, rural, cultural and natural resources

Project title: Cross-border Flood Protection and Rescue

Project budget:

  Project value EU contribution
Republic of Serbia € 165,822.65 € 140,949.25
Montenegro € 206,375.18 € 175,418.90
TOTAL € 372,197.83 € 316,368.15

Beneficiary of funds in the Republic of Serbia: Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia – Sector for Emergency Situations

Beneficiary of funds in Montenegro: FORS Montenegro – Foundation for the Development of Nothern Montenegro

Partners: Ministry of Interior of Montenegro – Sector for Emergency Management and Civil Security

Area of implementation:
• Montenegro: Municipalities of Nikšić, Berane and Pljevlja
• Serbia: Municipalities of Prijepolje, Priboj and Nova Varoš

Project duration: 15/8/2012 – 14/4/2014

Project objectives: The overall objective of the project is to reduce the risks of disasters caused by natural hazards in Serbia and Montenegro. The specific objective of the project is to improve the capacity of the cross-border area and 6 municipalities in Serbia and Montenegro to reduce the risks of floods through cross-border cooperation and a coordinated approach including technical and personnel capacity building process and raising awareness of general population about flood prevention and management within the period of 20 months.

Activities and results of the project

During the project, members of protection and rescue units in six municipalities within the cross-border region gained theoretical and practical knowledge and skills necessary for rapid response and rescue in cases of flooding. They have been trained in accordance with principles applied in developed countries. Members of the units were introduced to methods, techniques, tools and equipment for emergency response, and as a consequence, 40 rescuers received official certificates recognised at the international level;

Lifeguards certified to engage in crisis situations caused by floods transferred acquired knowledge and skills to other colleagues from their protection and rescue units and to volunteers from their communities. Locally conducted workshops have multiplied positive effects of the project’s training courses, thus a total of 95 rescuers from the cross-border area have been trained to respond in the most difficult situations caused by floods;

Representatives of institutions and organisations responsible for flood protection and rescue had the opportunity to learn through seminars about examples of good practice when reacting to cases of flooding and other natural disasters in EU countries;

In addition to adequate training of personnel, the project provided the acquisition of the most modern equipment necessary for adequate reaction of members of protection and rescue units in the cross-border region – specialised vehicles, special uniforms, “dry” diving suits and other specialised clothing for rescue workers and those vulnerable, ropes and accessories, under-water lighting equipment, first aid packages and stretchers, aluminium and rubber boats, life jackets, etc.;

Trained and equipped local protection and rescue units and rescue volunteers also performed a joint practical flood response exercise. The exercise proved these units’ full readiness and an increase in citizens’ and property safety in the border area;

The project has paid special attention to raising awareness on the need for prevention and ways to react in crisis situations caused by natural disasters, in particular relating to floods. The focus of the campaign has been placed on children, which has enabled nearly 4,000 children and elementary school students from six municipalities in the cross-border area to learn a good deal about behaving in crisis situations, how and to whom to turn for help and ways of being useful in order to mitigate the effects on people and property in their midst. In this regard, a literary contest on the topic “Is Man Helpless before Nature?” was organised for elementary school students. Students, authors of the three best literary works, received appropriate rewards for their efforts.

A campaign to raise awareness of citizens has been expanded with activities involving preparation of printed educational materials with content that provides practical guidance on how to react in emergency situations caused by natural disasters, especially floods. With other promotional activities, such as radio and television broadcasts and articles in the print media and on the Internet, the campaign has largely influenced the level of public awareness on this very important topic, i.e. the need for coordinated activism in case of accidents caused by natural disasters;

The project “Cross-Border Flood Protection and Rescue” has resulted in the development of the document “Standard Operating Procedures for Cross-Border Operational Units in Case of Flooding”. This document was approved by the relevant ministries of both countries;

Thanks to the positive example that the Project applied in the six municipalities of the cross-border area, the ministries of internal affairs in both Serbia and Montenegro adopted national plans for education and training of personnel to respond to situations caused by natural disasters.


Bojan Kostić, Assistant Chief of the Sector for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia
“The Sector for Emergency Situations is extremely pleased with the results that have been achieved with the implementation of this project. Among the most important effects of the project is raising awareness about the importance of prevention in coping with the aftermath of floods, as well as training and technical equipping of professional units in Serbia and Montenegro.
The project has also resulted in the establishment of procedures that shall facilitate joint interventions in case of natural disasters.
On this occasion I would like to thank everyone who participated in the implementation of this project. We have had excellent cooperation with partners from Montenegro and I hope that this cooperation shall continue in the future in order to raise the safety and security of our citizens to a higher level.
There is a need to further develop regional and cross-border cooperation and work towards improving our readiness to respond to the risks we are exposed to as a region so as to ready ourselves to act jointly in the event of not only floods, but also risks involving forest fires and traffic accident rescues, especially because this is an important travel route between Serbia and Montenegro.
I would point out that the Serbia’s strength is not only reflected in the equipment of units in large centres, but also through equipment of units in places like Prijepolje, Priboj and Nova Varoš.
The Sector for Emergency Situations shall endeavour to raise the issue of security to a higher level and we shall make sure that professional units gain new knowledge, abilities and skills, as well as new equipment that shall enable a more effective response in the event of various risks to which we are exposed.”

Mirsad Mulić, Director General of the Sector for Emergency Management and Civil Security – Ministry of Interior of Montenegro
“The benefits from the realised IPA project “Cross-Border Flood Protection and Rescue”, in the context of cross-border cooperation between Montenegro and Serbia, are manifold. Flood rescue equipment, which was acquired through the Project, shall largely contribute to a better response in the event of natural disasters which, unfortunately, are increasingly common throughout the region. In addition to procured equipment, a very important segment of the project were cross-border training courses organised for professional rescuers on the conduct of rescues in rapid waters and during floods, as well as demonstrations, which significantly contributed to better preparation of those who are the first line of defence and protection from floods. Activities related to raising public awareness of citizens have provided the population of municipalities involved in the project with information on the situation concerning the risks of flooding, preventive measures and actions to be taken in case of flooding, with special attention paid to children. Children, as a very sensitive target group when it comes to natural disasters, had the opportunity through well thought lectures to learn more about natural disasters in general, the risks and causes of flooding, dangers they entail, as well as guidelines for response before, during, and after the occurrence of floods.
And, finally, improved cross-border cooperation between the institutions and services of Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia dealing with protection and rescue and disaster risk reduction is also one of the most significant results of the project, since floods are not limited by boundaries and both countries often face the same or similar problems, which can often be better and more effectively solved together. A good example of this was the floods that struck the region in May 2014.”

Tamara Todorović, FORS Montenegro, Project Manager
“Although before preparing the project “CB Flood Protection and Rescue“ we had been somewhat aware of the great need in the field of protection and rescue, it was only after the realisation of this project that we learned some very important things when it comes to coping with natural disasters – you can never be sufficiently prepared in response to the forces of nature and you should never stop doing all you can while carrying out this assignment. We have been taught that by people we met during the implementation of project activities, who have risked their lives every day in order to save others and protect property and the environment, and who are too often deprived of basic assets and working equipment, without the opportunity to test their knowledge and skills or improve them through specialised instruction and training courses.
What we also learned was the importance of networking and cooperation, in the first place of people, and then of institutions that engage in this activity. Established links, exchange of experiences, advise and practical help when needed – mean a lot.
Whereas nature, increasingly harsh and unforgiving, knows no boundaries and does not ask whether we are ready. It did not ask during the floods in May 2014 and we all know that it shall not ask anyone some other day… If we have through this project even slightly contributed to facilitate the work of rescue workers, services and institutions within the protection and rescue system, aided in making their responses faster and more efficient and assisted in raising the population’s awareness of preventive measures, risks and appropriate actions in the event of disasters, thus contributing to their own protection, we have already fulfilled our mission.
Results achieved by the project, accomplished through a positive example of partnership between state and local governments and civil society, on the one hand, and extremely great needs in the process of building communities, cities and regions resistant to disasters, on the other, oblige us to proceed with the preparation and implementation of initiatives in this area. What is encouraging is the desire and will of all participants to continue with cooperation.”