DG-ECHO Montenegro FSX Project BALANCE: 1st Planning Conference

June 28, 2021
Christos Dimopoulos

The 1st Planning Conference of the DG-ECHO Montenegro FSX project BALANCE took place online on the 27th and the 28th of May 2021. The conference was chaired by Mr. Evangelos Katsaros, CERIDES Research Associate and Project Manager of the BALANCE project, and by Ms. Zorica Markovic, Head of Department for Coordination of International Assistance, Cooperation and Project implementation, of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro. The conference was attended by 56 members of the project consortium and local stakeholders in total, as well as by Mr. Geir Ellingsen, ECHO Project Officer.

The main aim of the planning conference was to present and validate the project exercise scenario, the financial and legal implementation rules of the FSX, the key strategic issues, as well as the corresponding design priorities. During the conference, lessons learnt from past Full Scale Exercises were presented, and various administrative issues were discussed and agreed among the consortium partners.

A study visit will be conducted in the FSX area of consideration during September 2021, which will provide participants with the opportunity to gain a first-hand experience of the exercise sites and their special characteristics. It will also allow them to discuss and exchange views with local stakeholders about the implementation of the FSX.

The BALANCE FSX project is funded by the Directorate-General (DG) for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – (ECHO), through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Call: UCPM-2020-EX-AG). CERIDES acts as the Coordinating Organisation for this project. The BALANCE project aims is to improve Civil Protection Preparedness and Response capabilities of Montenegro in dealing with large disasters that require joint response coordination facilitated via the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Western Balkans countries can be slowed down in joining the EU due to a huge earthquake because it will have significant economic, social and political impact to country and regional development. Thus, sharing capacities and resources, scientific support decision making, use of proven innovative tools, and joint training will lead to improvement of cross border cooperation procedures of the Mechanism. The BALANCE Consortium comprises of academic and civil protection organisations from the countries of Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy and Spain.

The CERIDES Team which is responsible for the management, coordination, and implementation of the BALANCE project, comprises of the following scientists:

Mr. Evangelos Katsaros (Project Manager)

Dr. Christos Dimopoulos (Scientific Manager)

Professor George Boustras (Scientific Advisor)