The crisis management system is organized and implemented for prevention, early warning and dealing with crises that pose a risk to the well-being, health and life of people and animals. Those crises are caused by natural disasters and epidemics or it can be other risks and dangers that directly threaten the constitutional order and security of the country or part of it, in situations when there are no conditions for declaring martial law or state of emergency. In the course of its existence, this system has established itself as one of the leading institutions in the security segment of the country, while the Center for Crisis Management is a recognized institution in a regional context that successfully implements the defined plans and objectives thus contributing to increased resilience of the country and the local communities. The crisis situations declared as such in the past have been successfully resolved and the current ones are being implemented according to the plans. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic as a new and systemic risk imposes the need for further development and transformation of crisis management to ensure prevention and preparedness for dealing with complex crises and disasters and low probability high consequences events.
In that sense, we have prepared this public policy study which aims to assess the structure of the crisis management system and to provide relevant recommendations for its development by reviewing the legal and institutional set-up of the crisis management system, the competencies of the municipalities, identification of the systemic gaps and challenges, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of the municipalities, the delivery of services to the citizens and dealing with the crisis as well as a comparative review of experiences from the Western Balkans region. In that sense, this document provides an overview of the different aspects of functioning of the crisis management system, including the challenges and the so-called ‘a new normality’ that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Particular gaps and challenges have been identified as well in the existing set-up and operation. These are necessary to be addressed in the upcoming period or through specific or systemic reform of the systems for crisis management and protection and rescue. The crisis management system managed to timely adapt itself in the context of local response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on the local level, and continued to operate in these new conditions by organizing expert-operational bodies, delivery of measures and implementation of response activities to the pandemics, communication and informing of the citizens as well as assistance and support to the most vulnerable groups.
On the other hand, the countries in the Western Balkans region were affected similarly and faced the same challenges, thus we can notice many similarities and good practices. Given the fact that the crises and disasters know no borders, it is necessary to build cross-border and regional mechanisms for better prevention, coping and recovery from this type of crises and disasters.
Read the policy study here: