European Union support a safer environment in BiH through various activities and one of the most important is the project EUSTAR, which officially begun on Friday, on the ceremony of signing the contract with other international organizations.
The ceremony took a place at the EUFOR HQ in Camp Butmir, near Sarajevo. EUSTAR is acronym for “European Union Assistance to Stockpile Management, Technical Support, and Ammunition Surplus Reduction”. The project represents the second phase of European Union’s support to the establishment of sustainable stockpile management in BiH. The project is the successor to the EXPLODE project which witnessed the disposal of more than 1,800 tons of ammunition over its life cycle. According to BiH Ministry of Defense, ammunition is located in 12 storage sites throughout the country. It is expected that it will be necessary to dispose around 6 000 tonnes of unsafe ammunition for further storage in order to reach the desired and final stage of a sustainable stockpile management system in BiH. The mission is to reduce risks and threats concerning peace, stability and development in BiH, by contributing to the improvement of a sustainable stockpile management system in the country.
“This will be done by firstly substantially decreasing unsafe and unstable ammunition stockpiles, and by fully employing ‘know-how’ transfer personnel from the Project to the Ministry of Defense and BiH Armed Forces”, announced the UNDP Mission in BiH.
The project is fully funded by European Union in the amount of 2 793 346.66 Euro, and will be implemented by UNDP.
The project will see close cooperation between local authorities (MoD and Armed Forces of BiH) and international actors (EU, EUFOR and UNDP) to coordinate and implement activities designed to contribute to the disposal of around 3,000 tons of unsafe and unstable ammunition, and complex weapon systems.
EUFOR role in the project will be to co-ordinate and provide Subject Matter Expert advice and project co-ordination. EUFOR remains focused on the capacity building and training of the AF BiH and the support of local authorities in maintaining a safe and secure environment.
The project will ensure that the BiH MoD and AFBiH are enabled, to autonomously perform all activities undertaken by the Project, even after its closure, so that demilitarization activities and a sustainable Life-Cycle Management can continue uninterruptedly under local leadership.
“Through close partnership with the MoD of BiH and the AFBiH, the Project applies an inclusive and partnership-based approach throughout its activities, encouraging advancement of technical know-how and awareness-raising about the dangers of improperly handled and stored ammunition. There is also an ongoing and systematic capacity building training programme on stockpile management supported by the EUFOR”, EUFOR announced.
The Project is complementary with all interventions implemented thus far by the national and international actors under the Ammunition Master Plan under the leadership of the BiH MoD and coordination of EUFOR, with support of NATO HQ – Sarajevo, EU, UNDP and OSCE.
The Commander of EUFOR, Major General Anton Waldner, said that a significant reduction of the stockpile within 2017 and 2018 is crucial in finally establishing the entire sustainable Life-Cycle-Management System of Ammunition within the Armed Forces of BiH.
UNDP Resident Representative in BiH, Sezin Sinanoglu, noted that the objective of the project, apart from destroying dangerous ammunition, is also the transfer of technologies and knowledge to the local authorities so that they can manage this process in the future. BiH MInister of Defense, Marina Pendes, stated that the project at this stage is an extremely important project for this Ministry, but that it is also important from the aspect of security and contribution to the increase of security and stability in this part of Southeast Europe./IBNA