The foundations of the National Platform for DRR can be traced in the national conceptual and strategic documents, most especially the National Conception for Security and Defense and the National Security Strategy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as the Law on Crisis Management; this law established the Crisis Management System, which aims to provide continuous consultations and high-level decision making, maximal coordination, timely response, efficient and appropriate utilization of available capabilities and resources in the event of a crisis, as well as timely, quality-based and real assessment of the risks and threats to the security of the country.
Being one of the 168 countries represented at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan in 2005, accepting the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (hereafter: HFA), the country developed a National Platform, based on the strategic goals and the priorities for action outlined in the HFA.
In December 2007, the process of establishing the National Platform began with the initial networking of stakeholders dealing with prevention and management of accidents and disasters. This networking established cooperation among all stakeholders in the country dealing with crisis management. Until March 2009, a number of cooperation memorandums were signed with all ministries, governmental agencies, municipalities, public enterprises and services, NGOs, academic institutions, universities, research centers and laboratories, as well as with the business community and religious communities. As a result, the National Laboratory Network and the National Network of Experts were launched as part of the National Platform.
The Government, on its session held on 21 April 2009, officially declared the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. Therefore, a political impetus has been given, guarantying the Platform's national ownership and leadership of the disaster risk reduction process.
Intensive efforts to attain international promotion and affirmation of the National Platform followed. Becoming the 11th European country and 56th country in the world with an established National Platform, on June 17th 2009, the National Platform was presented in Geneva at the Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The first session of the extended Steering Committee as a governing body of the National Platform was held on July 1st 2009, marking the start of the Platfom’s institutionalization and its governing structure’s establishment process. Intensive activities and the summing up of experiences resulted in the first review, which although being planned for January 2010, was completed two months ahead on November 19th 2009. Also, the reform of the National Platform meant the establishment of the three Advisory Councils: the Legal, the Economic-Social, and the Academic-Expert Council, as a framework uniting the highest decision-makers in the respective areas with top representatives of the academic and business communities and the NGO sector. During January-March 2010, the seven specialized platforms that constitute the National Platform were set up. On 25 April 2010, the Government established the position of a National Coordinator for Implementation of the National Platform for DRR, to coordinate and oversee the process of implementation.
Also, it should be mentioned that on November 12th 2009, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction was established, and Sweden and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were elected as Chair and Co-Chair for 2010 respectively.
The National Platform is organized on the following interconnected and interdependent levels:
From a territorial point of view, the National Platform is organized on national and local levels. However, when threats surpass municipal boundaries, the establishment of regional structures covering several municipalities is anticipated. This corresponds with the regional organization of other relevant governmental structures, such as the police.
Interconnecting all levels is the National Coordinator for Implementation of the NP DRR.
2.1 Political level
2.1.1 Steering Committee
On the Political, decision-making level the Government is actively engaged through the Steering Committee which is the managing body of the National Platform headed by a government-appointed minister. Other ministers, a representative of the Security and Defense Commission of the Assembly of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the National Security Adviser to the President of the Republic, the President of the Association of Local Self-Governing Units, as well as directors of the Crisis Management Center and the Rescue and Protection Directorate participate in the Committee’s work. The Steering Committee determines the direction of the National Platform’s development; it verifies the accomplishments and suggests certain operational solutions with system consequences. The Steering Committee’s authority extends to two bodies: the Council of State Secretaries and the Inspection Council.
2.1.2. Local and Regional Councils of the National Platform
On the local, municipal level, Local Councils of the National Platform are being formed to assess local risks and threats, coordinate resources and activities, organize rural and urban communities, and to cooperate with neighboring municipalities. The Council headed by the Mayor, consists of members of the Local Council for Prevention, the president and members of the Municipal Council, the presidents of urban and rural municipal communities, as well as local representatives of the Crisis Management Center and the Rescue and Protection Directorate. It should be mentioned that the municipality, when necessary, establishes local rescue and protection HQs, and the municipality and its mayor have specific duties arising from the Law on Local Self-Government and the Law on Rescue and Protection.
Particularly important is the fact that the entire concept heeds the rural and urban communities, whose position within the National Platform is clearly defined. Namely, apart from the fact that the presidents of the rural and urban communities are members of the Local Councils of the National Platform, they are also entitled to: first, maintain regular communication with the Mayor and the Crisis Management Center (as an independent governmental agency providing administrative-expert and technical support to the National Platform); second, monitor risk conditions in the rural and urban communities that could be harmful to the life, health and property of citizens and infrastructure; third, inform and prepare citizens for prevention and their participation in response to accidents and disasters; and, finally, to organize citizens and to coordinate rural and urban community activities in the event of accidents or disasters. Understandably, implementation of the above-mentioned requires the personnel equipping, preparation and financing of the necessary activities.
When the situation exceeds municipal boundaries, close cooperation with other affected municipalities and government structures (that have their local units and offices) is crucial. For this purpose, the so-called Regional Councils of the National Platform are set up, covering several geographically close municipalities. The tasks of the are to organize risk and threat assessment when local (municipal) resources for response are depleted, to coordinate municipal resources and activities in the regional context, and to provide coordination with competent government bodies on the national level.
The Regional Councils of the National Platform are headed, for a period of six months, by one of the mayors of the municipalities included in the region (in alphabetic order of the municipalities). Other mayors, heads of local ministry units, as well as regional representatives of the Crisis Management Center and the Rescue and Protection Directorate take part in the work of the Regional Councils. Concerning the country capital Skopje, along with the regional council, the National Platform has another city council that is limited only to the municipalities which are part of Skopje.
A regional HQ is established within the Regional Council of the National Platform, which depending on the risk and threat type convenes on a regular basis and in case of need.
The local and regional councils brief the municipal councils as well as the Steering Committee of the National Platform of their work.
2.2. Administrative level
2.2.1 Council of State Secretaries
The Administrative level consists of the Council of State Secretaries, headed by the Secretary General of the Government and is composed of state secretaries of ministries and directors of the independent governmental agencies. If necessary, the directors of bodies within ministries can also be invited to participate in the work of the Council. The task of the Council of State Secretaries is to bridge over the problems and to mark out administrative-expert decisions affecting the accident and disasters risk levels addressed by the National Platform. In that regard, nine working groups have been established composed of high ranking representatives of ministries and independent governmental agencies, whose work is coordinated by the state secretaries of competent ministries or other governmental agencies, according to their competencies and experiences in specific domains.
The effective functioning of the working groups is enhanced by a unified organizational structure involving members and deputies appointed from each institution comprising the working groups, which are headed by a coordinator or a deputy coordinator.
The working groups are as follows:
- Normative-legal harmonization;
- Finances, insurance and procurement;
- Human resources planning,
- Development and maintenance;
- Info-networking and resources registry;
- Terminological unification;
- Public relations and public awareness;
- International funds access unit;
- International cooperation.
The Council of State Secretaries submits its conclusions to the Steering Committee to which it is directly accountable.
2.2.2. Inspection Council
The Inspection Council was set up to further effective inspectoral supervision within the framework of the National Platform. A working group for normative-legal unification in inspectoral supervision was established, with the authority to determine inspectoral services’ interoperability procedures and to review problems in the domains of personnel hiring and qualifications as well as the inspectoral services’ material-technical equipping, along with a coordinated financial framework determining support for inspectoral supervision in crisis management and rescue and protection.
The Director of the State Administrative Inspectorate is appointed the head of the working group, while its members come from the Crisis Management Center, the Radiation Safety Directorate, the State Inspectorate of Agriculture, the State Inspectorate of Environment, the Rescue and Protection Directorate and the State Construction and Urbanism Inspectorate.
The Inspection Council submits its findings to the Steering Committee, to which it is directly accountable.
2.2.3. Specialized platforms
Depending on the risk type, seven specialized platforms have been established and headed by competent ministries. Each of the platforms has its coordinative council presided by the minister in charge of the competent ministry, and each of the platforms has a number of national commissions for prevention and risk and threat management.
The following platforms have been established:
- Risks in the domain of infrastructure, coordinated by the Minister of Transport and
- Health-related risks, coordinated by the Minister of Health
- Haz-Mat risks, coordinated by the Minister of Internal Affairs
- Environmental risks, coordinated by the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning
- Industrial accidents, coordinated by the Minister of Economy
- Risks in the domain of agriculture, forestry and water management, coordinated by the
- Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management
- Risks in the domain of cultural heritage, coordinated by the Minister of Culture
To achieve efficient functioning of the National Platform and to satisfy normative-legal standards, the Crisis Management Center signed cooperation memorandums and agreements with all ministries, independent government agencies, municipalities, NGOs, academic and expert institutions and religious communities. These measures furthered coordination and cooperation in dealing with specific accidents, disasters, risks and threats. The signed documents clearly determine the place and role of the stakeholders in each of the platforms, as well as the goals that should be reached by the National Platform.
2.3.4 Thematic working groups
The thematic working groups represent a special part of the National Platform for DRR. They relate to issues and problems that are interdisciplinary in character and whose different aspects fall into the scope of interest of various government and non-government structures on both local and national levels, and, as such, are linked to two or more specialized platforms. These include:
- Protection of children in case of accidents & disasters
- Protection of elderly in case of accidents and disasters
- Protection of people with physical disabilities
- Working place safety in case of accidents and disasters
- Preschool institutions safety in case of accidents and disasters
- Safety of institutions for people with physical and mental disabilities
- Climate change, repercussions and adaptation
- State authority function in emergency and crisis situation
- Diplomatic and consular missions safety in case of accidents and disasters
- Cyber threats prevention
- Prevention and disaster management in primary and secondary school curricula
- Schools safety in case of accidents and disasters
- Hospitals safety
- Safety in penetenitory institutions in case of accidents and disasters
- Space threats – electromagnetic and other effects upon the Earth
- Resilience of local communities
- Early Warning
- Media and public awareness
- Coordination with insurance companies
- Coordination with NGO sector
- Coordination with the economic chambers and business community
- Coordination with the Trade unions and with the academic community
2.3. Expert level
The scientific-technical and expert backbone of the National Platform is composed of the academic institutions, including the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the public and private universities and research centers and observatories.
The impressive National Laboratory Network which brought under one umbrella 174 laboratories nationwide only add to the picture.
2.3.1. Advisory Councils of the National Platform
The Legal Council consists of: the Minister of Justice, the President of the State Judiciary Council, the presidents of the courts, the State Prosecutor, the Ombudsman, the Chamber of Lawyers, the Association of Judges, the deans of the law faculties and the Association of Lawyers.
The Economic and Social Council consists of: the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, the President of the Chamber of Economics of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, insurance companies, the Association of Actuars, the Association of Employers, trade unions, the deans of the economic faculties, academic programs in social policy and the Red Cross of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Academic and Expert Council consists of: the Minister of Education and Science, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the National Association of Universities, the Expert Advisory Board to the National Platform for DRR, the National Laboratory Network, the National Network of Research Institutes and the National Network for Undergraduate and Graduate Education.
2.3.2 Research and Academic Networks
The National Laboratory Network is the scientific institutions are a crucial part of the National Platform. For this purpose, CMC coordinated the establishment of the National Laboratory Network (hereafter: NLN) that includes over 174 laboratories at state institutions, universities, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, public and private companies. The aim of the functional integration of the laboratory resources countrywide is to provide capacity development, reliable data and expertise, supportive to prevention, mitigation as well as to provide a variety of forensics (medical, technical-technological, building and construction forensics, environmental forensics as well as telecommunication and IT system safety.)
2.4. Operative level
Within the Crisis Management Center, the State Operation Center functions on a central (national) level 24 hours a day, 7 days in the week through the Single Communication and Information 195 Center (soon to be replaced by the Emergency Call Service 112).
The Early Warning and Alert System is also part of the State Operation Center, and, as such, is to be thoroughly reconstructed and modernized in the implementation process of the E-112 system.
When necessary, headquarters (HQ) in the Crisis Managment Center and the Rescue and Protection Directorate are formed, which, according to the National Platform concept, are to be united in a single, unifed command structure. The National Platform, apart from interlinking the various government and non-government stakeholders on the national level, also has its structures on local and regional levels.
The Incident Command System (ICS) is the American solution for incident management on the operative level. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian ICS model is still in its initial phase. ICS is a managment system designed to provide effective and efficient incident management by integrating services, equipment, staff, procedures and communication within a unified command structure that is designed to provide effective and efficient incident (accident) management. It is based on a flexible organization that enables participating actors to work within a common framework. ICS participants may belong to different agencies that do not cooperate under normal circumstances.
The competent ministries and governmental agencies will execute their activities along with the budget lines allocated to them for disaster risk prevention, response and recovery activities.
The general approach to handling accident and disaster risks, regardless of whether the events are natural or man-made, is to prepare a single doctrinary position that will be used as a blueprint to mark out specific strategies, policies and legislation. During a session held on November 19, 2009, the enlarged Steering Committee of the National Platform accepted the following :
The overall objective of the National Platform is set in the basic doctrinary position for accident and disaster risk reduction:
Prevention and Early Warning are the basis for preventing in total or the disastrous consequences of natural hazards or man-made accidents, while the preparedness of each stakeholder and their capability for coordinated and rapid response are preconditions for reducing the consequences and rapid mitigation of such accidents.
Achieving this means crisis management through effective and efficient utilization of available resources and capacities, as an instrument for reduction of risk factors, identifying, assessing and monitoring risks, building a culture of safety, and strengthening disaster preparedness at all levels. Being a multi-stakeholder national mechanism, the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction serves as advocate of DRR on national and local level.
The aim is to ensure an integrated, efficient and effective approach to DRR through prevention, early warning, management and mitigation of disaster threats and post-disaster consequences, while securing functional unity of the state authority, the local self-government, the NGO sector and the academic and business communities.
The National Platform for DRR has a number of important activities in all phases of disaster risk reduction and crisis management in general. These include the developing of:
- General strategies regarding each specific risk
- Functional strategies for prevention, reaction and rehabilitation on how the general strategy will be implemented in terms of prevention, reaction and rehabilitation.
- Prevention, reaction and rehabilitation policies
- Policy implementation strategies,
- Policy implementing programmes and projects
- Legislative on prevention, reaction and rehabilitation.
In terms of methodologies, assessments, scenarios, plans and standard operational procedures, the NP DRR is entitled to develop the following:
- Risk assessment and risk consequence assessment methodologies
- Risk mapping methodologies
- Risk monitoring methodologies
- Risk and threat assessment
- Scenarios on possible transition of risks into accidents and disasters
- Preparedness, prevention and operations plans
- Rapid assessment methodology
- Operations plan
- Preparedness and prevention procedures
- Standard Operational Procedures;
Further activities of the National Platform include:
- Coordinating the multi-stakeholder collaboration for DRR;
- Bilateral and multilateral coordination
- Fostering the development of culture of safety through public awareness raising;
- Facilitating the integration of DRR into national policies, plans and programs;
- Coordinating joint efforts among stakeholders to reduce vulnerability of people;
- Information gathering, forecasting and analysis of risks and dangers;
- Providing decision makers with reliable and up-to-date data;
- Providing advice and proposing measures and activities for management of emergencies;
- Implementation of the E-112 Emergency Calls System;
- Alarming the population in the event of a emergencies;
- Conducting training for crisis management;