23. Apr 2019

The Law on Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Management (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 87/2018) (hereinafter: the Law), entered into force on 21 November 2018. On the day of entry into force of this Law, Articles 58 to 64 and Articles 66 to 72 of the Law on Fire Protection (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia” No. 111/2009 and 20/2015) ceased to be valid, also, the provisions of the Law on Emergency Situations (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 111/2009, 92/2011 and 93/2012), which ceased to be valid after the entry into force of this Law, have been implemented.

Article 1 of the Law stipulates that this Law regulates the functioning, proclamation and management of emergency situations; system of protection and rescue of people, material and cultural goods and the environment from natural disasters, technical and technological accidents – crashes and disasters, consequences of terrorism, war and other major accidents; the competencies of state bodies, autonomous provinces, local self-government units and the participation of the police and the Serbian Armed Forces in protection and rescue; rights and duties of citizens, companies, other legal entities and entrepreneurs in relation to emergency situations; organization and activity of civil protection on the protection, rescue and elimination of consequences of natural disasters and other accidents; financing; inspection supervision; international cooperation and other issues of importance for the organization and functioning of the protection and rescue system.

This Law also introduces the Risk Register as an interactive electronic geographic-information database for all risks (hazards) of natural disasters and other hazards on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. It is envisaged that the Risk Register operates at the central level within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in cooperation with other state administration bodies, and it is also envisaged that the data is supplied by relevant ministries, special organizations, agencies and units of local self-government. Also, the intention is to allow access to the subject database to all entities that make their own risk assessments or perform some construction and other investment works.

In addition to this, this Law also provides for the determination of immediate risk zones in the field, in order to prevent construction in these zones. The determination of these zones has a special significance, bearing in mind that wild construction as well as construction in zones, where there is a certain danger of floods, earthquakes, landslide and technical and technological hazards, is present throughout the territory of the Republic of Serbia, so it is considered that the application of these provisions will significantly affect the reduction of these cases.

The basic goal of adopting this Law was the need to legalize, in the unique manner, the system of disaster risk reduction and emergency management as part of a unified national security system in the Republic of Serbia, by creating legal conditions for the establishment of a unified and integrated system, that is, a comprehensive standardization of preventive measures and activities in order to reduce the risk of disasters, to effectively react in the event of disasters, as well as to efficiently eliminate their consequences, in order to ensure the recovery and normalization of living and working conditions in the affected area as soon as possible.

The most important obligations that the Law prescribes, are in concern with the development of the following documents: Disaster Risk Assessment, Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Plan for Protection and Rescue.

The Disaster Risk Assessment identifies the type, character and origin of certain risks from the onset of catastrophes, the degree of jeopardy, the factors that cause them, or increase the degree of possible danger, the consequences that can occur for human life and health, the environment, material and cultural goods, public services and economic activities, as well as other assumptions of importance for the performance of common life, economic and social activities. The subject Disaster Risk Assessment is drafted and adopted by the Republic, autonomous province, local self-governments, entities of special importance for protection and rescue, except federations, clubs and associations, companies, health institutions, except pharmacies and educational institutions, as well as social welfare institutions for the user’s facilities.

Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction is drafted and adopted by the Republic, the province and the local self-government. Plans for Disaster Risk Reduction are drafted on the basis of a proposal for the treatment of estimated risks in an appropriate disasters risk assessment.

The Plan for Protection and Rescue of the Republic of Serbia is drafted by the Ministry in cooperation with other ministries, special organizations and other legal entities, and is adopted by the Government. The Plan for Protection and Rescue of the autonomous province and the Plan for Protection and Rescue of local self-government units shall be adopted by the competent bodies of the autonomous province, i.e. the local self-government unit, upon the obtained approval of the Ministry, at the proposal of the competent emergency headquarters. In addition to state bodies, the Plan for Protection and Rescue is also obligatory for all entities that are obliged to prepare the Disaster Risk Assessment.