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NORDPOL CIMIC

By 2Lt Alexis Clement
First published in
SFOR Informer #89, June 7, 2000

Doboj - The G5 (Plans) of the Nordic-Polish Battle Group (NPBG) is especially active in the area of reconstruction and returns. In its area of responsibility (AOR), about 2,000 houses are currently being cleaned in order for rebuilding to begin.

The office has been divided into three cells under responsibility of the Assistant Chief Of Staff of the G5 (ACOS G5): the Returns and Reconstruction Cell, the Projects Cell and the Plans and Execution Cell.

Plans and Execution has among it responsibilities, the task of maintaining relations with other elements of Multinational Division North (MND-N), and those international organisations working in the same domains such as the Office of High Representative, Organisation for the Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Police Task Force and the United Nations High Committee for Refugees. This multinational team is composed of Danes, Finns, Norwegians Poles and Swedish.

A Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Company is in the field every single day. This Company covers the entire NPBG Area of Responsibility (AOR), sub-divided into three zones with a CIMIC centre in each one.

Every CIMIC centre is further subdivided in several teams, each responsible for two or three villages. In the most important towns some CIMIC houses have been opened in order to facilitate ready contact with the local population, to help find answers to their problems or to guide them towards the organisation which is most likely to be able to help them.

Five houses are already open in Doboj, Teslic, Maglaj, Brod and Derventa. "The main goal is to help the villages to recover the balance of population they had before war," explained Lt. Col. Reima Helminen, deputy ACOC of the G5, responsible for CIMIC Operations in the NPGB AOR. "We have had very positive results so far. During April, 247 families returned to their villages and 1,345 houses began to be cleaned up. In the second CIMIC centre AOR, 248 houses are currently under construction and 1,928 undergoing cleaning. The CIMIC assures the threat-level (mines etc.) of sites before returns begin. CIMIC work can also help ensure access to areas through such work as organising road repairs and cleaning of debris.

The personnel of CIMIC know that to be effective they have to maintain a dialogue with and between the people they are trying to assist. To this end, a CIMIC officer visits every village at least once a day and tries to get to know every single inhabitant.