Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the EADRCC exercise: SRBIJA 2018

  • 08 Oct. 2018 -
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  • Last updated 10-Oct-2018 13:29

President Vucic, Minister Stefanovic,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is really a great pleasure to be here today with my friend Aleksandar to see Serbia and NATO working together.
NATO provides security in many different ways.
Including by helping to save and protect people affected by natural disasters.
This is why, 20 years ago, NATO established the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. And began running exercises like the exercise we are opening today. So that NATTO countries and our partners could train together. To better help each other in times of need. To save lives.

With around 2000 personnel from 40 participating countries this is our largest exercise ever within this area of disaster response. And the first to be hosted here in Serbia.
And I want to pay tribute to all those who worked hard to organise this exercise.
The Serbian authorities, NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre, and Allied and other partner nations.
And I want to thank you, Mr President, for your personal commitment to making this exercise a reality. And let me also thank you for Serbia’s generous contribution as host nation for the exercise.
‘Srbija 2018’ is not a military exercise.
It is a civilian preparedness exercise. A platform for first responders to learn from each other, to gain real experience together, and to better prepare for the times when we face real life disasters.

The scenario is the aftermath of a strong earthquake. It is an exercise very much based on reality. We have seen similar disasters in this region. So it is vital that we do all we can to be well prepared when they strike.
It is also an opportunity to test new relief tools.
Such as Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and a next-generation Incident Command System.
Technologies that can improve how we share information and coordinate our responses. No matter what challenges we face.
‘Srbija 2018’ is a testing exercise. It will show our strengths and our weaknesses. It will enable us to learn together. And to get better together.
And it is also a great example of how Serbia’s partnership with NATO can bring concrete benefits. To Serbia, to NATO, and to the whole region.
The experience gained at previous exercises has helped to save lives around the world. Following Hurricane Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. After the floods across this region in 2014. And the forest fires affecting Europe this summer. The lessons we learn this week will help us to save more lives in the years to come.
And with that, I am happy to join you Mr President, in opening ‘Srbija 2018’.

Thank you so much.