by NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations Jonathan Parish at the signature of a MoU between the Republic of North Macedonia and NATO on the launch of a consequence management exercise in North Macedonia in September 2020
- Delighted to be back here in Skopje. I was first here 20 years ago, and the situation has changed considerably since then – thankfully for the better.
- Today, the Republic of North Macedonia is a valued partner of NATO. And when I return here early next year, I expect your country to be a full member of NÃTO as its 30th Ally.
- I would like to start by thanking the Republic of North Macedonia for its offer to host NATO’s 19th Consequence Management Command Post and Field Exercise. This exercise will be jointly organized by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre and the Crisis Management Centre of North Macedonia.
- Today’s signing ceremony is a special and significant event, because the Memorandum of Understanding we have just signed, formally accepts your country’s offer to host the exercise and it launches the exercise planning process. The document we have just signed is also unique. It is the first time that such a commitment has been signed by a nation as a partner, but will be implemented by that nation as an Ally.
- NATO’s consequence management field exercises are highly recognized internationally and are characterized by their inclusive planning process and wide participation. The contributions and involvement of representatives from Allied and partner nations, International Organisations, Non-Governmental and National Organisations are key to its value and its success.
- In these exercises, nations come together from across the Alliance, and from around the world, to practise international response to large scale disasters. And, next year, from 20 to 25 September, for the first time, they will do so here in this country.
- These exercises are very different from NATO’s traditional exercises. They are not military exercises. They are consequence management exercises that allow first-responders – mainly civilian but also some military – to work side by side, to build interoperability, to improve their skills, and to test new technologies.
Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS)
- These technologies include the Next-Generation Incident Command System – or NICS. This system is a NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) flagship project. It started back in 2016 with 4 nations: the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro.
- This new system integrates information from a wide range of sources, facilitates communication among the whole emergency management organisation, and enhances situational awareness. This capability will significantly improve the speed, coordination and effect of response to disasters, whether they be natural or man-made.
- The previous two exercises, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2017, and Srbija 2018, allowed for limited testing of the NICS. North Macedonia now has over 750 users trained on this system. But in exercise NORTH MACEDONIA 2020, NICS will be fully integrated. And these people, and the system, will be thoroughly tested under demanding exercise conditions.
- I am also looking forward to seeing the results of the research done by North Macedonia and its young scientists on how to extract relevant information from social media and analyse big data to further enhance the capability of NICS.
- Before concluding, I would like to thank Mr Agron BUXHAKU, and his team, for all their help up to now, and for taking on responsibility, alongside NATO, for organising the exercise and making it a success.
- NORTH MACEDONIA 2020 will be a very high visibility event for your country. It will demonstrate your determination and ability to make valuable contributions as a NATO Ally, and it will play a key role in improving the security and safety of people in North Macedonia, the region, and beyond.
- Again, thank you very much for your offer to host this important exercise.