Throughout 2010, Atlantic Initiative’s team actively followed and participated in the promotion of Euro-Atlantic values in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).  Our work focused on providing information to the public about democratic processes and security issues throughout the country.  

Author: Jasna PEKIĆ

{gallery}newsletters/16/4/1{/gallery}Atlantic Initiative’s 2010 highlights include analyzing security issues throughout BiH and leading the debate on Euro-Atlantic integration processes.  The organization began publishing Democracy and Security in Southeastern Europe, a specialized magazine which promotes Euro-Atlantic values in BiH. 

Military Property as a Hurdle

The past year in BiH was marked by important security developments.  In April 2010, BiH became a conditional Membership Action Plan (MAP) member.  However, BiH is not allowed to begin using MAP mechanisms until problems regarding military property are resolved.  69 locations of perspective military real-estate have yet to be registered as state property despite a September 2010 deadline. 

Atlantic Initiative staff interviewed BiH’s Defense Minister, the former and present commanders of the NATO HQ in Sarajevo, Generals John Bullard and David Eneyart, as well as other relevant individuals concerning this issue.  Through the work of the NATO Coordination Team within the BiH Council of Ministers, BiH continues its formal cooperation with NATO in the form of an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP).     

Atlantic Initiative closely followed the activities of the BiH Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces.  Our team attended military drills, manifestations and gatherings, and covered activities related to the lay-off of soldiers and destruction of excess ammunition as a consequence of the creation of a professional army. This year, the first Parliamentary Military Commissioner, Boško Šiljegović, was appointed to the Armed Forces of BiH.

We gave particular attention to the involvement of BiH troops in Afghanistan.  Although the primary focus of Atlantic Initiative’s work is BiH’s NATO membership, everyday security concerns largely influence developments in this area. Therefore, the Atlantic Initiative team also covered such stories as the signing of the Sarajevo Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Internal Security, the work of the special police forces, BH MAC, OSA and firefighters, etc.

An Exchange of Experiences

{gallery}newsletters/16/4/2{/gallery}Atlantic Initiative believes that the exchange of experiences is of crucial importance.  In 2010, our organization hosted a group of American students from the University of Colorado – Denver for summer internships.  We also had guests from the post-graduate program at the Royal College of Defense Studies.  Round-tables focused on Euro-Atlantic integration processes were organized in Mostar, Trebinje, Bijeljina, Brčko, Sarajevo and other cities.  Members of our team traveled to Serbia, Montenegro, Georgia and Belgium to exchange experiences.  As part of our Belgian trip, we visited NATO HQ in Brussels and extensively reviewed NATO’s new strategic concept, released in November 2010.   

The challenges of the new strategic concept also influence security in BiH.  Atlantic Initiative researched BiH’s capacities for facing modern security threats such as cyber crime, terrorism, climate change and international organized crime.  These domestic capacities were put to the test following a terrorist attack carried out at the Bugojno police station and catastrophic flooding in eastern BiH.  In both cases, BiH’s institutions responded and our team analyzed their level of success. 

Atlantic Initiative contributed to the integration of gender policy within security forces throughout 2010 via participation in numerous seminars and workshops focused on this crucial topic.  One project of particular note is called “Let’s Take Care of Our Security: An Assessment of the Situation and Unbiased Consultations on Gender and Reforms in BiH’s Security Sector.”  This project is being carried out in cooperation between Atlantic Initiative, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and Women to Women.  We anticipate that the project will be completed in mid-2011.         

The organization’s future goals include enhanced participation in debates and the continued publication of newsletters and Democracy and Security in Southeastern Europe.  These activities provide information throughout BiH and will enable citizens to make informed decisions based on facts rather than prejudice.  Our basic goal will remain to promote Euro-Atlantic values in BiH.