The Government of Croatia manages the activities of the civil protection members operating in disasters, with the support of the Civil Protection Headquarters.
The Government, following a proposal of the competent minister, can adopt a decision to request and receive international assistance, or to provide assistance to other countries affected by disasters.
Measures and activities in the civil protection system are implemented by the following participants:
- the Government of the Republic of Croatia
- the Ministry of the Interior, as the central state body competent for civil protection activities
- state administration bodies and other government authorities
- armed forces of the Republic of Croatia and the police
- units of local and county (regional) self-government.
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities fall within the competence of individual ministries. The Croatian Disaster Risk Reduction Platform was established to achieve an integrated DRR approach.
Governmental decisions define its organisation and tasks. A shift from a re-active to a pro-active risk management approach is currently taking place, with emphasis on DRR.
Most initiatives for the implementation of activities come from the national level. However, as there is no single list of measures implemented in all sectors, this should be rectified with the drafting of the National DRR Strategy.
Some regulations define sectoral DRR measures, such as the Water Act, the Act on Civil Protection System and the Act on Protecting Forests against Fires.
A solid legal basis already exists. Therefore, with the continued development of the Platform, the finalisation of the Strategy, activities of active education and awareness raising of citizens and units of local self-government, there will be a real application of the proactivity approach and the decrease of vulnerability of all sections of society.
The Act on Civil Protection defines the obligation to draft disaster risk assessment plans at national, regional and local levels. The following documents define the manner and scope:
- Regulations on the Guidelines for the development of risk assessments of disasters and major accidents for the territory of the Republic of Croatia and the units of local and regional self-government
- Criteria for the development of the guidelines that are drafted by the heads of county (regional) self-government for the needs of the development of risk assessments of major accidents at the levels of units of local and county (regional) self-governments
- County Guidelines for certain counties.
The National Risk Assessment was drafted and developed by the Main Working Group of the Croatian Disaster Risk Reduction Platform, consisting of representatives of ministries competent for specific risks.
15 threats have been identified and as many risk assessment plans have been developed, including the worst possible and the most probable scenarios, and an assessment of a multi-hazard risk.
The National Risk Assessment identified earthquakes, floods and wildfires as 3 priorities, i.e., significant risks and they take priority of investments from all sources.
Risk management planning
The Act on Civil Protection System partially defines the risk management planning, where the sections of disaster risk reduction and response are more precisely defined.
The national DRR Strategy needs to list the current sectoral strategies, activities currently being carried out, and the ones that need to be carried out. It also needs to align the objectives of all strategies.
The Croatian Platform is expected to focus on identifying resources for planning cross-sectoral projects and risk reduction measures, particularly the innovative ones which can reduce more than one risk.
Disaster recovery plans are currently being developed, and the expected new legislative framework should better regulate this part of the cycle.
Pursuant to the Act on Mitigating and Eliminating Consequences of Natural Disasters, units of local and county (regional) self-government are obligated to draft action plans consisting of the following:
a) list of measures and competent authorities in the event of a natural disaster
b) insurance assessment of the equipment and other means of protection and prevention of damage to property, economic functions and prevention of casualties in the population
c) other measures, which include cooperation with competent authorities from this Act and/or other bodies, scientific institutions, and experts in the field of natural hazards.
Risk communication and awareness raising
Following the Act on Civil Protection System, the Ministry inform the public of the possible occurrence of a disaster, and about its developments. This is done together with competent authorities of other government bodies, bodies of units of local and county (regional) self-government, and other professional services.
Furthermore, in the event of a major accident or disaster, also Civil Protection Headquarters inform the public.
If there is a threat, or in the event of a major accident or disaster, the media used for broadcasting the information are obliged to put their communication network/communication system at the disposal of the public authorities. This allows to transmit signals and notifications, and publish official statements.
Training and exercises
Training consists of formal and informal education, information and promotional activities, exercises, conferences, workshops and courses.
The National Civil Protection Training Centre prepares and carries out the education (training, courses, workshops, seminars, exercises, etc.) for all the organised operational forces, as well as for members and other citizens involved in the civil protection system.
The National Civil Protection Training Centre also prepares the annual plan of exercises (tabletop, simulation-communication and field exercises) for the civil protection system, which is then implemented by the operational forces and members of the civil protection system.
The training is also carried out by the basic civil protection operational forces (Croatian Mountain Rescue Service and Croatian Red Cross) per their own professional expertise, and by citizens associations with no public authority.
EU funds need to be used as drivers for the development and upgrade of some aspects of the civil protection system, in strengthening prevention and preparedness measures (such as training and exercises). The aim is to ensure a quick and effective response, as well as prepare the system for sending and receiving international assistance in major accidents and disasters.
Early warning systems
The early warning system has 2 aspects:
- receiving alerts on various threats through designated systems (for example, EFAS – floods, EFFIS – fires, ECURIE – nuclear and radiological threats, etc.)
- warning and alarming the population on threats.
The focal point for exchanging information in case of emergency is the Civil Protection Operations Centre, which communicates with the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre through CECIS.
The excellent inter-institutional cooperation and exchange of information contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the early warning systems.
The system is also supported by a regulation, which stipulates that all legal persons who could be source of risks in the perimeter of a threat need to have in place an alarming system.
Early warning is carried out through sirens and media providing additional information on threats and measures to be taken.
The Civil Protection Headquarter (HQ) is an operational and coordinating body. When disasters strike, it oversees and coordinates activities of the civil protection operational forces in the preparatory phase (before the emergency) and during the implementation of civil protection measures and activities.
The HQ is established at the national level, and at the level of units of local and county (regional) self-governments.
The Civil Protection Headquarter consists of representatives of relevant sectors from public administration bodies, operational forces of the civil protection system, and representatives of other legal entities of special importance for the civil protection system of the Republic of Croatia.
County civil protection headquarters have been established at the regional level and there are 21 in total (20 counties and the City of Zagreb).
As a rule, the Head of the Civil protection HQ and the deputy Head of the Civil protection HQ are appointed from the operational forces of the civil protection system, deputies of executive bodies and heads of administration bodies of the units of local and county (regional) self-government.
Cross-border, European and international cooperation
International activities involve providing urgent international assistance, participation in international training programs and exercises. International cooperation can be divided into bilateral, regional and multilateral.
The Republic of Croatia has signed 13 bilateral agreements (with Austria, Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, France, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine,) and 4 Memoranda of understanding (with Israel, Italy, Kosovo, The Netherlands).
Annual plans for international activities are based on the established bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements, and from the membership in international and regional organisations.
The Civil Protection Directorate participates in providing urgent and humanitarian assistance within the NATO EADRCC framework, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and on a bilateral basis.
The operational coordination of international civil protection forces is carried out in disasters and in exercises on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, as well as in the coordination of border crossing of international assistance, and activities from the host nation support area.
Facts & figures
OPERATIONAL 24/7 POINT OF CONTACT
Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia
Civil Protection Directorate
Operational Civil Protection Centre
Tel: + 385 1 6192 929
+ 385 1 4551 792
Fax: + 385 1 4551 796
+ 385 1 4920 384
Nehajska 5, 10 000 Zagreb
Last updated: 05/05/2022