European Western Balkans

Serbian Armed Forces continue with integrity building efforts

Photo: NATO

BELGRADE – Serbian Armed forces (SAF) have continued the realization of planned activities dedicated to the integrity building efforts and lessening the risks of corruption in the 2018.

The Integrity Development Plan in the Serbian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the SAF, in the passing year, was based, inter alia, on participation in the NATO Building Integrity Programme, through which the document “Self-assessment of the integrity for the reduction of corruption risks in the Republic of Serbia within the competence of the Ministry of Defense”, which was developed in cooperation with the team of Alliance’s experts, as well as participation in the research of the level of risk of corruption in the defense system within the Adapted NATO Integrity Building Programme, in South East Europe.

The largest number of activities of international military co-operation in the field of integrity is realized within the mentioned NATO program, as well as through cooperation agreed on in the IPAP. SAF’s Sector for Defense Policy and HR Sector has, throughout the year, carried out several activities with NATO, as well as with the NATO member states.

The Building Integrity (BI) Programme is a NATO-led capacity building programme providing practical tools to help nations strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and security sector.

Talks in Serbia about engaging in the NATO BI programme were initiated in May 2011, during the visit of a representative of the NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division (PASP). MoD and SAF have joined the NATO BI Programme at the end of 2011, roughly four years after the initial launch of that programme.

Later, in December of that year, NATO’s Ambassador for the BI Programme visited Belgrade where he met with the State Secretary of the MoD. The primary aim of the meeting was to introduce the goals of the BI Programme to the MoD’s management team. The NATO BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) was also presented to representative s of the Ministry, establishing the formal beginning of Serbia’s engagement in the NATO BI Programme.

The BI toolkit provides a strategic approach to reducing the risk of corruption in the defence and related security sector, with a view to strengthening good governance of defence establishments. It is demand-driven, tailored to meet national requirements and, among other things include aforementioned BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and Peer Review Process.

Completing the voluntary SAQ is the first step in the process of developing a tailored programme, and that tool provides nations with a snapshot of their existing procedures and practices in key areas. Nations decide the pace of the process and how information will be shared. Serbia is currently one of the 20 countries (eight NATO members and 12 partners) which are engaged in the Self-Assessment Process.

It is generally agreed upon that SAF have had great success implementing BI Programme and that its members are recognized as experts in the field of integrity. This is confirmed through their participation in anti-corruption and integrity seminars all around the globe.

For instance, MoD of Serbia has actively supported a number of NATO BI Seminars in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. In 2015, NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy’s BI Team has presented the Programme, in Kyrgyzstan . A year later, experts from SAF have also shared their experience and lessons learned in completing the integrity process in Kazakhstan, including their efforts in completion of the NATO BI Process.

Work is currently underway to prepare BI 2019-2022. As part of the NATO-EU Declaration, the EU has announced its decision to make a financial contribution to the NATO BI Trust Fund, along the other member states already donating to the Programme.

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