Strengthening the Mine and Cluster Munitions Victims Assistance Cooperation with Serbia
The meeting held on 30 March 2023, aimed to bring together various stakeholders involved in assisting rehabilitated persons, including one of the beneficiaries of ITF’s assistance and the University Rehabilitation Institute – Soča from Slovenia (URI Soča). The attendees of the meeting included Mr. Mile Karanović, the State Secretary, Mrs. Tatjana Milenković, Assistant Minister, Mrs. Milica Đurić, Head of Department, Mrs. Jovanka Simić, Senior Adviser – all from the Ministry, and Mr. Bojan Glamočlija, Director, and Mrs. Jelena Krstić, Director Deputy – both from SMAC. Also in attendance was Mr. Aleksandar Gagić, the first beneficiary of ITF's assistance from Serbia, who had received expert treatment from URI Soča and a new prosthesis.
The focus of the meeting was to review the activities and experiences of the joint project carried out in 2022, with the aim of intensifying cooperation and planning for activities in 2023. The participants discussed the progress made so far and the challenges that needed to be addressed in providing assistance to mine and cluster munitions victims.
In 2022, Mr. Gagić underwent rehabilitation at URI Soča in Slovenia, where he was fitted with a new prosthesis. The Republic of Korea funded the treatment through ITF. Mr. Gagić praised the entire process, from triage to precision fitting, as excellent.
At the joint meeting, one of the key objectives was to gather face-to-face feedback from Mr. Gagić on his experience with ITF and the treatment he received in Slovenia. The discussion also focused on ways to strengthen and intensify cooperation in the area of mine and cluster munitions victim assistance in 2023 and 2024. The ultimate goal is to establish continuous support for victims in Serbia.
The cooperation between ITF, SMAC, and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, established in 2022, is an important step towards improving the quality of life for mine victims in Serbia. Regular consultations and coordination at all stages of the process have been identified as crucial components of this cooperation.
ITF has been providing support to Serbia since 2002, in particular to the segments of mine clearance, cluster munitions clearance, and structure support/capacity building. It is highly encouraging to see that these efforts have been recognized, and the positive impact is now expanding to the comprehensive support to the persons directly affected by landmines, unexploded ordnance, and cluster munitions. The feedback from Mr. Gagić served as a valuable reminder of the impact that this cooperation can have on individual lives.