Problems are easier to overcome when you have 31 friends to help you.
And when our friends, allies and partners ask for help, NATO is there.
NATO was there for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014, when devastating floods severely affected more than 450,000 people: flooding thousands of homes, polluting water supplies, disrupting power supplies, causing more than 5000 landslides – which dislodged landmines and cut off major towns – and creating a medical emergency as waterborne diseases threatened the public. The estimated cost of repair was almost 4 billion BAM.
There was not a single NATO Member state who did not (one way or another) provide some form of support. Around a dozen of our other partners did too.
NATO was there throughout 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Bosnia and Herzegovina asked for help – and NATO members stepped up.
Between them – bilaterally, through NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), or other auspices - NATO Members provided to hospitals and health institutions across BiH – both in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), and the Republika Srpska (RS) with vaccines, respirators, COVID tests, surgical masks and gloves, hand sanitizer, protective suits, goggle and visors and much, much more.
But our partnership doesn't just exist in times of crisis.
NATO has been there for Bosnia for 28 years. First as an implementation force, to protect the peace and guarantee security to all sides following the Dayton agreement. And for the last 17 years, since BiH joined the Partnership for Peace programme,
NATO's partnership with BiH has brought benefits each and every day: to BiH's institutions, its armed forces and, whether they realize it or not, every person within BiH.
Democratic reform of the defence and security sectors is an absolutely essential element of a free a democratic society - with civilian oversight, great transparency of decisions and spending, and greater accountability at its heart.
As a result corruption decreases, the rule of law is strengthened and businesses have the confidence to invest – which creates jobs and improves the quality of life for all citizens.