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Slovakia is not a disaster prone country but on several occasions the floods were so heavy that it raised interest in humanitarianism by NGOs and general public.

10
Medical services, Water & Sanitation
Youth, Children, Refugees
9
Official humanitarian relief expenditure amounts to € 299,500 (including payment to multilateral HA, not directly provided by Slovakian actors)

Scope of involvement

International

People in Peril, Red Cross Society, ADRA, Caritas Slovakia, Red Cross Slovakia within Red Cross Society, Magna Children in Risk, Saint Elisabeth University of Health and Social Sciences, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Interior, SlovakAid agency.

 

Types of stakeholders

NGO in general

There are no NGOs focused exclusively on humanitarian aid which is always seen as a secondary activity comparing to development assistance. There are 5 NGOs providing Humanitarian Action abroad. The main NGOs are aware of the advantages of specialisation and try to shape their mandate accordingly.

National Red Cross Society

Until 2003, only the Slovak Red Cross (established in 1881) was operating in Slovakia and the country was seen more as a recipient than a donor.

Faith-based organisations

ADRA - Adventist Development and Relief Association (www.adra.sk) as member of ADRA network is operating on the basis of Christian religion principles; Slovak Catholic Charity – operating with the support of Christian Church

Armed Forces

Operating within the national humanitarian sector (on professional base – National Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, also on volunteer base – volunteers organisation of fire forces, health services etc.), and also in international sector (National Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic and especially Unit for Searching and Rescue of people in humanitarian need of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, operating after earth-break).

Private Sector

The only actor (a private company) that focuses purely on missions related to humanitarian disasters is Comprehensive Central Emergency Services created as an association of former fire protection volunteers but transformed into a specialised rescue group with extensive rescue capabilities and expertise. It cooperates with the Ministry of Interior and DG ECHO.

State humanitarianism

Ministries and State Agencies involved

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Ministry of Interior are the main official governmental actors. Slovakia joined OSCE in 2000 and Slovak Aid system was established in 2003 (as part of Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs). There was established separate department focusing on development and humanitarian aid in 2003 within the internal organisation of Ministry of Foreign affairs. Later on there was established SlovakAid agency (Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation), as the provider of particular humanitarian assistance in form of financial support for humanitarian actors.

Legal framework

In 2006, the Mechanism of humanitarian aid provision was adopted by the Slovak Government and in 2007, an Act on ODA was approved.

In 2011 new act on sending civil experts within activities of crises management was adopted (Act No. 503/2011, efficient since 01 February 2012). The list of civil experts is in the competence of Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and there are mainly legal experts who are send to the humanitarian actions.

Dialogue-coordination

A Slovak Non-Governmental Development Organisations Platform was created as an umbrella organisation for NGOs. In 2010, the NGDO Platform and the Ministry of FEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the NGDO Platform was granted a status of official partner of the MFEA for reviewing and preparing key documents related to development policies and development cooperation.

On October 15, 2013 there was adopted memorandum between main key actors within the humanitarian sector in the Slovak Republic on coordination of activities in relation to respond immediately to humanitarian crises. This initiative was formalised mainly due to not transparent division of roles of non-state and state actors.

Specific roles of international organisations

European Commission

In 2004 Slovakia joined the EU and established EU national contact point at the Ministry of Interior (Crisis Management Section). Slovak Republic coordinates providing humanitarian assistance mainly within the ministry, non-governmental actors are involved by provided some facilities (like transport of the food, health and sanity material). The government however prefer allocation of money and financial contribution in EU coordinated humanitarian activities.

 

Specific focus

Linking Relief Rehabilitation Development

The humanitarian aid sector in Slovakia does not exist separately but only as a minor part of development aid activities. The ratio between multilateral and bilateral ODA is 75%:25% although the Slovak NDGO Platform constantly lobbies for more bilateral projects.

Unfortunately, the amount for humanitarian aid in direct responsibility is decreasing, what means that the Slovak government prefer to send money to international organisations (UN, EU, OSCE) for the accumulation and for common projects, instead of prefer national actors. This is usually argued by capacities (not professionalised personal capacities, networks, etc.) and by fulfilment of obligations to international organisations.

 

Humanitarian Education

Higher education

There are no special study programmes aimed at humanitarian action but 3 courses with some focus on humanitarian action and several courses related to international humanitarian law at Law faculties. Some are taught by experts with field experience (when this is the case the syllabus is practice-oriented and course conducted in informal way). Pontis Foundations supports a Working Group of academia members from all the universities interested in developing educational foundations (study materials, syllabus, networking, etc.) for studies in humanitarian and development related issues. Trnava University is involved in a project in cooperation with Dutch and Austrian partners that should result in creation of a study program "Development studies" at the Department of development studies and tropical health. The humanitarian education is thus still in the making.

In-house training

Knowledge of teachers without field experience is acquired through vocational training provided by national or foreign NGOs or the Red Cross Society. Slovak NDGO Platform members (People in Peril, Caritas Slovakia, Albert Association for the support of activities of Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Trnava) are in a constant debate with the Ministry of Education in order to press for development education to be one of the accredited study programmes.

Seminar/short courses

The development and particular humanitarian education is supported within the special scheme operated by SlovakAid agency. The activities for training are not part of regular education in the Slovakia and missing debate between MFA and Ministry of education led to the using training facilities and activities provided by neighbouring countries, mainly in Austria.

Researchers

Lucia Mokrá
Michaela Chládeková
Comenius University in Bratislava