Mikhail Krotov, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, deputy Executive Secretary of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly, spoke at the international conference Law and Integrated Security that took place on May 13 within the framework of the 13th international exhibition Integrated Safety and Security 2021 in Kubinka, near Moscow.
In his speech, Mikhail Krotov recalled that CSTO PA exists to provide legislative support of CSTO Member States’ integrated security, including emergency prevention and response.
“Cooperation between the CSTO Member States in the sphere of emergency prevention and response has become one of the main areas of the Organization’s work. It is carried out within the framework of the CSTO Member States’ Coordination Council for Emergency Situations, established by the decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council of October 6, 2007,” Mikhail Krotov noted.
CIS countries, as well as the CSTO Member States, are neighbours, they exist within common ecosystems and have close economic, social and cultural relations, which explains their willingness to cooperate in the emergency prevention and response. Ministries for emergencies also cooperate constantly.
Both bilateral and multilateral agreements provide the legal framework for these activities. The legal framework for multilateral cooperation is based on the Agreement between the CIS Member Nations on Cooperation in Emergency Prevention and Relief, signed in 2015 to replace the outdated 1993 Agreement.
Implementation of this agreement requires its harmonization with the national legislation, which should provide for cooperation in emergencies forecasting; provision of information on the risk of emergencies that may affect another state; exchange of R&D results and mutual assistance in emergency response with the maximum facilitation of border crossing by rescuers. This, in turn, implies harmonization and approximation of legislation in this area. Among the CIS members, the closest cooperation in the area of emergency prevention and response is carried out by the CSTO Member States that view such cooperation as the most important area for ensuring collective security. The CSTO has a Member States’ Coordination Council for Emergency Situations established in 2007. These issues are also under the purview of the Organization’s Collective Security Council.
The CSTO Parliamentary Assembly, headed by Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the CSTO PA and Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, promotes approximation of Member States’ legislation in this area to establish unified approaches in legislation, eliminate differences in terminology and classification of critical facilities, competencies and responsibilities of authorized entities, accountability and control, etc.
The CSTO Parliamentary Assembly develops and adopts recommendations and model laws to address these tasks. These international legal instruments, although not statutory, are adopted by parliamentary delegations headed by the speakers of the parliaments of the Organization’s Member States.
The instruments themselves undergo domestic approval and are therefore taken into account in a fairly comprehensive way by the national legislation. Introduction of norms on mandatory consideration of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly’s documents into the CSTO Member States parliaments’ regulations facilitates this.
To date, the Assembly has adopted the following documents used by national parliaments:
– Recommendations on Harmonization of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation in the Area of Crisis Response that formulate common criteria for the classification of emergencies, implications of establishing an emergency situation regime, joint emergency response in the Member States, data exchange, first aid and joint actions in emergencies.
– Recommendations on the Harmonization of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation in the Area of Ensuring Security of Critical Facilities that formulate common principles of ensuring the security of such facilities and a common legal regime of responding to emergencies at critical facilities.
– Recommendations on the Harmonization of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation in the Area of Near-Border Cooperation in Natural and Man-Made Emergencies.
Recommendations on Harmonization of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation Regulating the Functioning of Emergency Response Services and the Status of Emergency Response Workers also address important tasks. They contain the main principles of operation of emergency response services and workers; the procedure for establishment and operation of emergency services; possibility and obligation of participation of emergency services in emergency response; emergency response workers and their status; responsibility of emergency services and workers of the Member States.
This document formulates sixteen specific recommendations on the structure of the CSTO Member States’ national legislation in this area, the terminology, principles and types of emergency services. It also suggests types of emergency response workers and requirements to them common to all CSTO Member States, as well as provisions on the CIS Rescue Corps and the role of rescuers in the CSTO Collective Rapid Response Force.
These Recommendations contain provisions on the prospects for the development of emergency response services of the CSTO Member States, the use of new technologies and materials for emergency response, forecasts on new types of emergency response workers and their training programmes (use of artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, etc.).
Recommendations on the Harmonization of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation Governing Training and Retraining on Safety in Emergency Situations also address important tasks.
Apart from the recommendations that focus on emergency response, model laws covering a broader range of issues that require inter-agency cooperation also contribute to approximation and harmonization of legislation in this area. These include laws on humanitarian aid, energy security, non-state entities ensuring national security, etc.
Mikhail Krotov noted that the development of these documents requires close cooperation with relevant ministries of the CSTO Member States, a wide range of experts and research and education institutions.
On behalf of the Assembly, he especially thanked the St Petersburg University of State Fire Service of EMERCOM of Russia and the Ministry of Emergency Situations as a whole. He also recalled that along with the deputies from the six CSTO Member States, parliamentarians from the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, who have an observer status, also take an active part in the lawmaking process. This is understandable, as the EMERCOM of Russia has been carrying out humanitarian de-mining in this country, which had been subjected to NATO’s aggression, for more than two decades.
Despite the large amount of work done, many legislative issues still need to be unified and harmonized. At the initiative of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus, the Assembly’s 2021–2025 Legislative Action Plan includes draft Recommendations on the Improvement of the CSTO Member States’ Legislation in the Area of Civil Protection.
Mikhail Krotov noted that all stages of the model lawmaking, from the inclusion of certain legal norms in the CSTO PA five-year action plan to their adoption by the Assembly, are accompanied by a constructive discussion with the participation of both experts and parliamentarians who make the final decision.
The differences in states’ approaches are already evident at the stage of including certain recommendations and model laws in the Assembly’s Legislative Action Plan.
A number of topical issues have not yet been included in the Action Plan, as some states consider their legal regulation to be a purely national prerogative.
For example, this applies to such an important civil society institution as volunteer fire brigades. Nevertheless, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in the CSTO PA noted that in its 15-year history, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly has achieved considerable progress in harmonizing the national laws of the Collective Security System members.
Mikhail Krotov, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian Federal Assembly and deputy Executive Secretary of the CSTO PA, invited his colleagues to participate in the joint work and expressed his confidence that “emergency ministries have a lot of interesting legal initiatives responding to new challenges and threats, which certainly could be taken into account within the legal framework of the collective security system.”
Summing up the results of the conference, State Secretary - Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters, Lieutenant General Alexey Serko noted that all the proposals made during the conference will be carefully studied in the Ministry and will certainly be reflected in further work plans to improve the protection of the population from emergencies.