4 November 2020
LLI-302, Safe Borderlands project results
Zemgale planning region, located in the middle of the country, has about 290 kilometers of land border with neighboring Lithuania. At the border live inhabitants of 24 Zemgale rural territories, whose daily life in various areas coincides with the course of life of their neighbors, including socio-economic, cultural, educational, environmental protection and other issues. However, each of the neighboring countries has its own peculiarities of local government, legislation, public order and habits, which greatly influence mutual relations and development trends of the territory.
The local rescue service, regardless of its affiliation and public awareness, operational and professional cooperation on both sides of the border are crucial in dealing with the consequences of floods, storms and other natural disasters, environmental pollution and fires, in traffic accidents and prevention of crime. Therefore, Zemgale Planning Region, involving partners from Aknīste, Tērvete and Vecumnieki municipalities in Zemgale, as well as from Biržai and Rokiškis districts in Lithuania, has implemented the Interreg V-A Latvia-Lithuania cross-border co-operation program 2014-2020 project LLI-302 “Improvement of the efficiency and availability of local public security services on the Latvian-Lithuanian border” (Safe borderlands).
During implementation of the project, meetings of representatives of local state and municipal public security structures, including police, border guards and rescue services, took place in each partner institution took place – trainings to find and create the best solutions to improve cooperation, increase service response capacity in life-threatening situations. In parallel, an extensive study has been carried out on the availability and quality of public security services in the border areas, and an Action Plan for improvement of legislation and practical activities has been developed. The mentioned document has become the basis for conclusion of bilateral cooperation agreements between Aknīste and Rokiškis, Vecumnieki and Biržai, Tērvete and Joniškis local governments. Experience of the project partners exchange trip to the Polish-German euroregion “Pomerania”, which has been successfully implementing a number of cross-border cooperation projects aimed at improving public security services and institutional cooperation, has been very valuable. At our own home, on the Latvian-Lithuanian border, with the support of the “Safe borderlands” project, almost 100 video surveillance cameras were purchased and installed in five municipalities to increase the capacity of security services, which were included in local stationary control systems, speed monitor was installed in Aknīste – display and informative road signs, in all the border municipalities involved in the project, additional modern equipment for the needs of the rescue service was purchased, but in Biržai, neighboring Lithuania, modernization of street lighting was carried out while improving infrastructure.
A valuable contribution to the improvement of public safety in Tērvete municipality can be considered a fire truck purchased with the support of the project, which is new and significantly more powerful than the previously used one, suitable for work in difficult conditions in rural and forest areas. Implementers of the project have done a lot to educate children and young people, increase prestige of the police, border guard, medical and firefighting professions by organizing various competitions, practical classes and exciting games in traffic safety, firefighting and other fields.