ITF designated specialized agency
Ljubljana, 27 July - The Slovenian demining fund ITF - Enhancing Human Security has been designated a specialised agency of a member state, a status awarded by the EU to selected humanitarian organisations which comply with strict criteria.
The ITF is the first Slovenian NGO to be granted the status and only the twelfth in the EU, an honour that the head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, Zoran Stančič, said was a recognition of the work it has done so far.
The status gives the ITF the opportunity to directly carry out EU humanitarian projects and facilitates access to financing.
"We know that speed is of utmost importance in disasters ... this way those in need will get help faster," Stančič said about faster access to financing.
ITF director Tomaž Lovrenčič said the funds will be used for operations in 17 countries in which the ITF is already active as well as in other regions.
He hopes the new status will improve the institution's efficiency in mine clearing.
ITF was established in March 1998 at the initiative of the Slovenian government, originally to help Bosnia-Herzegovina implement the Dayton Agreement, clear mine-infested territory and help mine victims.
Since then, it has expanded its operations not only to more countries but also to other areas including education and assistance to victims.