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Danijel Nikolić, Assistant Secretary General Of Govrnment Of Serbia, Department For International And Development Cooperation

We Won With Our Hearts

Profound understanding, expediency, compassion and humanity are definitely the right words to describe the relationship between the state and NALED, but also the entire Serbian business world in the past year, and I think we have shown that when we are together, there is no crisis that cannot be overcome

At the beginning of the pandemic, socially responsible companies showed great solidarity and readiness to help the state in the fight against Covid-19. The General Secretariat and Danijel Nikolić, Assistant Secretary General at the Department for International and Development Cooperation, played a key role in coordinating donations. That is why our interlocutor deserves to be one of this year’s winners of the NALED team award for joint contribution to overcoming the crisis caused by the pandemic.

What did it look like in those first months of the struggle for medical devices and equipment, and how satisfied are you with the results?

It was a great honour and pleasure to receive this recognition, which actually belongs to the entire Air Coordination team, which did a tremendous job together with the staff of the General Secretariat of the Government, the national airline Air Serbia, Milšped, UNDP Serbia, the Security Information Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Our work involved constant, almost twenty-four-hour coordination with the Cabinet of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of the President of the Republic. We did everything in our power to realize the donations and procurement assured by the humanitarian efforts of the President, the Prime Minister and members of the government, with the help of our socially responsible companies and friendly countries, first and foremost to help our heroes – our health workers – to save our lives.

Although it has been challenging, knowing that we are doing such an important job has made it easy to work from the heart. On behalf of all of us – a great thanks to NALED for recognizing our efforts and thanks for what for us is an extremely important award

Which of the donations or assistance projects you have carried out have you been particularly proud of?

There were indeed challenging moments when we had five planes in the air at the same time. At a time when it was not working out for much larger and more developed countries than ours, we transported medical equipment from several towns in China – primarily respirators, protective equipment and materials, both those that were received as humanitarian aid and those procured y the Republic of Serbia. If I have to single out an individual situation, I think it would certainly be when we organized at the same time two freight trains of over 50 wagons that came directly to Belgrade from Wuhan. At the same time we organized flights for goods that were urgently needed. The first train had a special symbolism for us because it started from Wuhan – the city where the fight against the coronavirus began, and the city that first defeated the virus.

Are donations still needed today, and how much does your cooperation with associations like NALED mean in identifying needs and potential donors?

Donations are always welcome. Now things are slowly returning to normal, and I would say that at least from the organizational viewpoint we have gone from crisis management to a well-organized system that works. The Health Fund and the Ministry of Health regularly review the needs of our health system and successfully coordinate the procurement of everything required, together with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, which during the crisis was the biggest partner in finding socially responsible companies ready to help their country. NALED has made a major contribution by animating its members to unreservedly support us and by finding ways to ensure that no request for assistance remains unfulfilled.