Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country, with a complex political system, trying to find its place in the European family. There are many obstacles, but the goal is clear. To become a member of the European Union, the ideal of equality and justice, security and economic prosperity.
The EU has supported the country on the recovery path from the catastrophic floods of 2014 and 2020. Similar scenarios can unfortunately be witnessed even today, when heavy rainfalls cause floods and landslides throughout the country, affecting many citizens, damaging infrastructure, and hitting the economy, only adding to the acute challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU is the largest donor of the Flood Recovery Programme with around €84 million allocated so far to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s flood-affected communities, to raise awareness and also to implement short and mid-term interventions in many sectors (find out more at: http://europa.ba/?p=69471)
Direct support is given to BiH also to become a full member of the EU civil protection mechanism, allowing the Civil Protection to become capable of responding better and more efficiently in case of natural disasters.
The EU provided for € 1.8 million for projects with the aim to raise awareness on the importance of flood prevention, capacity building of civil protection. In addition, through its Cross Border Cooperation Program between BiH and Serbia, € 3.6 million were allocated for flood protection and prevention measures.
€ 15 million under National IPA and € 10 million under the regional program with Serbia were implemented to implement special measures for flood protection and water management. The action entails activities aiming to increase capacities in terms of prevention and protection for integrated flood risk management, as well reconstruction of flood-protection structures along the Sava River to protect the population living in the area that sustained the most detrimental damage during the floods in 2014.
Two contracts were signed in December 2017 for the “Flood recovery – Housing Interventions in FBiH and Republika Srpska”, funded by the EU in the amount of € 12.5 million and co-financed by local authorities and UNDP with € 1.9 million. The overall objective was to support the sustainable recovery of flood and landslide affected communities. In the last 4 years, the EU has provided housing for about 3,000 people in 45 municipalities and cities in BiH. Find out more: http://europa.ba/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Oporavak-od-poplava_ENG_web.pdf).
The European Union has contributed €2.5 million to build capacities and prepare BiH for membership of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Within the project “EU for Better Civil Protection”, the European Union has supported the strengthening of civil protection institutions to be better prepared to react in cases of natural and other disasters and provide better protection to the citizens.
Investments in this area are a must and a priority. The EU continues to support Bosnia-Herzegovina, exposed to an extremely high risk of flood scenarios in the future, in building stronger civil protection structures, and expecting local authorities to engage more and more on this challenging task.