EU adopted 41 million Euro special measures package for flood recovery and flood risk management in BiH

The European Commission adopted on 17th December the 2014 Special Measures for Flood Recovery and Flood Risk Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina, worth 41 million EUR from the ‘IPA 2’ fund. In addition to flood prevention and river management, the 2014 Special Measures for Bosnia and Herzegovina also include further EU assistance to housing rehabilitation, to SMEs and local economic development in flood affected areas, support to enhance civil protection capacities in disaster response and grant support to local NGOs.

This is the second part of the package of 85 million EUR pledged by the EU at the Donors Conference in July 2014. It follows the assistance already provided by the EU through its Flood Recovery Programme in the amount of 42.24 million EUR, which was launched in August 2014 and is being implemented by the UNDP, UNICEF and IOM in BiH until October 2015.

Dr Renzo Daviddi, Charge d’affaires of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina said:

“Providing timely and coordinated support to local communities in restoring normal living conditions soon after the devastating floods in May was our priority. Together with our implementing partners from UNDP, UNICEF and IOM we have successfully managed to deliver much needed assistance on the ground to the most vulnerable people urgently. Implementation of the 42 million EUR is well under way.

“These new funds will contribute to enhance the country’s preparedness and protection against similar events in the future, and as such signal the transition to the next phase of flood prevention and management, involving more structural measures towards flood resilience. In addition, these funds will allow the EU’s ongoing and future efforts to continue to assist people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in overcoming the effects of these floods.”

A key element of the overall package is the focus on flood prevention, protection and preparedness as well as the re-construction of critical flood protection infrastructure in high-risk areas of the Sava River basin, both on a national and regional level.

The national component from the 2014 Special Measures envisages 15 million EUR to support improvements to the hydrological forecasting systems in the Bosna river as well as the re-construction of priority river infrastructure in critical locations of the Sava, Bosna and Janja rivers. The measures are aligned with the agreed Action Plan for Flood Protection and River Management in BiH 2014-2017 and were defined by relevant water authorities and institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina at all levels of government.

“The implementation of the flood prevention and river management components of the 2014 Special Measures can only start after all levels of governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina adopt the Action Plan, which sets the strategic framework for coordinated work in this area. We welcome that procedure for its adoption has been launched,” said Dr Daviddi.

As part of the 2014 Special Measures package, the EU also adopted 20 million EUR from the IPA multi-country envelope to support regional river infrastructure projects in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. This assistance will focus on the        re-construction of embankments of different sections of the Sava and Drina rivers located both in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina and having a cross-border and regional impact.

In an effort to support the country in the implementation of the EU Floods Directive, the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) has also recently approved a grant application worth 4.88 million EUR including support for the development of floods hazard and risk maps for the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Implementation of the new funds is envisaged to start in 2015.