UNDP helps reduce flood risk in BiH

UNDP helps reduce flood risk in BiH
In order to reduce the flood risk and flood hazards for residents and businesses in the catchment areas of ​​Una/Sana, Vrbas, Bosna, Ukrina (the Sava River Basin), and Neretva, Trebišnjica rivers (Adriatic Sea Basin), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the key BiH institutions at all levels of government worked intensively on the preparation of the new project proposal. At the meeting that was held in Sarajevo on Wednesday, representatives of the water, environment, security and civil protection sectors met to discuss the concept of the project idea and to finalize it.

Increasingly frequent and intense precipitation occurring in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent years has caused the flooding of residential and commercial buildings, infrastructure, agricultural land, and soil erosion. The population that lives in the immediate vicinity of the watercourses is particularly exposed to floods. In addition to life threats, floods cause enormous material damage and negatively affect the entire economy.

In the UNDP press release, issued after the meeting in  Sarajevo, it was explained that the focus of the project “Scaling Up Climate Resilient Flood Risk Management in Bosnia Herzegovina ''is the development of a flood forecasting and early warning system, watercourse regulation, and the creation of an investment framework to reduce the population's exposure to floods". It is estimated that in the basins of these six rivers about 900 thousand inhabitants are exposed to flood risk.

"This project proposal is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina from several aspects. In the past years, a lot has been invested in the protection and rescue sectors, the flood protection sector, implementation of infrastructure measures, the rebuilding of embankments, the strengthening of the capacities of institutions, and the preparation of models for floods forecasting, emphasized Boško Kenjić, Head of the Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He added that the new project would help BiH to complete the whole system of flood protection in state in terms of the infrastructure and capacity of institutions dealing with the issue of flood protection, improving cooperation and communication at different levels of government, as well as implementing measures and activities in local communities in order to increase their resistance to floods.

“The aim is to ensure greater security for the population”, Kenjić stressed.

As UNDP announced, it is expected that the USD70 million project proposal will be delivered to the donor - Green Climate Fund (GCF) for consideration in the second half of 2019. The GCF would fund the project in the form of a grant in the amount of USD 14 million, while BiH institutions at all levels of government would provide co-financing from various sources in the amount of USD 56 million.

"The funds that would be secured by the GCF grant would be used to design flood defense as part of an integral approach to the river basin, as well as the implementation of structural and non-structural measures to mitigate the effects of climate change", said Raduška Cupać, the Project Manager at the UNDP.

Svjetlana Radusin, Assistant Minister for Environmental Protection at the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of Republika Srpska, which is also the focal point for the Green Climate Fund on behalf of BiH, said that this is the third project being nominated, in cooperation with UNDP, to the Green Climate Fund. Over the past few days, we have been witnessing floods in our areas. We hope that we will jointly develop the project and achieve positive effects, such as those achieved so far within the framework of the project "Technology Transfer for Climate Resilient Flood Management in Vrbas River Basin".

Almir Prljača, the Manager of the Water Management Sector at the Agency ​​for Sava River Basin, stated that the project proposal is a good basis for improving the water sector, i.e. overcoming the shortcomings that we have had from the previous period.

“All planned activities are within the scope of the Action Plan (for flood protection and river management in BiH) as well as the activities of the Agency and all other water sector institutions in the last four years. The Agency will contribute with the provision of necessary data, active participation of employees in the preparation phase, operation and implementation of the project in order to enable this project to be fully affirmed and to be approved”, Prljača pointed out.

UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of Republika  Srpska, as a BiH contact institution for the GCF, and other institutions at all levels of government in BiH is already implementing two projects funded by the Green Climate Fund in the area of adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change./ΙΒΝΑ