At the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Joint Programme of the Government of Switzerland and United Nations (UN) “Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ 10 local communities were presented where the programme activities will be implemented. The local communities of Banja Luka,Bihać, Bijeljina, Gradačac, Kakanj,Kalesija, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Srebrenica and Trebinje were selected in the previous period, in cooperation with partners at all levels of authority.
Barbara Dätwyler Scheuer, Director of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in BiH pointed out that “This project is one of the biggest and most comprehensive undertaking in the field of DRR in Bosnia and Herzegovina ever. In both entities, several communities have been selected to become part of this project. Switzerland will provide almost half of the 8.4 million KM for this project over next four years. As a densely populated mountainous country, Switzerland has broad experience in dealing with natural disasters since many centuries. We became a society that is competent in dealing with risks – which means that we are aware and we manage risks from natural hazards in a conscious and forward-looking manner. We want to share this know-how and experience with our counterparts from BiH.“
The selection criteria utilized in the process are reflected through risk assessments, vulnerability and exposure to disasters; human and technical capacity; existence of land use data and cadastres; existence of local development strategies; political willingness of local government leaderships to engage and ensure co-financing; and possibility to synergize with other relevant UN-implemented initiatives. This joint programme worth 8.4 million KM is implemented by UN agencies: UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and FAO in partnership with local authorities.
Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in BiH on behalf of five implementing UN agencies pointed out that approximately 600,000 people live in these 10 local communities so a significant number of citizens will be covered by this project. “Through this project we will help municipalities to address the issues related to disaster risk reduction and integrate them in their development plans” he said and added that the project will cover vulnerable groups such as children and women.
The Programme is aimed at supporting BH citizens, in particular the most vulnerable population groups and high-risk local communities, to be prepared and adapted to disaster risks and impacts in different development sectors. In 2020, activities will focus on enhancement of capacity, strategies and action plans for the purpose of prevention and preparedness of local communities for disaster risk reduction. The intention is to strengthen the institutional preparedness and capacities of members of DRR platforms through a multi-sectoral approach with focus on vulnerable population groups in local communities.
Milan Novitović, Acting Director of Directorate for Civil Protection of Republika Srpska stated that this is the first time that all the relevant institutions will be integrated into the system of protection and rescue.
Local communities and population will use existing scientific data and simple software solutions to gain insight into hazards regarding the type of disaster in order to raise awareness of the disaster risk, as well as the assessment of spatial risks combined with data on hazards, land use and vulnerability for decision-makers.
Ramo Dautbašić, Head of Department for Fire Protection and Firefighting, Directorate for Civil Protection of Federation of BiH said that disasters have no boundaries and, in that sense, local self-government units have been selected.
Also, through a number of activities the intention is that DRR is properly addressed across all sectors involved (protection and rescue, education, social and child protection, health, and agriculture) within the Programme in order to have a comprehensive and coordinated action based on dialogue in local communities.
About the Programme: The Joint Swiss-UN Programme aims to address key DRR priorities identified by local governments and various stakeholders in 10 local self-governance units (LSGU) across various sectors: protection and rescue, education, social and child protection, health, and agriculture. The following UN agencies are responsible for the implementation of activities: UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and FAO in partnership with local authorities.