A new Sava and Drina Rivers Corridors Integrated Development Program (SDIP) supported by the World Bank will strengthen transboundary water cooperation and improve navigability and flood protection in the Sava and Drina Rivers Corridors. Phase one of the program providing EUR 123.2 million (US$134 million equivalent) of financing to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Republic of Serbia, was approved today by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors.
Covering three riparian countries of the Sava and Drina rivers—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro— the program will use an integrated approach to finance flood protection, environmental management, and port modernization activities to improve connectivity along the Sava and Drina Rivers Corridors. The project will also help strengthen transboundary water cooperation and enhance regional economic growth in countries where vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by COVID-19.
“The Sava and Drina River Basin has considerable untapped potential as an enabler of economic growth, regional connectivity, resilience to climate change risks, social cohesion, and job creation,” says Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Regional Director for the Western Balkans. “This transboundary cooperation has the potential to deliver benefits to the communities and businesses within the rivers corridors and will provide opportunities for far reaching economic impacts to the riparian countries.”
The program aims to accelerate regional economic cooperation in the Western Balkans and strengthen the institutions and procedures through which the Sava and Drina riparian countries collaborate. The projects flood mitigation measures will increase the area protected from floods by 300,000 hectares, providing protection from 1 in 100-year floods to about 400,000 people. The project will also improve waterway connectivity and navigability for over 200km of the Sava River, and will enhance transboundary water cooperation through knowledge sharing across sectors and riparian countries.
The program will be implemented through two sequential and partially overlapping phases and will provide a total of approximately US$332 million over the next ten years to support long-term and climate-smart economic growth and regional cooperation. Phase one, approved today, includes Serbia (EUR 78.2 million), Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUR 30 million), and Montenegro (EUR 15 million for the Lim and Grnčar River basins). Slovenia and Croatia will also participate in the regional studies, regional dialogue, capacity building tools, and related activities in Phase I.