Floods recovery: focus to turn to prevention

wigermackFurther EU financial assistance will be available to Bosnia and Herzegovina to build resilience against future natural disasters, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said today at the international conference to review progress made on the 2014 Donors’ Conference.

At the event which brought together representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the European Union, and international organisations including the United Nations (UNDP) and the World Bank, Ambassador Wigemark said that the 42 million Euro and 30 million for BiH and Serbia respectively would be followed by  a further 41 million Euro (BiH) and 62 million Euro (Serbia) to further support flood recovery and flood risk management. He underlined that the joint goal for the future is to avoid that similar or other disasters cause such devastation to human beings, the environment, cultural heritage, as well as to communities and to economic activities.

Ambassador Wigemark said in his speech at the opening of the conference:

“We all remember very well the flooding and the devastating effects – affecting families, homes, businesses, schools and public services. Sadly, however, as a consequence of climate change in particular, these kinds of natural disasters will become more frequent, more devastating and more violent.

“That’s why I think that this conference should not only try to track and analyse the progress that has been achieved given the many pledges from donors made in July last year, we should also look at how we can take preventive action so to prevent future disasters from having such devastating effects. We cannot prevent disasters from occurring of course, but we can become better at dealing with them.

“At the Donors’ Conference in Brussels last July “Rebuilding together”, organised also with France and Slovenia, the EU pledged close to 200 million Euros in total for both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bosnia and Herzegovina close to 9,000 people have returned home already; another 2,000 families will be returned by the end of this year; 104 schools and kindergartens were rehabilitated and equipped, to the benefit of 46,000 children, students and teachers. Importantly we have also supported 56 small and medium-sized enterprises here in BiH, through that we have contributed to retaining and generating of more than 2000 jobs. Overall we produced results for over half a million people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“It is in every country’s interests to adopt and implement sound flood prevention policies, to work together against climate change, to continue to protect our rivers, including first defences, and to reinforce emergency capabilities. The BiH Action Plan for flood protection and river management 2014-2017 adopted in January this year is a success story in this regard and I would like to commend BiH for this action plan. We now need to move swiftly to implementation, further investing in capacities and expertise, bringing flood protection projects to full maturity.”

(Source: europa)

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