The Minister of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology, Srebrenka Golić, opened the two-day Workshop on “Integrating climate change and reducing the risk of flooding in the Vrbas River basin”, today in Banja Luka, organised by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), presenting projects and plans for protection against flooding and water management in BiH rivers.
Speaking about the Project for reducing the risk of flooding in the Vrbas River basin, funded by the Global Environment Facility (the GEF) in the amount of five million dollars, Madam Minister Golić noted that the five million dollars of grant funds would be given to the self-government units along the Vrbas river basin.
“This Project is of particular significance because the funds obtained for its implementation are solely donors’ funds secured through joint efforts of the Ministry and the UNDP”, she said, pointing out that this is one of the few projects that will include infrastructural building apart from certain studies and strategies, that is, more than sixty-five per cent of the funds would be invested in the infrastructure. Implementation of a five-year project for reducing the risk of flooding in the Vrbas river basin shall start on the 1st of June and the funds for its implementation have already been made available.
Madam Minister Golić pointed out that the first phase of the Project would be hydro-mechanical modelling of the Vrbas river basin, as well as reconstruction of the hydro meteorological networks within the river basin. “After that, the source will be addressed and certain facilities will be built, which means carrying out of construction and other works”, she clarified and said that the population living along the Vrbas river basin will have the greatest benefits from this Project which is a continuation of the Project “Clean Vrbas” implemented two years ago.
“The Ministry has implemented this project really fast in given the deadlines that are common for similar projects. This speaks towards the fact of how much trust have the World Bank, European Commission and the EU Delegation given to the line ministry, and it most certainly also emphasises good cooperation with the UNDP”, said Minister Srebrenka Golić.
The Project shall be implemented by the UNDP, with expert assistance of the Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska.
Head of the UNDP Energy and Environment Sector, Sanjin Avdić, says that the aim of this Project is integrating climate change in floodplains management including management of the risk of flooding.
“This Project is specific by the fact that over sixty-five per cent of these funds shall end in implementation of infrastructural measures, and to this end, we had a very good support of domestic institutions that were applying pressure on the donor and managed to obtain the funds”, said Avdić.
He pointed out that he was hoping for the climate change to be introduced into strategic documents upon completed implementation of the Project, and which would serve as a basis for planning and reducing the risk of flooding throughout BiH.
The Workshop “Integrating climate change and reducing the risk of flooding in the Vrbas River basin” is the first gathering of all relevant stakeholders with reference to climate change, and the representatives of BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, the EU Delegation to BiH, World Bank and International Sava River Basin Commission will be participating in the work during the Workshop.