Clean Vrbas Charter Signed

28 May 2013

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Entity and cantonal ministers, mayors and representatives of 13 municipalities of the Vrbas river basin, representatives of environmental funds and agencies, as well as donors, signed the Charter on Clean Vrbas thus marking the official beginning of the „Vrbas River Basin Environment Protection and Tourism Development Programme“.

Protection of river Vrbas and planned usage of its touristic and economic potentials are primary goals of the three-year programme, financed by the Government of Japan, Coca Cola Company and Ekopak and implemented by United Nations Development Programme UNDP in BIH.

“This joint program is result of common interest, needs and agreement between the local communities. Taking of responsibility and domestic initiative of mayors, ministries, local NGO's, public utilities services and rafting clubs, from the source to the mouth of Vrbas to respond to the challenges of which depends the quality of life of huge number of population in many ways, resulted with the support of United Nations Development Programme”, said Goran Vukmir, Head of UNDP Regional Office Banja Luka.

The Government of Japan supported several projects in Vrbas river basin in past. The Government of Japan is dedicated to support BiH’s sustainable economic growth and protection of its environment.

“This program will have several important activities: raising of public awarenes on protection of environment, cleaning actions, instalation of small water treatment devices, implementation and enforcement of environmental regulations and support of adventure sports and touristic activites which contribute to the sustainable development and employment of rural population, and Government of Japan will provide 1.3 milions BAM” said H. E. Hideo Yamazaki, Ambasador of Japan in BiH. Through its socially responsible activities the “Coca Cola HBC” for BiH and Croatia joined the partnership program with UNDP and Government of Japan in Vrbas river basin.

“We are pleased that program Clean Vrbas has the opportunity to indicate the importance of water protection and support the local communities in this initiative directed on protection of river Vrbas and strengthening of awareness of its importance for local community” said Mircea Draja, General Director of Coca Cola HBC BiH and CRO.

“Clean Vrbas“ is the first program in Vrbas river basin based on public-private partnership which will gather all municipalities in the basin, ministries and agencies at entity and cantonal level, as well as private companies to prevent pollution of its water and river banks and support development of economy and creation of new “green” jobs at local level.