Supporting the Sustainable Return and Development of Birač Region
The Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations (UN) and the municipalities of Bratunac, Milići, Srebrenica, Zvornik and Vlasenica, was signed today in Srebrenica, marking the begining of the implementation of Development and Cooperation in the Birač Region Project. The project worth 2.1 million USD financed by the Government of Kingdom of Netherlands, ensures the strengthening of local partnerships for sustainable and socially inclusive development in the Birač region.
The ceremony was attended by Municipality Mayors of Bratunac, Milići, Srebrenica, Zvornik i Vlasenica, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Zahira Virani, Ambassador of Kingdom of Netherlands, H. E. Jurriaan Kraak , UNICEF Representative, Florence Bauer and UNHCR Representative in BiH, Andrew Mayne.
"This event marks continuation of successful cooperation between the UN agencies and Birač region municipalities aiming to improve cooperation between municipalities. The project foresease creation of Regional Development Strategy and acceleration of poverty reduction and social exclusion by improvement of social services. It falls within the broader framework of and adheres to the fundamental principles as expressed in the Joint Declaration in response to the continuing challenges of Displacement in BiH signed in July 2013“, said Zahira Virani.
Additionally, the project will help establish municipal commissions to improve access to social protection for, as well as social inclusion of vulnerable groups (families and children in need, displaced persons, returnees and others). Both types of mechanisms will bring together a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sector and civil society. The project will provide initial funding for priority activities identified by these actors, to complement the municipalities’ own contributions.
„Certainly, one of the best things that can be done is establishing a mechanism for municipalities to jointly plan priority investments, and to also raise and attract funding jointly. After all, there are many needs and priorities that transcend municipal borders. Working together creates "economies of scale" and can reduce overlaps and inefficiencies. It will help accessing bank loans and - in future - EU funding for agricultural and rural development.“ stated H. E. Jurriaan Kraak.
Since 2005, the Government of the Netherlands has provided over 22 million Euros in support of the Srebrenica Regional Recovery Project, implemented by UNDP in the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac and Milići.
The new Birač project, in a partnership with UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR, will be implemented from September this year until April 2016.