New Project for Sustainable Return and Development of Birač Region

Sep 5, 2013

HE Jurriaan Kraak, Ambassador of Kingdom of Netherlands and Yuri Afanasiev, Resident Coordinator of United Nations signed the 2.1 million US dollars Agreement for the project, which will help create local partnerships for sustainable and socially inclusive development in the Birač Region. 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 assist these three municipalities and Vlasenica and Zvornik in establishing multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms to address joint development priorities.
To improve inter-municipal coordination, the project will help establish a Local Action Group (LAG), based on a model that is already operational in other parts of BiH and many European countries. The work of a LAG is underpinned by a regional development strategy and a regional development fund. 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.
“This project in Eastern Bosnia is the second in BiH following recently inaugurated initiative in Canton 10 emanating from the Joint Declaration signed by State and Entity ministries in charge of returnees and DPs, the United Nations, the EU Delegation and fully supported by the US and now the Netherlands. We expect to soon deploy new programmes in other BiH regions, which will support sustainable livelihoods for socially excluded groups in full complementarity to the Regional Housing Programme,” said Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator.
This Agreement is fully in line with the strong commitment of the UN Country Team and the Netherlands to the process of sustainable return. The project 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.

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