Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Start: 2019-01-01

According to the 2017 World Risk Report, Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked as a country of high exposure to natural hazards. Out of 145 local governments in the country, 91 are considered to be at very significant risk from floods and landslides, while 27 are at high risk. The past 6 years have been very to extremely dry, and at the same time, large floods have become frequent every year.

According to the Recovery Needs Assessment (RNA), conducted after the May 2014 floods, 81 local governments in BiH were affected, with 75% of the damage and losses directly borne by families, businesses, and agricultural producers, including an undefined number of vulnerable groups. Subsequently, one of the underlying recommendations of the RNA is to strengthen resilience at the local level through disaster risk reduction (DRR) and sustainable development.

“Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ is a joint programme, supported and financed by the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations (UN), and implemented by the UN agencies in BiH (United Nations Development Programme - UNDP, United Nations Children's Fund - UNICEF, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO, United Nations Population Fund - UNFPA and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO) in partnership with domestic authorities. 

The overall objective of the Programme is to support the local governments in BiH to improve their DRR institutional capacities, frameworks, public services, and partnerships. The Programme supports citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups and high-risk local communities in BiH, to prepare for and adapt to risks of disasters, as well as to ensure that population in risk-exposed areas are less vulnerable to social and economic consequences of disasters and climate change.

The long-term vision of the Programme is functional DRR governance at various levels and sectors in the country, throughout three phases. The first phase consists of a four-year plan that lays the groundwork for DRR through basic institutional capacities, coordination mechanisms and strategic frameworks.

The Programme introduces and operationalizes integrated risk management and a disaster risk management model at the local level, in order to initiate a bottom-up approach at the higher levels of government. At the same time, the Programme aims to facilitate the affirmation of a "model" system of preparedness and prevention at the local level, with the potential to expand it throughout the country.

Project components

While the Programme covers the whole country, the focus is on a core group of 10 local governments, based on the methodology for selecting high-risk local governments, and their willingness to actively participate in and support the implementation of the Programme - Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Prijedor, Srebrenica, Trebinje in the Republika Srpska (RS) and Bihać, Kalesija, Kakanj, Gradačac, Sanski Most in the Federation of BiH (FBiH).

The Programme addresses key DRR priorities, which were identified by local authorities and various stakeholders in the sectors of protection and rescue, education, social and child protection, health and agriculture.

A particular emphasis is placed on the improvement of local coordination mechanisms in the DRR area, as well as on the affirmation of the strategic risk planning process, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable groups of the population.

The Programme has two main outcomes:

Outcome 1:  At least 10 local governments have adopted DRR-featuring strategies, established partnerships for effective DRR interventions, and financed actions that build community resilience, and are thereby better equipped to prevent and respond to disasters.

Outcome 2:  Citizens in the target locations, particularly the most vulnerable groups, have become more resilient to disasters.

Results To Date

  • 10 local DRR platforms are established, bringing together 139 representatives of relevant sectors/institutions (civil protection, agriculture, education, social and child protection and health).
  • Action plans were developed in 10 local communities in line with the entity-level Framework Action Plans on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence.
  • 10 workshops held for DRR Platform members on the topic of climate change, the role of the social and child protection sectors in the preparation of vulnerability assessments and contingency planning in the social and child protection sectors in the DRR, risk assessments and preparedness plans in the education sector, exclusive breastfeeding pre-, during and post-disasters etc.
  • Completed sectoral risk assessments and incorporation of findings in consolidated local risk assessments.
  • Disaster Risk Analysis (DRAS) system established and promoted in all 10 local communities with necessary training sessions on utilizing the tool for future work in conducting risk assessments.
  • Completed mapping of institutions, organizations and services in the field of sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence in selected communities, including developing the framework of actions of health institutions in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence in crises situations in both entities.
  • Priority DRR activities related to engineering activities on flood and landslide prevention and procurement of equipment are implemented in several local governments.
  • Organized tailored camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) training of trainers (ToT) for Civil Protection, Red Cross and other relevant institutions from all partner local governments, including representatives of the Red Cross Associations, Civil Protection Administrations at the entity level and Ministry of Security of BiH.
  • 10 school disaster management teams are formed, enabling cross-sectoral and holistic DRR implementation at the school level.
  • Dedicated DRR working groups are established in the social and child protection sectors, linked to local DRR Platforms in the 10 target locations.
  • Centers for Social Welfare developed and 10 Risk and Vulnerability Risk Assessments in the social protection sector and Shock-Responsive Social Protection Action Plans adopted. 
  • 10 Centers for Social Welfare supported to design DRR grant projects aimed at incentivizing the implementation of key preparedness measures adopted through DRR SP APs.
  • The Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) training of trainers delivered.
  • Global Package on Interpersonal Communication on Immunization was adjusted to the local context and training of trainers was conducted for pediatricians and epidemiologists. 
  • 71 health professionals improved their knowledge, awareness, accountability, and capacities in identified priority health care functions required before, during and after emergencies in selected municipalities, covering 10 primary health care centers providing quality breastfeeding support to mothers/families.


Goals Moving Forward

  • Consolidated risk assessments to be adopted in 2022 (UNESCO education part will be integrated in 2022),
  • Mainstreaming of DRR priorities from risk assessments into the local development strategies in 2022 in the remaining local communities,
  • Implementation of identified measure (UNDP and UNICEF components) started in 2021 through direct support or through small grants provision in all local communities, and will continue in 2022 and 2023,
  • Ongoing development of Standard Operating Procedures for child protection in 10 targeted locations in BiH,
  • Advocating and ensuring support in sustaining the model of DRR work in all 10 local communities,
  • Planning and conducting awareness raising activities in all local communities regarding DRR in 2022,
  • Planning and organizing a joint simulation exercise in 2022 to test all local DRR platforms and developed DRR plans,
  • Priority DRR activities related to engineering activities on flood and landslide prevention and procurement of equipment to be implemented in Prijedor, Sanski Most and Bihać by the end of the year, and for other partner local governments in 2022 and 2023. 



  • Ministry of Security of BiH,
  • Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH,
  • Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH,
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the FBiH,
  • Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the RS,
  • Ministry of Health of the FBiH,
  • Ministry of Education of the FBiH,
  • Ministry of Education and Culture of the RS,
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the RS,
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of the FBiH,
  • Civil Protection Directorate of the RS and Civil Protection Directorate of the FBiH

Project value

USD 4.321.948

Goals we are supporting through this initiative

Background Documents