"DISASTER RISK REDUCTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BIH" CONFERENCE WAS HELD AS PART OF CLIMATE ACTION WEEK IN BIH
01 June 2023
The results of the Joint Programme "Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina" funded by the Government of Switzerland and implemented by United Nations agencies in BiH from June 2019 - June 2023 will be presented at a two-day conference that started today in Banja Luka.
The conference marks the beginning of the Climate Action Week in BiH, organized from 1 to 9 June 2023 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in cooperation with international and domestic partners, to emphasize that climate change is a challenge that can only be overcome only through collaborative endeavors.
The Joint Programme initiated significant activities in BiH to improve institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction (DRR) in BiH, to ensure that local communities are less vulnerable to the social and economic consequences of climate change and natural disasters.
On this occasion, Radislav Jovičić, adviser to the Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that "Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that is prone to natural or other disasters, which is why the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina considers that the prevention and reduction of the risk of these threats is one of the key issues of the security of the country and the region. It is important to raise awareness about reducing the risk of disasters due to the constant increase in economic and social losses in BiH, but it is even more important to improve inter-institutional coordination and cooperation with the active involvement of local communities with a high risk of disasters in the planning processes and the implementation of measures on the ground."
Through the Joint programme, systemic solutions were initiated to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a signatory country of the Sendai Framework for DRR - a global agreement to reduce, prevent and respond to disaster risks across the globe, fulfills its set goals and action priorities for preventing new and reduction of existing disaster risks.
Dr. Ingrid Macdonald, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "Despite decades of economic growth, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters. In the year in which Bosnia and Herzegovina renewed its commitments to the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction endorsed by all member states in 2015, a country-wide strategy is still required. Securing the future of sustainable development for the population, requires that institutions invest in addressing the causes of natural disasters, readiness for response, and resilience of people, infrastructure, and livelihoods. The UN is pleased to have worked with institutions across the country in support of these shared objectives. The time for Smart Choices is now. "
Strengthening the cooperation between relevant sectors, by the needs of the citizens of BiH and the challenges they face, to build readiness and efficient response in the event of a disaster and improved reconstruction during recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, are the main results of the implementation of the DRR Joint programme.
Siroco Messerli, Deputy Head of the Mission and Director of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in BiH pointed out that “the recent floods in the Una River basin confirmed that more frequent weather extremes in combination with inadequate risk management result in devastating consequences for people, especially for the most vulnerable groups. Addressing climate security is one of the four priorities of Switzerland’s membership in the UN Security Council 2023-2024. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland supports the responsible institutions to increase the country’s resilience through its Disaster Risk Reduction programme. We share our expertise and innovative solutions in dealing with natural disasters. However, systemic changes can only happen if the institutions demonstrate a strong commitment and leadership in the systemic improvement of disaster risk management. Switzerland will continue to support those ready to make changes through a performance-based approach.”
Conference participants emphasized the importance of risk awareness, gender equality in decision-making processes, and well-managed disaster risk reduction activities at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as successful DRR results from the combination of top-down, institutional changes and strategies, with bottom-up, local, and community-based approaches.
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