The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, visited Doboj on October 2.
During the visit, Ambassador Wigemark, together with BiH Minister of Communications and Transport, Slavko Matanović, inaugurated the newly constructed building of the BiH Railways Regulatory Board. The EU provided more than 1.5 million EUR under IPA 2012 for the construction and full equipping of this new building, and for the related supervision activities. The construction works started on 3 November 2014, and were completed on 12 August 2015, well before deadline.
Until now, the Railways Regulatory Board functioned in leased and inadequate premises, lacking adequate archive space for keeping the dossiers on licensing, safety and accident investigation. The BiH Railways Regulatory Board acts as the guardian of a functional, safe, interoperable and reliable railway transport system in BiH.
Ambassador Wigemark said: “The reform of the railway system in BiH is part of the reform agenda to which both entity governments are committed. A lot of efforts and investment remain to be undertaken in the railway sector in BiH. The EU encourages BiH to finalise a transport strategy and action plan covering all modes of transport including the railway sector, which will also open the possibility of continued EU support.”
Minister Matanović and Director of the Regulatory Board, Borka Trkulja, thanked the EU for continued support in this sector.
Ambassador Wigemark, together with Director of the Health Care Centre, Dr Radoslav Nikolić, also officially opened the Health Care Centre in Doboj, rehabilitated under the EU Floods Recovery Programme. The EU invested 720,000 EUR for its rehabilitation, thus securing improved conditions in primary health care for the Doboj citizens, as well as a good working environment for the employees of the Health Care Centre. The ceremony was also attended by the RS Minister of Health and Soyial Welfare, Dr Dragan Bogdanić and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in BiH, Sezin Sinanoglu.
Additionally, on this occasion, the successful completion of all rehabilitation works in Doboj was marked, hosted by Mayor of Doboj Obren Petrović. The EU has invested more than 5 million EUR under its Floods Recovery Programme for Doboj. In addition to the Health Centre, 12 more public facilities in the City of Doboj have been rehabilitated within this Programme, including eight schools, two kindergartens, the Centre for Social Welfare and the City Hall. The Programme also rehabilitated 337 priority housing units in Doboj, two local roads, as well as a water supply system in the local community of Potočani.
Through its economic recovery component, the EU Floods Recovery Programme has awarded grants in the amount for 5 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Doboj, who sustained material damage as a result of flooding. Support was also provided for the recovery of commercial production for 21 farms, and will also be provided to 50 small agricultural producers.
“The EU Floods Recovery Programme continues to produce good results across the flood-affected areas. So far over 500,000 people in BiH benefited directly/indirectly from this assistance. However, the threat of re-flooding is still present and a key challenge for the BiH authorities. We are doing our utmost to be an active partner and will mobilise the further significant EU-funds for BiH to support further flood recovery and flood risk management.“ said Ambassador Wigemark.
The scope and duration of the EU Floods Recovery Programme was recently expanded through a no-cost extension, thanks to savings made during the implementation process. The Programme will now run until March 2016 (instead of October 2015).
Link to the video story on rehabilitation activities in Doboj and Maglaj: https://youtu.be/wjym0QxBu74
About the EU Floods Recovery Programme:
The EU Floods Recovery Programme was launched to restore normal living conditions in local communities and ensure that the aid reaches the most vulnerable ones in the aftermath of floods in May 2014. Funds are used for rehabilitation of public services and infrastructure, housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall Programme is 43.52 million, out of which 42.24 million is provided by the European Union. This assistance is a part of the funds that the European Union pledged at the donor conference in Brussels in July 2014. The Programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).