The official launch of the EU Programme for Local Development and Employment took place on March 17 2016 in Sarajevo. The Programme is a follow-up of certain activities of the EU Floods Recovery Programme in economic recovery of flood affected areas and will also support the local economic development and local NGOs with a social development recovery assistance.
“We need to see this programme as a broader effort by the European Union to try to help kick-start the economy, to create more jobs and to create more hope for this country’’, said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative in his opening remarks. “The common objective is to improve the living standards not only in economic but also in political terms for everyone in this country as the activities of the Programme contribute to the goals of the BiH Reform Agenda to improve business environment and economic competitiveness,” Ambassador Wigemark concluded.
Three projects will operate under this EU Programme worth EUR 19 million and in the course of the next three years they will work with aim to enhance the living standards, create job opportunities, promote social inclusion and improve the quality of life for the citizens in the flood affected communities as well as in the areas with a large percentage of refugees, returnees and displaced persons.
Fadil Novalić, FBiH Prime Minister reflected upon the EU Floods Recovery Programme emphasising the particular importance of sustaining and creating jobs in the area affected by the May 2014 devastating floods. “The 2014 floods have affected all of us as our GDP and employment have both decreased, however, the EU Floods Recovery Programme in the first place brought hope to the citizens of the most affected areas, thus helping them to restart their normal life,” Prime Minister Novalić said.
Zlatan Klokić, RS Minister of Economic Relations and Regional Cooperation, pledged all the necessary support by the RS government in implementing this programme.
The programme will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Zahira Virani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in BiH noted that the EUR 6 million component, implemented by UNDP, aims to bring about a direct improvement in the quality of life for 100,000 people through inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. UNDP will be present in 20 partner local communities, focusing on the most vulnerable groups, and working through 20 partner small and medium enterprises as well as 300 rural holdings.
The GIZ programme component worth EUR 9.5 million (9 million of the EU funds and 0.5 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) is to focus on the SMEs’ generating jobs in 10 municipalities in the wood and metal processing, tourism and agriculture sectors, according to Karin Hörhan, Programme Manager for BiH.
Antonio Graziosi, Director of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Central and Eastern Europe, noted that their part of the programme worth EUR 4 million will aim at fostering sustainable, partnership-driven active labour market frameworks at the local level.
The EU Programme for Local Development and Employment is part of the package of EUR 85 million pledged by the EU at the Donors Conference in July 2014. It follows the assistance already provided by the EU through its Floods Recovery Programme in the amount of EUR 42.24 million, which was implemented by the UNDP, UNICEF and IOM.
See here the Programme presentation