During the war which started in the spring of 1992, more than a half of the pre-war domicile population, approximately 2.2 million persons, fled from their pre-war homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among them over a million left the country to seek refugee protection abroad, whilst another million were displaced within the country. Aside from the devastating human impact of the war nearly 420,000 homes or almost half of all housing units in the country were either partially or completely destroyed. Significant resources have been invested into rehabilitation of properties, basic utilities and social infrastructure. Nevertheless, despite substantial achievements, significant challenges do remain.
The BiH Annex VII Strategy recognizes the urgent needs of more than 100,000 internally displaced persons, refugees and other conflict-affected persons of concern, each one deprived of a solution. Many of them are extremely vulnerable and traumatized, living in inhumane conditions in displacement and require special attention due to their situation. There are approx. 7.000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who reside in some form of collective temporary accommodation. In many cases this accommodation provides only the most rudimentary living conditions, with IDP families sharing kitchens and water and sanitation facilities. In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to deal with thousands of refugees and asylum seekers from outside the country, predominantly from neighbouring countries.
As part of ongoing efforts to find durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons nationally and regionally, the EU support to BiH, for setting up basic principles for coordinating activities, harmonising policies and plans of BiH government with international community in the field of housing policy, reconstruction and development will be of a crucial importance and conditio sine qua non for a new approach towards resolving the issues of durable solution, social inclusion and welfare.