Today, the World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Brčko District, hosted an event that brought together leaders, policy makers, and experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia to discuss the importance of regional cooperation in water management, specifically in the Sava – Drina River Corridor.
“Stronger regional coordination and cooperation is needed for the countries in the region to achieve their full economic potential. More strategic water management among Sava-Drina River riparian countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia – creates a tangible opportunity for coordination to unleash the potential of this shared resource”, says Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Regional Director for the Western Balkans. “Through a new initiativediscussed today we will aim at enhancing job creation, transport, agricultural production, energy generation and tourism, leveraging the potential of the shared resources and ensuring their sustainable use”.
Since the Sava and Drina waterways form most of the borders, the development of the river corridors as shared economic assets has been hampered, and catastrophic weather events continue to threaten the population, as the 2014 floods demonstrated. Conventional investment planning that limits the decision within the national boundary has prevented multi-purpose investments that can capture benefits across borders and sectors.
“Today’s event was an opportunity for theSava-Drina River ripariancountries to commit to working together towards a more economically productive management of these shared resources, with investments that would create jobs, improve navigability of waterways, protect the environment, and mitigate current and future water related risks such as floods and droughts,” saysDavid Michaud, World Bank Practice Manager.“By working together, the region’s countries can improve economic growth andprotect their people, their economies and their environment from water risks.”
The Sava-Drina River Corridor possesses substantial rehabilitation and development potential that with an integrated approach could pave the way for further development in the water sector and beyond. The World Bank will continue to work intensively with national and regional teams in the region to prepare a Sava and Drina Rivers Corridor Program that would support priority measures aimed at enhancing regional integration and economic growth through improved waterway navigability, flood protection, and transboundary water management along the Sava and Drina river corridors.