The World Bank Executive Board approved 123 million euros to Serbia, BiH and Montenegro for the implementation of the first phase of the new program of integrated development of the Sava and Drina corridors / SDIP /, which aims to improve the navigability of the waterway and flood protection along these rivers.
The entire program, aimed at speeding up regional economic co-operation in the Western Balkans and strengthening institutions and procedures for co-operation between the coastal countries of the Sava and Drina basins, worth nearly $ 332m, will be implemented over the next 10 years through two successive phases.
The first phase, which was approved yesterday, includes Serbia / 78. million euros /, BiH / 30 million euros / and Montenegro / 15 million euros for the Lim and Grnčar basin /.
Program measures to mitigate the risk of floods will increase the protected area by 300,000 hectares and provide flood protection at the level of hundred-year-old high waters for approximately 400,000 inhabitants, the World Bank announced.
The project will contribute to the connectivity and navigability of the Sava waterway by more than 200 kilometers and improve cross-border cooperation in the field of water management through the exchange of knowledge between sectors and coastal countries.
The program will support long-term “climate-smart” economic growth and regional co-operation.
In the first phase of the program, Slovenia and Croatia will be involved through participation in regional studies, regional dialogue, capacity building instruments and other related activities.
The new program of integrated development of the Sava and Drina corridors, implemented with the support of the World Bank, aims to strengthen cross-border cooperation through water resources management, as well as to improve the navigability of the waterway and flood protection along the Sava and Drina corridors.
“This program, which includes the three coastal countries of the Sava and Drina basins, including BiH, Serbia and Montenegro, will, through an integrated approach, finance activities aimed at flood protection, environmental management and modernization of ports along the Sava and Drina corridors to increase their connectivity”, it is stated in the announcement.
The project will also contribute to the strengthening of cross-border cooperation and economic growth of the countries in the region, which are additionally endangered due to the coronary virus pandemic, Belgrade media reported.
“The Sava and Drina basins have significant untapped potential that drives economic growth, regional connectivity, resilience to climate change risks, social cohesion and new jobs,” said Linda van Gelder, World Bank Regional Director for the Western Balkans.
This cross-border cooperation, Gelder says, has the potential to benefit local communities and businesses located in the river basin district and create opportunities that will have a far-reaching impact on the economies of coastal countries.