Over the past twenty years since signing the Dayton Peace Agreement, the authorities in BiH at all levels have been working hard to resolve the issues of protracted displacement. However, the remaining challenges call for solutions that require stronger co-ordination between the participants and more specific defining of needs and sources of funding.
Aware of challenges faced by the authorities at all levels, UNHCR has today hosted a conference in Sarajevo, titled Strategy of Supporting Solutions for Vulnerable Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees in BiH. The aim of the conference was to provide support to the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees (MHRR), the entity and the municipal stakeholders in identifying solutions to the remaining challenges of vulnerable internally displaced persons and returnees.
"We are aware that our international partners are facing a great challenge with the global migration crisis. However, given the great disproportion between the investment and the real needs for implementing the strategic goals of the BiH Strategy for Annex VII Implementation, we hope that this challenge will not cause them to hesitate in the continuation of the work on a well-traced road of support to the return process in BiH", said Semiha Borovac, Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
With a view to supporting a sustainable solution to the problems encountered by this most vulnerable category of population in BiH, UNHCR has developed a methodology within the successful project Supporting durable solutions of the Revised Strategy for the Implementation of Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement, funded by the Delegation of the European Union to BiH and UNHCR, for the purpose of helping the authorities at all levels to submit justified requests to donors for obtaining additional funding for assistance projects.
There are still a large number of vulnerable IDPs and returnees in need of basic support, such as access to food and shelter, health care and source of income. At the same time there is a discrepancy between the outstanding needs and the available resources. This is why we believe that a fair, transparent methodology, with up-to-date and comprehensive data, for prioritizing needs of individuals and communities is essential for proper planning, allocation of local and state budgets, and ultimately, for making the case to donors", said Anne-Christine Eriksson, UNHCR Regional Representative and Representative in BiH.
"Hence the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities on all levels need to invest in data management, targeted assessments and adopt action plans that reflect actual needs in municipalities. We sincerely hope that the authorities at all levels will embrace and utilize this methodology to effectively identify the needs and to channel available resources to address the remaining challenges of the most vulnerable individuals, so that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s protracted displacement chapter can be brought to an end as soon and as quickly as possible", said Anne-Christine Eriksson.
In the end, Minister Borovac concluded that "sustainability measures are key to successful return and they require significant funding that Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot provide without the help of friendly countries and partner organizations. It is the only way to fully implement Annex VII. Only through a joint action we are able to help the most vulnerable category of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina - thousands of displaced persons and returnees - and to enable them a decent living in the 21st century."
The conference managed to bring together all stakeholders relevant to the continued implementation of Annex VII of the DPA, including the State stakeholders from various administration levels, international organizations, civil society and donor representatives, for the purpose of establishing contacts and future partnerships, and also encouraged discussion on future activities.
In addition to Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina Semiha Borovac and UNHCR Regional Representative and Representative in BiH Anne-Christine Eriksson, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina Melvin Asin also addressed the participants of the conference.
For more information, please contact:
Dorijan Klasnic, Associate Information Management/PI Officer, Country Office Bosnia and Herzegovina, email: KLASNIC@unhcr.org
Neven Crvenkovic, Associate Regional External Relations/PI Officer, Regional Office for South Eastern Europe email: email@example.com, phone: +387 61 611 082