Additional Support to the Improvement of Water and Sanitation Services in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina
On Friday, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a €1.2 million cooperation agreement with Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina to support water and sanitation services. Through the water sector rehabilitation programme, the funds will ensure the effective execution of activities and a rapid preparation of the investment projects, with expert technical assistance services. The project aims to upgrade the quality of the water and waste water services, provide it to unconnected households and improve living conditions for over 216,000 people. The funds are provided under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI), as a part of the European Union’s response to the challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans, through financial support to key infrastructure and private sector development.
The investments are part of the EU-funded projects approved under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) in 2019 to support the implementation of the “Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Programmes in the Federation and in Republika Srpska” of BiH. The total investment value for both WATSAN projects is more than €215 million, with the EU and bilateral donors providing €14.4 million in grants through the WBIF, complementing the €110 million in the EIB loans. The WATSAN projects are identified in the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans as Flagships within the Investment window „Environment and Climate". These projects concern sustainable and reliable ways of managing water supply, waste water and waste disposal, crucial for the protection of the environment and of the health of citizens.
The WATSAN programmes were launched in 2008 with the purpose to assist 50 small and medium sized municipalities in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS), in developing sustainable water and sanitation services, in accordance with EU accession conditions. Apart from the construction of needed facilities and reconstruction of existing water supply and sanitation systems, including wastewater treatment plants, the WATSAN Programme uses investments in water and wastewater infrastructure to improve the living conditions of the population, ensure access to continuous water supply and sanitation services, and implement environmental protection measures in compliance with the obligations of EU accession and legislation harmonisation.
Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice-President responsible for Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “At times when the world and region are facing dual crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic and climate change, these kind of projects help us prepare better for the future emergencies. Adaption to climate change and mitigation of its consequences is essential for sustainable growth of the region. At the same time, this investment has direct benefits on people’s lives by ensuring them safe and reliable access to drinking water and waste water services.”
Zora Vidović, Minister of Finance in the Government of the Republic of Srpska said: “The Minister of Finance thanked the European Investment Bank for the successful cooperation so far, which enabled the implementation of large infrastructure projects in Republika Srpska - built kilometers of water supply network, roads and hospitals, and added that this cooperation continues with this important project that will raise water supply services and solve wastewater problems in local communities, and contribute to environmental sustainability in the Republika Srpska.”
More about the WBIF activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina