FLOOD SURVEY IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
On 19th September 2014. the delegation of PA 5 (Joó István, Ministerial Commissioner; dr. László Dobi, PA5 coordinator; László Kóthay, senior advisor) has visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to continue the mission of completing a survey about the experiences, needs and problems in connection with the 2013-2014 floods.
Following the devastating floods of 2013 and the recent events political leaders from the region, including Austrian Vice Chancellor, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Michael Spindelegger, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. János Martonyi and Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Titus Corlatean called for further common efforts in the Danube Region for flood risk management and flood preparedness in the framework of the EUSDR based on the existing cooperation.
The Hungarian President H.E. János Áder raised his voice to adjust Solidarity Fund to provide in the same time more accurate and more flexible support to protect citizens during floods. While European Commissioner Johannes Hahn in his letter to high level officials of the Danube countries highlighted the need for a coordinated response to flood disasters, and called for mobilisation of all relevant actors through the Strategy, as it can be the most appropriate framework to tackle current and future challenges. He also stressed that the work already done in the Priority Area 5 provides a good basis to such coordinated actions.
After visiting 12 countries, with more than 60 institutions and authorities, it was Bosnia and-Herzegovina’s turn to share all their experiences, suggestions, insights and practices in order to enhance the cooperation, and make a step forward to a safer Danube Basin.
In his opening speech, Ministerial Commissioner István Joó explained that the Danube Strategy is a key framework for cooperation in flood protection, since these problems can only be solved on a macro-regional level. Speaking of the Danube Region Operative Flood Management and Cooperation Plan – which is to be finished after the final consultation of the Flood survey – Mr. István Joó highlighted that, as a first step, project proposals are formulated for harmonising the warning systems and their coordination, and for forming the basis of future common developments.
On behalf of the delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosko Kenjić the Deputy State Secretary of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Department had thanked for the assistance offered during the recent (May and June 2014) floods. Agreeing on the importance of regional cooperation Mr. Kenjić had pointed out that further development on this field is undoubtedly needed.
Mr. Kenjić stressed out that the recent experiences highlighted the importance of the accuracy of forecasts, and the need of a basin-wide data exchange. As a result of the meeting, experts had the opportunity to review all the potential areas and forms of cooperation for improving flood protection.
Following the professional’s meeting a bilateral consultations was held between István Joó and Mitar Kujundžić (Deputy State Secretary of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry Foreign Affairs). Mr. Joó indicated that Hungary is willing to support Bosnia-Herzegovina’s more active participation and hopefully the successful implementation of the Strategy with the use of the DRS resources.