Today the European Commission adopted the 2013 national programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The funds available amount to EUR 41.9 million. This is EUR 45 million less than initially envisaged. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a standstill in the European integration process, the European Commission could not justify providing the full amount of previously envisaged pre-accession aid to the country. Unlike development aid, IPA is specifically designed to help countries with their pre-accession reforms.
The programme focuses on projects directly benefitting the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These include support to the justice sector and the fight against money laundering, support for refugees and internally displaced persons, social inclusion in education, demining, Roma and SME development.
The allocation of EUR 41.9 million comes on top of the EUR 16.4 million already committed this year to Bosnia and Herzegovina via the Multi-Beneficiary Programme to support refugees, education and civil society. […]
The European Commission is providing additional funding of €10 million to finance urgently needed humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of people recently displaced by violence and armed conflict in the North-West of Pakistan. The aid is expected to reach over 200 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) with a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly, and the disabled.
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "Pakistanis are suffering. Nearly two hundred thousand people have recently been displaced due to fighting, bringing the total number of displaced people in this region to over 1.2 million. There is an urgent need to address the basic humanitarian needs of vulnerable families who have left behind their houses and livelihoods, and who today have no means of meeting their daily needs. Europe's solidarity is crucial in times of crisis like this".
The additional funds will be allocated to address the most urgent humanitarian needs, including emergency food assistance, access to safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, basic health care services, as well as emergency shelter and protection and support services.
The delivery of aid will be targeted to those in greatest need and channelled through the Commission's humanitarian partners including UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent family and international non-government organisations. […]
Some 460 refugee families from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia will soon be able to improve their living conditions thanks to housing projects launched as part of the Western Balkans Regional Housing Programme. The first four projects under the Programme were approved recently. These amount to a total value of EUR 8.7 million, out of which EUR 7.1 million will be financed by the RHP Fund. The housing solutions available include construction of apartment buildings, pre-fabricated houses and provision of building materials for the renovation of existing houses.
This flagship initiative of the Sarajevo process demonstrates the renewed commitment from the four countries to put an end to the protracted refugee situation from the 1991-1995 conflicts in the region. In total, some 74,000 vulnerable persons will benefit as agreed last year at the International Donors' Conference in Sarajevo. The programme, to be implemented directly by the four partner countries, brings together donors and international stakeholders, including the European Union, Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), UNHCR, OSCE and the United States.
"The Regional Housing Programme is a good example how we can deal in a sustainable way with difficult issues related to refugees and displacement. I am very pleased the construction and rehabilitation of the first houses will now start and that the first families will soon be able to move into their new and better homes", said European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle. […]
The European Commission will pledge €100 million of humanitarian funding at the International Pledging Conference for Syria convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and hosted by Kuwait on 30 January. This funding, to be disbursed in 2013, will add to the €100 million already contracted for the crisis in 2011/2012, bringing the Commission's humanitarian funding for the crisis to €200 million. In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation and the growing needs both within Syria and in the neighbouring countries, these vital funds will provide assistance to some of the 4 million people in need of aid in Syria, including two million displaced, as well as to 700,000 refugees to date.
Prior to her departure for the Conference, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "This additional €100 million is desperately needed. People inside Syria are cold, hungry and scared. Those who have managed to cross the borders often arrive with no more than the clothes on their backs. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq must be praised for their generosity towards refugees fleeing Syria, but the flow is ever-increasing and these countries need more support". […]