The objective of the Steering Board is to ensure coordination and oversight of the project implementation, which supports durable solutions to the remaining problems of wartime displacement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EUR 8.1 million project, funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 7 million and co-financed and implemented by UNHCR, aims to assist at least 2,400 vulnerable internally displaced people and returnees, including women victims of war, in addressing their social and economic challenges. through close teamwork between local authorities, local communities, civil society and project partners. Together with the local authorities, the project partners identify the needs of internally displaced perons (IDPs) and returnees with the aim of strengthening their social protection and inclusion, and providing health care for the elderly, education for children, legal aid, psycho-social counselling and improved housing conditions. The project began in 2014 and will be implemented until 2016 in Bijeljina, Bosanski Petrovac, Derventa, Foča, Gradiška, Maglaj, Mostar, Prijedor, Živinice and Brčko District. The partners of the project are UNHCR, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Hilfswerk Austria International (HWA), Bosnian Humanitarian Logistics Services (BHLS), Foundation of Local Democracy (FLD) and the Association of Vasa Prava BiH (VP). Mr. Massimo Mina, Head of Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Co-operation at the EU Delegation, stated: "The achievement of the objectives of the Revised Annex VII Strategy and of the Regional Housing Programme entails a large concerted effort between several institutional stakeholders at different levels of government. While we are entering into the implementation phase and we are focusing of the procurement process, we should not lose the long term vision. The existence of adequate institutional structures for the implementation of the programme is critical for ensuring an efficient implementation of the objectives of Annex VII and of the Regional Housing Programme as well as the sustainability of the overall operation on the longer term. Also, the targeted Municipalities should ensure that adequate socio-economic conditions are met in order to facilitate local integration and sustainable return of the most vulnerable beneficiaries. I would like to witness the co-ordinated efforts of the responsible ministries, cantons and the local government units in the design and implementation of the required socio-economic measures that would support the return process, beyond the pure housing solution." Mario Nenadić, Assistant Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, Sector for refugees, displaced persons and housing policy, said that the Ministry appreciated very much that the inaugural meeting of the Steering Board had taken place. According to Mr. Nenadic, after it had been proposed by the Ministry three years ago, this project was approved as durable and sustainable support to solutions promoted by the Revised Strategy for the Implementation of Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement. „We expect that the objectives of the project - both those related to specific actions aimed at the implementation of Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement, and those whose goal is to strengthen the coordinating role of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in the implementation of this important part of the Dayton Peace Agreement - be realized as soon as possible, in close co-ordination between the Ministry and UNHCR, as well as the implementing organizations," Mr. Nenadic said. He added that this project was only a part of the overall efforts undertaken to secure necessary resources and implement priorities identified by the Revised Strategy and other strategic and planning documents. The other parts of those efforts are the Regional Housing Programme, the Council of Europe Development Bank loan for social housing for collective centre residents, the Saudi Fund for Development, the OPEC Fund, budget funds at the country and entity level, etc., which together represent a good level of financial support for substantial completion of the DPA Annex VII in BiH." UNHCR Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Andrew Mayne stressed that with this project, as well as the Regional Housing Programme and the so-called CEB II project for collective centres, the essential building blocks of Annex VII implementation were now in place. These efforts needed to be properly combined and coordinated so that they can together address a larger proportion of the remaining problem. „Now that we are all working together as a team“, said Mr. Mayne, „the Steering Board will help us engage all levels of government behind the project“.
Sarajevo, 5 March 2015 – Representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to BiH, UNHCR and the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees held today in Sarajevo the meeting of the Steering Board of the project “Support to durable solutions of Revised Annex VII Dayton Peace Agreement Implementation Strategy”.