Paris, 26 November 2019 – At the 15th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) and the 19th meeting of the RHP Fund Assembly of Donors, which took place at the CEB premises in Paris on 26 November 2019, RHP governance bodies convened to take stock of the Programme’s progress to date, and to discuss strategies for its successful completion.
Approximately 5 600 RHP-financed homes have been delivered to vulnerable families across the four Partner Countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) to date, bringing the Programme closer to its target of delivering approximately 11 800 homes to approximately 35 000 beneficiaries.
As a token of the Donors’ support of the Programme, and in acknowledgement of its distinct impact on the lives of beneficiaries, a number of RHP Donors pledged additional contributions to the RHP. Germany pledged a contribution of EUR 1 million, bringing its total contribution to the Programme to EUR 10 million. Norway, meanwhile, pledged NOK 7 million (approximately EUR 700 000) and circa EUR 500 000 was pledged by Switzerland, bringing their total contributions to EUR 7.7 million and EUR 6.4 million respectively. Spain, which has already contributed EUR 213 000 to support RHP implementation, has also expressed its willingness to provide additional financing.
The European Union (EU), as the largest RHP Donor, also pledged to provide additional funding, further to its current commitment of EUR 234 million. Combined, these final pledges will enable the RHP to be extended by 12 months – therefore until June 2022 – allowing Partner Countries the best opportunity to reach their delivery targets.
On behalf of the European Commission, the main RHP Donor, Colin Wolfe, Head of Unit for Western Balkans Regional Cooperation in DG NEAR, welcomed the unanimous agreement by the Assembly of Donors to commit additional funds to enable further extension of the Programme by a 12-month period. Nevertheless, he emphasised the need for Partner Countries to respect strict intermediate milestones in order to ensure successful delivery of the targeted housing units by the close of the implementation period in June 2022.
These comments were echoed by Andreas Gerrits, Deputy Head of the Western Balkans Division of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who affirmed Switzerland’s satisfaction with the accelerated implementation of the Programme to date, and pledged to continue to support the RHP, including through Catholic Relief Services (CRS) support to economic and social integration of beneficiaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Anne-Marie Deutschlander, Principal Situation Coordinator for the Western Balkans Regional Bureau for Europe at the UNHCR, on behalf of the UNHCR and OSCE, commended the Partner Countries for their intense efforts which had made the RHP a prime example of how countries can work together to help the neediest.
The Assembly of Donors unanimously elected Norway as Co-chair of the RHP Fund Assembly of Donors and the RHP Steering Committee for the year 2020.
Key RHP figures (as at 26 November 2019):
Pledged to the RHP: EUR 291 million
Grants approved: EUR 237 million
RHP info desk: Secretariat of the Regional Housing Programme firstname.lastname@example.org
- 26 Nov, 2019
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