To raise funds for the RHP, an international Donors’ Conference was held in Sarajevo on 24 April 2012. During this conference, the European Union, the United States of America, Germany, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Turkey, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Romania, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ms Sadako Ogata, pledged EUR 261 million in support of the RHP. Subsequent contributions by the European Union, the United States, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Spain brought the total of funds committed to the RHP to EUR 289 million. Of this amount, EUR 246 million was committed to the RHP Fund.

Contributions Committed to the RHP

The European Commission

The European Union represented by the European Commission, is the main Donor to the RHP. Out of a total of EUR 291 million pledged in favour of the Programme, the European Commission pledged EUR 236 million, i.e. 81%.

In addition to the EUR 193 million committed to the RHP Fund and the approximately EUR 1 million channelled to UNHCR, the European Commission has made a bilateral contribution of EUR 40 million to cover technical assistance for the RHP Partner Countries and part of their operating costs, as well as the CEB's programme management costs.

Olivér Várhelyi

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement,
European Commission

The Western Balkans is a priority for the European Commission. I am also personally committed to strengthening the European Union perspective of the region and to accelerating the region’s development to close the gap with the European Union.

Reinforcing regional cooperation is a major opportunity to boost the economies and essential for EU integration. Promoting good neighbourly relations contributes to the longterm stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans, and benefits the entire population, while reconciliation is a prerequisite for building a common future. To advance these processes, the European Union is supporting a number of concrete actions, such as the Regional Housing Programme.

This Programme is one of the flagship projects that helps displaced people who lost their homes during the conflicts in the region to get new ones, and through this supports them in overcoming the legacy of the past. The Programme has already transformed the lives of nearly 20 000 vulnerable people and the number continues to increase.

The concrete benefits extend well beyond displaced persons. The Programme is the largest homebuilding initiative in the region. It has created thousands of jobs in a clear reconciliation context, mostly in small and medium-sized local companies. Administrations in the region sit behind the steering wheel. Fully in charge of implementation, they have an opportunity to learn better how to deliver large-scale infrastructure projects.

This is an excellent example of the European Union’s cooperation with the Western Balkans. The European Union has already contributed EUR 234 million to the RHP for infrastructure and for technical assistance. In recognition of the results already achieved by the partners, the European Union and its fellow Donors have agreed to extend the Programme until 2022, which will allow us to provide more homes to those in need.

Statements by Main Donors

Dana J. Francis

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of Population, Refugees
and Migration
U.S. Department of State

I commend Partner Countries and Regional Housing Programme stakeholders on their continued, joint commitment to providing durable, dignified solutions for vulnerable displaced persons, which helped make 2019 such a successful year.

The RHP is a model for post-conflict durable solutions, as the Programme has facilitated lasting, productive, regional connections and development of institutional capacity.

Through its support to international and non-governmental organization partners, the United States helps provide RHP beneficiaries assistance to break the cycle of displacement and become self-reliant, whether through access to the local economy or legal documentation to codify their rights. Our assistance has also supported the implementation of “social housing” policies at a municipal level, ensuring the sustainability of these units.

As Donors, we are committed to supporting and strengthening stakeholder cooperation in the coming year, and ensuring the sharing of best practices for sustainable, durable solutions for years beyond the official Programme.

Susanne Schütz

Director for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA States
Federal Foreign Office, Germany

In November 2019, the Donors unanimously agreed to extend the Regional Housing Programme by one year to 2022.

With this decision, Donors have embraced their responsibility to the beneficiaries, who, after years of waiting in provisional accommodation, are now confident that they will finally be able to move into new homes thanks to the RHP. To support this extension, Germany has again made available to the Programme an additional contribution of one million euros, bringing Germany’s total contributions to ten million euros.

However, not only the Donors but above all the Partner Countries need to assume responsibility. All stakeholders need to make a joint effort if they are actually to be able to meet the goals by June 2022. As far as the Partner Countries are concerned, this means that they need to intensify still further the considerable engagement they have shown to date and remove the various obstacles to full implementation of the Programme. The Donor countries will continue to stand by them, flanked by the CEB, UNHCR and OSCE.

Germany is confident that the Regional Housing Programme will be able to hand over all planned homes by 2022 and thereby ensure humane living conditions for just over 36 000 people.

Kristin Melsom

Director
Section for South East Europe Department for European Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Norway is a proud supporter of the Regional Housing Programme. The Programme is a model for addressing protracted refugee situations and we welcome the steps taken to identify its key success factors.

At a time when the number of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide is at a record high, the international community needs to know the best practices which can be applied to other displacements.

Norway commends the Partner Countries for the progress they have achieved over the last years. In recognition of this progress, we pledged an additional EUR 0.7 million to the Programme in 2019. This new pledge will bring the total contribution of Norway to the RHP to almost EUR 8 million. The funds will be used to support the Partner Countries in implementing the Programme according to best practice.

Norway looks forward to bringing the Programme to a successful completion, together with the Partner Countries and the other stakeholders.

Ruth Huber

Ambassador, Vice-Director
Head of Department Cooperation
with Eastern Europe
Swiss Agency for Development
and Cooperation (SDC)
Federal Department for
Foreign Affairs (FDFA)

The Regional Housing Programme is an important partner of the Swiss cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans. Switzerland particularly appreciates the positive contribution of the RHP at regional level. We therefore decided to increase our contribution, which will allow more beneficiaries to receive durable housing solutions and to put the agreed one-year extension of the Programme on a solid basis.

SDC welcomes the fact that more than half of the total funds have been disbursed, and that therefore more than 19 000 people already benefit from decent living conditions. But this means as well that an important part of the work plan still has to be accomplished – a challenge for both the RHP Fund stakeholders and particularly the Partner Countries.

It will be of utmost importance in the remaining years of the RHP to put a strong focus on sustainability and the social and economic integration of beneficiaries. Switzerland commits itself to actively contribute to the RHP Legacy Paper.

Switzerland would be pleased to see the Partner Countries deepen their regional cooperation and potentially even extend the gained experience to other sectors in order to work towards regional reconciliation and economic and social cooperation!

Financing of implementation support

One of the key features of the RHP is that it is implemented by the Partner Countries themselves, enabling them to build capacities for future housing projects. To help them implement the Programme according to best practice, they benefit from implementation support such as technical assistance.

This implementation support is financed mainly by the EU. In addition to the EUR 193 million committed to financing housing projects and the approximately EUR 1 million channelled to UNHCR, the European Commission has made a bilateral contribution of EUR 40 million to finance such implementation support measures. In 2019, the EU pledged an additional EUR 2 million for this purpose. Other Donor countries also pledged further funds: Germany EUR 1 million, Switzerland EUR 0.5 million, Norway approximately EUR 0.7 million, and Spain increased its previous contribution to a total of EUR 0.3 million.

In addition, several Donor countries are supporting RHP governance and visibility activities. These Donors are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and the Slovak Republic. Altogether, they have provided EUR 0.2 million.