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.

Johannes Hahn

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

The Regional Housing Programme is an excellent example of the European Union and its partners commitment to addressing the consequences of the 1990s conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

The Programme changes people's lives. People who have lived for over twenty years often in dire conditions, now enjoy decent homes and can reintegrate in their former communities, or build new lives elsewhere.

To make all this happen, the European Union contributed in 2018 an additional EUR 40 million to RHP. This brings the total value of the Programme to EUR 287 million, of which the EU is the largest donor with EUR 234 million, over 80% of all contributions.

In terms of progress to date, by the end of 2018 the RHP has provided 12 000 peoplein-need with quality, durable homes (close to 4 000 housing units). It has also given extra assistance, to improve the lives of these re-housed people, including making sure they can access services (health, education, etc.) and benefit from rights (pensions, allowances, documentation, etc.). In addition, the Programme has supported over 30 000 jobs and given 1 000 contracts to local companies. It has as well improved the skills of workers and the capacity of local businesses and local administrations to deliver better services.

As also stated in the Western Balkans Strategy adopted in February 2018, the EU offers solutions to difficult issues through fostering regional cooperation and neighbourly relations. This is essential for progress on the countries’ European paths. Reconciliation will firmly anchor peace, and ensure lasting stability and prosperity in the region.

The European Union’s support for the Programme demonstrates its commitment to the principle of solidarity. The Programme is bringing positive change for the people and the region. I encourage the Partner Countries to increase their efforts to implement the Programme and wish all the families a happy and prosperous future in their new homes.

Statements by Main Donors

Nancy Izzo Jackson

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

I commend Partner Countries and RHP stakeholders on their continued, joint commitment to providing durable, dignified solutions for vulnerable displaced persons, which helped make 2018 such a successful year.

Through its support to international and non-governmental organization partners, the United States helps provide RHP beneficiaries the complete range of assistance necessary to break the cycle of displacement and become self-reliant, whether through access to the local economy or legal documentation to codify their rights. We were encouraged by the intensified focus on sustainability in 2018 and by new commitments from the donor community to support these efforts.

The RHP’s legacy will be determined not only by how many individual lives it improved, but also by the lasting, productive, regional connections it fostered and the quality of administrative and institutional capacity it left behind.

We all have witnessed how, through the RHP, cooperation among many stakeholders at numerous levels engenders positive results. As donors, we are committed to helping strengthen this cooperation in 2019.

Dr. Christian Hellbach

Federal Foreign Office’s
Special Envoy for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA-States

Germany is a founding member of the Regional Housing Programme, for which it has been a funding contributor since 2012. Six years after the establishment of the Regional Housing Programme, its aim and purpose remain relevant – namely, to build and restore humane housing units for refugees and internally displaced persons in the Partner Countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. This is why Germany again in 2018 made available to the Programme a substantial additional contribution of EUR 1.5 million, bringing Germany’s total contributions to EUR 9 million.

The latest increase recognises the intensified pace of implementation in all Partner Countries, as well as what these countries have achieved so far: in addition to the homes that have been built, organisational structures have been created at national and local level and cross border cooperation has been established among the Partner Countries and various actors. All of this forms the basis for successful conclusion of the Programme. This makes the Regional Housing Programme a part of overall efforts to strengthen regional cooperation, thus also helping to draw the Partner Countries, i.e. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, closer to the EU.

Over the next three years, the Partner Countries and all actors affiliated with the Programme will need to step up their efforts if the declared aim of building 11 590 housing units by the end of 2021 is to be achieved. Germany will continue to support both the Programme and the Partner Countries as they work toward this goal, and we wish the Programme every success in 2019.

Olav Reinertsen

Senior Advisor
Department for European Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs

Last year the Regional Housing Programme continued its solid implementation pace with concrete results. The number of housing units delivered was close to 4 000. Furthermore, it is expected that another 3 000 units will be delivered only this year. The outlook for 2019-2021 looks similarly promising and there are several reasons to be optimistic.

However, the Regional Housing Programme does more than providing sustainable housing solutions to the most vulnerable refugees, displaced and internally displaced persons following the conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The Programme is also an investment in reconciliation, stability and good neighbourly relations in the entire region. In addition, it will boost prosperity through job creation and economic development.

By preserving the lessons learnt from this Programme in the form of a Legacy Paper, the Partner Countries can more easily design and programme future assistance. It can also be used by the international donor community for policy matters.

Norway is looking forward to cooperating closely with the Partner Countries and the Donors in this Programme. Together we will make it a success.

Ruth Huber

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

The Regional Housing Programme is an important element of the Swiss cooperation with the Western Balkans. Planning, assessing, and implementing the RHP sub-projects includes a continuous learning process for all partners and donors.

SDC welcomes the accelerated implementation of the RHP and the fact that more and more families and people in need can benefit from affordable housing solutions in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro.

It will be of utmost importance in the remaining years of RHP to put a strong focus on sustainability and the social and economic integration of beneficiaries – an aspect that is already taken into consideration very seriously by the Programme and discussed in depth during the Assemblies of Donors.

Switzerland highly appreciates the positive contribution of RHP at regional level – the various fora of RHP allow the lead institutions of each country to come together and collaborate for a common goal, thus contributing to regional reconciliation!

Giorgio Marrapodi

Director General for
Development Cooperation
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Cooperation

After serving in 2017 as co-chair of the RHP, in 2018 Italy continued to fully endorse the activities of the latter. We are particularly satisfied with the results obtained in Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of the Italian Development Cooperation’s Priority Countries: by December 2018, the construction of 812 housing units has been completed, while the (re)construction of 781 housing units is currently underway.

More than 10 000 people will be given a new life. Steady progress has been registered also in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, while decreasing costs of housing units demonstrate a good use of financial resources.

“Sustainability” is our key word: a target achievable by providing the beneficiaries with electricity services, access to social services, community integration programs. In this framework, Italy reiterates its commitment to supporting transition to a stable, safer and prosperous region as a precondition for the access of the Western Balkans to the great European family represented by the European Union.

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.