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, Italy, Norway, 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. In 2014, the U.S. pledged a further EUR 7 million, bringing the total of funds pledged to EUR 268 million.

Contributions Pledged

The European Commission

The European Union represented by the European Commission, is the main Donor to the RHP. Out of a total of EUR 268 million pledged in favour of the Programme, the European Commission pledged EUR 230 million.

Johannes Hahn

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

"The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) is an ambitious and important initiative, because of its regional scope, aim and size. Solving the protracted displacement situation of more than 70 000 people following the end of the war in Yugoslavia - more than fifteen years ago – it is a challenging task in several ways for all stakeholders concerned.

The RHP contributes significantly to the provision of badly needed, dignified living conditions for thousands of families and people still living in very difficult housing conditions throughout ex-Yugoslavia more than fifteen years after the end of the war. Refugees and displaced persons who, until now, could not return to their place of origin or integrate into their current community will finally be able to rebuild their lives. The RHP will also foster cooperation between the Partner Countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It will help governments and communities leave their fractious past behind and focus on a common future.

The Partner Countries, with the support of the European Union and other stakeholders, have accomplished a lot. Implementing structures are now in place. Close to 250 housing facilities have been delivered, improving the living conditions of over 600 vulnerable people. And many more projects are in the pipeline.

A lot remains to be done. Making strong progress on implementation in 2016 is crucial. The Partner Countries need to deliver to make it a success and we will continue to work closely with them to help ensure this. I am confident that they will rise to the challenge."

Statements by Main Donors

Nancy Izzo Jackson

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

"For more than twenty years, the United States has worked to help those displaced by the wars in the Balkans. As part of this effort we are committed to improving cooperation among countries in the region. We see the Regional Housing Program (RHP) as an integral part of our efforts to foster these goals. We are pleased with the progress made to date on the RHP as outlined in the Mid Term Evaluation and the Mid Term Review. But as noted by both reports, there is still some way to go before housing solutions reach all target beneficiaries and it is imperative that significant headway be made in 2016 to reach these goals.

While 2015 marked the completion of the first sub-projects within the RHP, the next two years are pivotal to the success of the RHP. It is critical that political and technical bottlenecks that have so far stalled implementation are addressed to ensure that those most in need of the RHP’s assistance are served by its projects. The United States has contributed $20 million to the RHP and we will continue to play an active role in the program’s implementation. We will also support programs that help beneficiaries surmount integration and livelihood challenges as they move into their homes. In 2016, we look forward to celebrating the achievements of the RHP with beneficiaries for whom housing solutions will be a cornerstone in achieving a lasting solution to their displacement."

Dr Ernst Reichel

Special Envoy for South-Eastern Europe Turkey and EFTA States
German Federal Foreign Office

"If you ask a German about events in the Western Balkans in 2015, he surely will point to the refugees and migrants who made their way on the Balkan route towards Central Europe. Only those who are interested in Balkans matters are well aware that unspectacular, but none the less important progress has also been achieved, in parallel to the great efforts of the affected countries in managing the migration crisis. One of the success stories has been the Regional Housing Programme that has gathered full speed in 2015, now being completely operational in all the Partner Countries.

Considering the time that has elapsed after termination of the acts of war in the region, addressing the remaining population displacements by means of durable housing solutions has been long overdue. International donors’ community and Partner Countries have launched the Regional Housing Programme and are now implementing it consistently. I would like to express my Government’s deep appreciation for the way our Partner Countries have been continuing the Regional Housing Programme despite all other challenges. Let me finally thank all the stakeholders under the so-called Sarajevo process for their commitment and wish them great success for the years to come."

Giampaolo Cantini

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

"Since the Balkan conflicts of the 90s, Italy has been actively involved in the Region, in order to provide relief to the victims of the civil war and assistance to the Balkan Countries in their reconstruction process. The Regional Housing Programme represents a great opportunity to address the needs of thousands of affected individuals and families, who lost everything, and provide tangible and durable housing to refugee households. The RHP, therefore, is a step forward towards reconstruction and reconciliation, with the Balkan Countries and the Italian Cooperation together involved in an effort of healing the wounds of a dramatic war while addressing the needs of refugees and displaced people.

After years of technical and financial assistance provided, our work seems to be yielding results: 2016 will hopefully be a turning point for RHP, due to the results evaluated by the Mid Term Review, and endorsed by the Donor Community. These achievements will inter alia improve the communication between key Stakeholders and ensure that financial commitment from Donors is in line with the real needs of the Partner Countries.

We firmly believe that it is worth the effort. This initiative will make possible, for tens of thousands of individuals and families, to live in dignity, and foster reconciliation between the Partner countries, thus contributing to peace and development for whole the Balkan Region."

Haakon Blankenborg

Director
Section for South-East Europe Department for European Affairs
and Trade
Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

"If the countries in the Western Balkans are to advance on their Euro-Atlantic path, they have to overcome the legacy of the past. Norway strongly believes that an initiative such as the Regional Housing Programme can help resolve a humanitarian tragedy, and more broadly contribute to peace and prosperity in the region. This is the main reason for the strong support of Norway to the Programme.

Following a thorough preparatory phase, the Regional Housing Programme is finally starting to produce visible results. Based on the recent “Mid-term Review” as well as the “Mid-term Evaluation” we are now able to assess the progress in the Partner Countries over the 1st half of the Programme. Norway is pleased to see that 2015 has brought some progress by the Partner Countries in the implementation of the Programme. The disbursement of grants to the Partner Countries is almost fourfold compared to the amount disbursed at the end of last year.

However, in their broad range of key findings the two reports also observe some shortcomings. These need to be addressed in the coming months to ensure the Programme to be implemented in a more smoothly manner. The donors have agreed on a set of recommendations on measures that need to be taken in order to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the RHP. For all stakeholders involved, focus in 2016 should and must be implementation."

Eduard Gnesa

Special Ambassador for International
Cooperation in Migration
Swiss Agency for Development
and Cooperation
Federal Department of
Foreign Affairs

"In 2015, construction works have intensified and RHP implementation has become visible on the ground in all Partner Countries. Local authorities are contributing majorly to the RHP’s sustainability as crucial partners for acceptance, support and integration of RHP beneficiaries. Due to the midterm review and sustainability evaluation conducted, all RHP stakeholders have become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the programme. Follow-up of the recommendations of both exercises is taken up by an action plan, as a basis for continued improvement of the RHP implementation. Strengthening Partner Countries’ capacities and ensuring local ownership will remain one of the priorities, especially in the current migration context in the Balkans. Capacities built and strengthened in the framework of the RHP will certainly increase preparedness for similar future challenges.

Donors are invited to support complementary measures to facilitate the re-integration of the RHP beneficiaries upon their return. Switzerland is engaged in the Western Balkans through bilateral migration partnerships and long-term cooperation programmes which strive to improve the living conditions of the region’s population in an inclusive way. As RHP donor, Switzerland is committed to promote synergies between the RHP and other Swiss supported local development initiatives, with the aim to enhance the results and contribute to the sustainability activities financed by Switzerland in the Western Balkan countries and the region."

Funds committed outside the RHP Fund

To ensure that Donors are efficiently represented within the RHP Fund, only those that contribute at least EUR 250 000 may channel their contributions through the Fund. Those countries that pledged less than EUR 250 000 during the Donors’ Conference in Sarajevo in 2012, namely Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and the Slovak Republic, were invited to channel their contributions directly through the CEB.

The above-mentioned countries have committed a total amount of EUR 209 000. These contributions are used by the CEB to pay for RHP-related events or publications. For example, in 2016, part of these funds covered the cost of the 2015 Annual Report of the RHP Fund and the organisation of the RHP Steering Committee meeting held in Sarajevo in June 2016.