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 pledges by the European Union, the United States, Germany and Norway brought the total of funds pledged to EUR 284 million.
The European Commission
The European Union represented by the European Commission, is the main Donor to the RHP. Out of a total of EUR 284 million pledged in favour of the Programme, the European Commission pledged EUR 232 million.
Johannes Hahn Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
The Regional Housing Programme is changing lives. In 2017, the number of beneficiaries of the Programme more than doubled. More than 8 000 vulnerable persons now have a decent home.
To support more people, the European Commission provided an additional EUR 45 million to the action in 2017. The Commission is the largest donor to the Programme with EUR 232 million pledged or 82% of all contributions.
The European Commission supports the Regional Housing Programme because it makes a difference for the citizens of the Western Balkans. The Regional Housing Programme is an investment in the peace, reconciliation, stability, good neighbourly relations and prosperity of the Western Balkans and of Europe at large. It creates jobs and economic development. It promotes inclusion and reflects European values. That is why I invite all stakeholders, but first and foremost the Partner Countries, to forge ahead with the implementation of the Programme. I am confident that, together, we will continue to make this Programme a success.
Statements by Main Donors
Nancy Izzo Jackson
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration U.S. Department of State
The Regional Housing Program continues to embody the spirit of regional cooperation that is necessary to find lasting solutions for refugees and displaced people. Its needs-based selection process, multi-stakeholder engagement, and regional character make it a model to be emulated.
Last year, the number of houses delivered through the RHP was almost twice what we saw in the preceding three years combined. This is excellent progress.
Success within the RHP depends not only on housing solutions, however. In 2017 governments at all levels worked together with civil society, international organizations, and beneficiaries themselves to make these solutions sustainable. The United States continues to support complementary programming to foster integration and economic self- reliance of RHP beneficiaries. We commend Partner Countries for their support in these efforts.
In 2018, we should build on successes and redouble our joint efforts to find lasting, sustainable solutions for those still displaced, as we look to close the chapter on displacement in the Western Balkans.
Dr. Christian Hellbach
Federal Foreign Office’s
Special Envoy for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA-States
Promoting the Regional Housing Programme, which aims to resolve the ongoing shortage of housing for refugees and IDPs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, remains an important part of Germany’s Western Balkans policy. In response to the good progress made by the programme in recent years, Germany increased its contribution to the RHP Fund by a further 1.5 million euros in 2017. Alongside achieving its primary aim of building housing, the RHP has had an impact in many other areas. For example, the close involvement of municipalities in all implementation steps, with hundreds of communities now involved, ensures that knowledge is transferred to the administration at municipal level. This impact continues at national level, where competent planning and implementation structures based on EU standards have been established.
Finally, the standard regulations agreed with the Partner Countries by the Council of Europe Development Bank for the implementation of the Programme have necessitated an in-depth exchange of information and experience at intergovernmental level. This creates an opportunity to share experiences of best practice and leads to better neighbourly relations, which I see as the greatest benefit to the region. I thus wish the Programme every continued success.
Department for European Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Regional Housing Programme has finally reached a solid implementation pace and there are several reasons to be optimistic. The outlook for 2018 and the years to come looks promising with delivery of over 8 000 housing units. At the Steering Committee meeting in December 2017, Norway announced a new contribution of EUR 1.5 million to the RHP Fund. This is a token of Norway’s confidence in the Programme and appreciation of recent good progress. Efforts must now focus on ensuring the durability of the results and achievements.
In particular, Norway would like emphasize the Programme’s important social and reconciliatory impact. Furthermore, by getting the Partner Countries to work together, the RHP paves the way for deeper and broader regional cooperation. Hence, the regional character of the Programme should not be underestimated. Norway will continue to be actively involved in the Regional Housing Programme. We are looking forward to cooperating closely with the Partner Countries and donors.
Italian Agency for Development Cooperation
In 2017 Italy served as co-chair of the Regional Housing Programme, reiterating its commitment to the Program, unique of its kind, aimed at upgrading the lives of refugee and displaced persons in the Balkans. We are proud of an initiative which has the ambition of overcoming boundaries and targeting the most vulnerable, including the Roma people.
2018 will be the peak year for delivering on infrastructure. We need to sharpen the focus and place more emphasis on sustainability, keeping in mind the need for striking the right balance between support to returnees and host community involvement. Adequate beneficiary targeting also remains a key priority.
We will be capable of turning “houses into homes” to the extent the program “hardware” (i.e. construction) is equipped with the necessary “software”: house electricity services, access to social services, pension schemes, care for the elderly, maintenance services, community integration programs.
As Europeans, also through our own capacity development, institution strengthening, and technical cooperation bilateral programs, we reiterate our commitment to supporting transition to a stable, safer and prosperous 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, the Slovak Republic and Spain, were invited to channel their contributions directly through the CEB.
The above-mentioned countries have committed a total amount of EUR 377 000. These contributions are used by the CEB to pay for Technical Assistance to the RHP Partner Countries (in the case of Spain) or for RHP-related events or publications. For example, in 2018, part of these funds covered the cost of the 2017 Annual Report of the RHP Fund and the organisation of the RHP Steering Committee meeting held in Paris in November 2017.