When it Comes to Urban Resilience to Natural Disasters, Better Connected Means Better Prepared!

29 Jun 2017

Belgrade, 29th June 2017 –Three years after the devastating floods, which ravaged several countries of South-East Europe, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia, local government leaders and disaster risk reduction professionals from across the region are working towards reinforcing concrete infrastructure and equipment with functional networks of inter-municipal partnerships.

Financed by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the First Round-Table Discussion held in Belgrade within the regional project “SEE URBAN – South East Europe Urban Resilience Building Action Network” brought together policy makers and professionals connected by shared risks of natural disasters, which affect towns and municipalities across the region.

Ivan Bošnjak, State Secretary of Serbian Ministry of State Administration and Local Government and Sandra Nedeljković, Deputy Head of Serbia’s Public Investment Management Office stressed that just as the flood waters of 2014 crossed administrative lines of municipal jurisdictions, so also must joint efforts to connect and strengthen inter-municipal networks across shared river basins and, hence, shared risks of future flooding.

When disaster struck in May of 2014, the quickest support came from those closest to affected towns:  the neighbouring municipalities. Immediate rescue and relief efforts and subsequent recovery across the region brought about a growing commitment by local policy makers and professionals to ensure their towns and cities are now better prepared for the future risks of disasters, fuelled primarily by the changing weather patterns.

The experience has led to the emergence of various models of inter-municipal networking, including those presented by the Croatian Counties & Cities DRR Platform (CCCP) and the Regional Development Centre of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, whilst lessons learned in Serbia came from the cities of Obrenovac and Kraljevo, which showcased notable progress in bringing together stakeholders in the Kolubara and Western Morava River Basins, respectively.

This two-year project will connect and formalize the required collaborative approaches to ensure that resilience professionals across the region can know and mitigate shared risks and build capacities within the network. “In the language of Sustainable Development Goals, our partnership for resilience will grow at local level, where it’s needed most if we are to attain our shared aspirations of making our cities and communities safe, resilient and sustainable”, stresses Krunoslav Katić, of the SEE URBAN Project.

For media enquiries, please contact Stevan Vujasinovic at UNDP Serbia by writing to communications.rs@undp.org or calling +381 11 4155 310