Regional Housing Programme (RHP 2)

Project description

Title: Regional Housing Programme in Four Western Balkan Countries (BIH, HR, MNE, SRB) – TA for Formulating the Feasibility Reports and for Implementing the Country Housing Projects
Commissioned by: Council of Europe Development Bank
Financier: European Union (EU)
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia
Partners: Eptisa and Danish Refugee Council
Overall term: 2012 to 2020

Context

The ‘Joint Regional Programme on Durable Solutions for Refugees and Displaced Persons’ (also known as ‘Sarajevo Process’) is a joint initiative between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. The aim of this Initiative is to resolve the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons by, inter alia, providing them with durable housing solutions ("Regional Housing Programme" or “RHP”) as the form of social infrastructure.

The RHP is an integral part of the Sarajevo Process on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (the Sarajevo Process), which was initiated in 2005. The intent of the Sarajevo Process, and by definition, the RHP is to contribute to the resolution of the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and IDPs from the 1991-1995 conflicts in former Yugoslavia (and including IDPs from Montenegro from 1999), through the provision of durable housing solutions. The Sarajevo Process has been endorsed by the international community, including the European Union (represented by the European Commission), the United States of America, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 

Objective

The Partner Countries within the provision of durable housing solutions have provided assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the 1991-1995 conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia, including internally displaced persons (“IDPs”) in Montenegro from 1999.

Approach

The programme works closely with the refugee organisations of each country to develop a programme able to identify beneficiaries, develop housing projects for them and deliver the projects so that the beneficiaries can move in. To be able to do this, a full institutional and regulatory structure of the programme was developed in the four partner countries. 

The RHP targets close to 74,000 people in 27,000 households. It comprises four Country Housing Projects, one in each Partner Country. Each project has been implemented parallel by the respective Partner Country, in several subprojects and/or in phases since the end of 2012. The estimated total cost of the RHP amounts to 584 million Euros with the EU being the largest donor, making the system for management of funds complementary to EU requirements.

There is extensive donor activity when it comes to refugee housing projects in the region. Actions are financed by bilateral donors but also through the European Commission, as well as International Financial Institutions. Refugee housing actions are mostly national in scope – the RHP is the only such programme which is regional. The RHP is being funded by a number of donors including the European Commission, USA, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

Results

Each of the four Partner Countries developed a Country Housing Programme which were detailed programmes specifying the number of housing units required, their locations and the investment and planning requirements including national co-finance and financing plans. These were drafted with assistance from the Technical Assistance team to form the background to programme implementation.

The entire institutional system for programme delivery in each Partner Country was set up with political lead organisations and Project Implementation Units (PIU) identified in each country. Stemming from the PIU, all processes of the project implementation had to be designed, established and supported with documentation. This means that Project Implementation Manuals were drafted for each PIU, Procurement Manuals were drafted reflecting the Partner Countries’ specific requirements and respecting CEB principles. A complete monitoring system was specifically designed for the programme and provided IT based project management information for each PIU as well and the programme management at CEB. 

The whole implementation process was supported by the Technical Assistance team providing help in the procurement of service and work contracts and the supervision of construction activities. Up to 2019, 6,500 housing units were constructed and the procurement is under way to complete 12,000 units in total by June 2020.

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