Bosnia and Herzegovina upgrades skills for assessing natural disaster damage

Photo: ©FAO/Vlado Pijunovic

Floods, landslides, drought, storms, earthquakes and forest fires... Bosnia and Herzegovina is prone to natural disasters that hurt agriculture. Supported by the Swiss Government, FAO organized a conference on February 08 on “Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Guidelines,” presenting findings and recommendations for improving current methodologies for assessing damages and losses in agriculture.

The Government of Switzerland supported the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) in Bosnia and Herzegovina in helping the agricultural sector to recover from the disastrous floods of 2014, and to improve its preparedness for future emergencies.

Total losses and damage to the agricultural sector from the 2014 floods were estimated at Euro 187 billion. Damage was made worse by pre-existing environmental degradation such as deforestation, erosion of riverbeds, and construction in risk-exposed areas.

Improved methodologies for post-disaster needs assessment at entity level are considered crucial for a clear understanding of how the agricultural sector is affected by disasters – especially small-scale farms. In addition, damage and loss data specific to the agricultural sector are essential for effective policy and practice, and to protect development investment in the sector

As a result of the project’s efforts, guidelines for required improvements and a road map for work at entity level were introduced at today’s conference at Jahorina. The guidelines and road map were presented to government officials, civil protection of both entities, Ministries of Agriculture, and representatives of international organizations. The event marked the successful conclusion of a project entitled, “Enhancement of Post-Disaster Needs Assessment methodologies at entity level in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“After the 2014 floods and immediate support to people in the affected areas, Switzerland continued to work with local and international partners in creating better responses towards disasters, and establishment of an acceptable level of risk across different sectors that can be then appropriately mitigated,” said Almir Tanović, Program Officer at the Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Today’s conference,” he continued, “is an important contribution to creating local capacities and cooperation in timely response to protecting livelihoods and substantially reducing economic losses in agriculture. Disaster Risk Reduction will be an important complementary theme for the Swiss Cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

VLADO PIJUNOVIC
National Project Officer
FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia
UN House, Zmaja od Bosne bb, Sarajevo
vlado.pijunovic@fao.org