Bosnia and Herzegovina - Celebrating the basin’s diversity

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Celebrating the basin’s diversity

More than 83 million people of different cultures and languages call the Danube region their home, and for centuries they have been interconnected through the waters of the basin.

Credit: ICPDR/Mello

Credit: ICPDR/Mello

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has no direct access to the Danube River, but it is part of the river’s catchment area through major tributaries such as the Sava River. The Sava has the largest discharge of water to the Danube of any tributary, and over 40% of the Sava River sub-basin lies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The joint management of the Sava River Basin by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia represents a good model for the Danube and exhibits successful strategies to implement the EU Water Framework Directive for the Danube and Europe. The Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin and the Protocol on the Navigation Regime, both signed in 2002, promote regional cooperation throughout the Sava River Basin on issues related to navigation, economic development, comprehensive water management and environmental protection.

The cooperation between the ICPDR and the International Sava River Basin Commission has helped Sava countries tackle issues of crucial importance for transboundary development in the Sava River Basin. Examples of this are the 2008 Feasibility Study for Reconstruction and Development of Inland Navigation in the Sava River Basin, the 2009 Protocol on Water Pollution caused by Navigation, the 2010 Protocol on Flood Protection and the Sava River Basin Management Plan in 2012.

Sharing ICPDR success with other basins. One of the main characteristics of the Danube River Basin is its diversity. This diversity is not the region’s weakness but, on the contrary, its advantage. The waters of the Danube region unite people from different languages, landscapes and cultures and the ICPDR is a positive, internationally recognised example of cooperation in a transboundary river system. Furthermore, the ICPDR demonstrates that countries cannot solve water issues alone; they need to cooperate with each other.

Bosnia and Herzegovina and the countries of the Danube have benefitted from this cooperation and have shown a sense of obligation to share our experiences with other river basins. A good example of this is the twinning arrangement with the Orange Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) in Southern Africa, which provides the opportunity for both commissions to learn and profit from each other.

This is an illustration of the success of the Danube River Protection Convention in bringing partners together and of how it will continue to help countries achieve international cooperation in the conservation of our planet’s natural heritage – which we have only borrowed from future generations.

Next: Serbia - Harmonising standards and practices

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