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Bosnia and Herzegovina: additional CEB grant support for migrants and refugees

27 January 2020

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved the allocation of a €150,000 grant from its Social Dividend Account to cover for the provision of non-food items (e.g. blankets, sleeping bags, rain coats, warm clothes, and shoes, tailored hygiene products) to migrants transiting or present in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The grant is estimated to benefit about 1,000 persons for a period of two months during winter.

The grant follows on the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović’s visit to the informal camp in Vucjak, in early December 2019, and her call for the imminent relocation of the people staying in that camp and for additional humanitarian assistance. It complements the €1.4 million grant that has already been mobilised by the CEB, from the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF), for the rehabilitation of the Ušivak temporary reception centre and the provision of assistance and protection services to vulnerable migrants. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the CEB’s principal partner for MRF-funded actions on the Balkan Route, will manage the provision of non-food items inside and, if possible, outside the existing temporary reception centres.

Usivak TRC.png
Usivak TRC.png

There has been a steady increase in the number of migrants entering Bosnia and Herzegovina beginning with 2017, with 28,277 migrants recorded by December 2019, compared to 755 in early 2017. The international community, in cooperation with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, have mobilised significant resources in order to ensure emergency accommodation as well as humanitarian assistance and protection.

The authorities and the UN, with EU support, have opened four temporary reception centres (TRC) since the end of 2017. The CEB has helped upgrade the Ušivak TRC in Hadžići, south of Sarajevo, while works on a sixth centre in Blažuj (Tomislavgrad), with EU and the German Federal Civil Protection Agency’s support, are about to be completed. In addition to these, there are informal migrant camps, such as the one in Vucjak, which was closed in December 2019 and which brought an additional 700 migrants to the existing TRCs. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has scaled up its operations to ensure the much-needed humanitarian response. The additional CEB grant is intended to cover an existing gap in the provision of non-food items during the harsh winter period.

“International financial institutions and development banks have an active role to play in supporting states receiving migrants and refugees.  The CEB has always acted on this principle and on the principle of solidarity. We are standing by Bosnia and Herzegovina, our international partners, and most importantly the refugees and migrants currently present in our member countries in Europe,” said Rolf Wenzel, the Governor of the CEB. “The €28 million of the Migrant and Refugee Fund, set up by the CEB in 2015, has been fully allocated but the Bank is continuously looking into ways of responding to the needs of the most vulnerable in Europe, including migrants and refugees, under its new Development Plan,” he concluded. 

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Social Dividend Account (SDA)

The SDA is funded mainly with earmarked contributions from the CEB’s annual results, as decided by the Bank’s member states. It is used to support projects with a high social impact, through technical assistance, loan guarantees, interest-rate subsidies, and investment grants.

Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF)

In October 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, the CEB established a €28-million Migrant and Refugee Fund to support its member countries in accommodating and/ or integrating migrants and refugees who arrive on their territories. Twenty-two CEB member countries and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have contributed to the MRF, alongside the CEB, with Germany, France, and Italy at the forefront. €22 million have been allocated to projects located along the Balkan route, in line with the Bank’s mandate to support the most vulnerable and in need of financial resources.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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