International day for Disaster Risk Reduction marked

October 13, 2021

Representatives of the Municipality of Kakanj, the Swiss Embassy in BiH and the United Nations agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, have marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR Day) under the theme “It is all About Good Governance”.  The purpose is to bring to attention the fact that we should not be waiting for a disaster to happen but, act preventively through joint actions.

The event is organized within the Joint Programme “Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, worth BAM 8,4 million, which is funded by the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations (UN) and is implemented by the UN agencies: UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and FAO. The goal of the Joint Programme is to address the key priorities of disaster risk reduction (DRR) identified by the local governments and stakeholders in various sectors: protection and rescue, education, social and child protection, health and agriculture. The Programme places a particular emphasis on improvement of local coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and on promotion of the risk-informed strategic planning processes, with a strong focus on the most vulnerable groups of population.

Head of the Department for Local Governance and Municipal Services of the Swiss Embassy, Maja Zarić said: “Recent disasters significantly slowed down the development of all local communities and the country in general. To prevent similar situations in the future, a systematic governance of disaster risk is necessary. The Municipality of Kakanj is one of ten local governments that with the support of the Joint Swiss-UN Programme introduce measures for disaster risk prevention, ensuring close cooperation of different sectors.“

An online DRAS platform was launched as a part of the Programme, which provides up-to-date information on exposure to floods, landslides and earthquakes throughout BiH, including the Municipality of Kakanj. In addition, a process of mapping of institutions, organizations and services in the area of sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence was made, including their roles in situations of disasters. 

Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF BiH Representative and acting UN Resident Coordinator in BiH, emphasized that human activity contributes to increasing disaster risks. Economic and social instability, migrations, displacement, urbanization, poor environmental management and climate change are all important factors which contribute to ever bigger and more complex consequences of disasters that we are facing. For this reason, the UN is actively involved in development activities which reduce disaster risks and help us adapt to climate change. Within the Joint Swiss UN Programme, in cooperation with our partners and local governments, we have undertaken concrete measures to strengthen multisectoral disaster risk reduction capacities. We are changing the way in which we are approaching the challenges posed by disaster risks, focusing on prevention and early response as well as on systemic investment in building resilience of communities and population, particularly of the vulnerable groups.”

A simulation exercise was conducted at the Secondary Technical School “Kemal Kapetanović” under a pre-defined scenario by representatives of the Municipality of Kakanj Civil Protection and Professional Fire Brigade Kakanj, Fire Brigade "Kakanj", Police Station Kakanj, Health Center Kakanj, Red Cross Kakanj, and staff and students of the Technical High School "Kemal Kapetanovic" Kakanj, who “saved” the lives of 120 pupils through a fire evacuation. This is one of the schools in BiH in which risk assessments were completed, trainings conducted and disaster risk reduction plans developed within this Joint Programme.

“I am happy that we are marking this important date in Kakanj. In the past, we faced many challenges and drew lessons from each of them. This is the reason why we are aware of the need for prevention. In addition to natural disasters, our area is exposed also to disasters which are the product of an industrial character of our region. Along with floods, fires, droughts, heavy snowfalls and extremely low temperatures, we also had huge waste rockslides and penetration of water into an incomplete mine tunnel through which the river Ribnica flows, in the last stage of its flow. There are also two large waste rock dumps and a dross and ash depot. We had one more problem: combustion of coal, deep underground. Moreover, there are mine pits deep in the bowels of the earth. There are also thermal power plants here. The life has taught us that prevention and networking is the best life saver and this is why we are pleased to participate in the Programme “Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, said the Mayor of Kakanj, Mirnes Bajtarević.

Mayor Mirnes Bajtarević signed a Declaration for the implementation of  Go Green - Initiative for Greener and More Sustainable Future. The goal of the Declaration is greening of the area of Kakanj, protecting the water source “Pitka voda” from drying up and pollution and preventing landslides and flooding at the settlement of Ričica. With today’s tree planting, the Municipality of Kakanj has officially started implementing the Initiative and the planting of 1000 seedlings of pine, maple and ash trees.

For more information, please, contact:

Ajla Mostarac, UNDP:

Nineta Popović, UNICEF:

Majda Prljača, UNFPA:

Lejla Hrelja, UNESCO:

Vlado Pijunović, FAO: