New York - Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Zlatko Lagumdzija briefed the Permanent Representatives of the OIC Member States to the United Nations in New York about the latest situation in his country caused by the floods and landslides.
Foreign Minister stated that the enormity of the damage caused by the floods and consequent landslides, was unprecedented over the past more than 120 years of Bosnia Herzegovina. Mr. Zlatko Lagumdzija stressed that 30 percent of the entire territory of his country has been flooded, and that according to preliminary estimates 10 percent of its GDP was lost as a result of the damage caused. In addition, Foreign Minister has drawn attention to the landslides with minefields. It was unknown where these mines were after the landslides.
The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had two priorities, he underlined: housing and jobs. Particularly, the government prioritized to make a visible progress in the first 60 days after the floods in terms of housing the flood victims and recreating jobs in the field of agriculture.
The bright side of the disaster was, he noted, that the Bosnian and Herzegovinian society (all three main communities : Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs), regardless of ethno religious difference, has united in solidarity in order to tackle the damage. He stressed that this natural disaster has blurred the faultlines between different identities in the country, and made it more united than ever happened since its independence.
In that sense Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia have joined their efforts to counter the damage caused by the massive floods that affected all three of them. During such a meeting of the three countries, where they pondered on the ways to fund the reconstructions efforts, he recalled, it had been apparent that Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have had different legal statuses vis-à-vis the European Union. The first is a member, the second is a candidate, and the third is neither member nor a candidate. Therefore, while the first two were eligible to receive funds from the EU solidarity fund, Bosnia and Herzegovina was not.
Yet, the real issue at stake, he expressed, was not simply to finance the reconstruction efforts, but to sustain the spirit of solidarity this natural disaster created among the three countries, and fund the reconstruction efforts of all three of them in an impartial way, regardless of their legal status vis-à-vis the EU. He reported that it is planned to organize the donors conference by mid July.
Foreign Minister Lagumdzija noted that various international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank and European Commission were currently carrying out total damage and needed assessment together with BiH authorities. These assessment reports were due around 18th of this month, and then they would be available for the consideration of all countries willing to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In response, the Permanent Representatives of the OIC Member States have unanimously expressed their countries’ support and solidarity with the government and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They stated that the emergency aid provided by their respective countries would be followed by further aid and support after the assessment reports indicating the specific needs. Furthermore, the OIC Group called on the international community to extend its support to the government and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in their collective efforts to rebuild their lives and communities in the spirit of solidarity transcending ethnic and religious diversity.