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The Western Balkans faces a common set of environmental challenges, as the land use is changing. People move to cities and coastal regions resulting in the loss of coastal habitats and increasing urban sprawl. Pollution, especially air pollution, in urban and industrial areas, in addition to the discharge of wastewater, are taking a toll on human health and the environment. Municipal authorities in towns and cities are struggling to manage the situation. At the same time, the region has unique habitats, home to remarkable biodiversity, which need to be protected and conserved. To improve the situation, sustainable and reliable ways of managing water supply, waste water and waste disposal are crucial and have a strong impact on environmental protection, citizens’ health, and tourism in the region. 

The WBIF provides substantial support for a variety of projects, accounting for nearly 15% of the total WBIF portfolio. The priorities are water and waste water, solid waste, flood protection and river basin management in densely populated, industrialised, and environmentally sensitive areas. The waste and waste water management projects are compliant with the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans: Flagship 7 - Waste and waste water management.

Achieved results (2009 - 2020)

  • Improved water and waste water systems for 2.1 million people
  • 640,000 people protected from floods
  • Efficient solid waste services for 186,000 people
  • Flood forecasting and warning system for 5.4 m people living in the Sava River Basin

Expected results (2021 - 2028)

  • Improved water and waste water systems for 6.1 million people
  • Over 4.8 million people protected from floods
  • Efficient solid waste services for 1.2 million people

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