Enhancing Cross-Border Cooperation in the Drina River Basin

Enhancing Cross-Border Cooperation in the Drina River Basin

Source of funding


Name of client/donor

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Overall project value

EUR 740,000


July 2009 – July 2011

Beneficiary countries

Bosnia and Herzegovina | Montenegro | Serbia

Number of staff


The Drina River is 346 km long and is a tributary of the Sava River. It is formed by the confluence of the rivers Tara and Piva, both of which rise in Montenegro and converge on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Flowing northwards into the Sava in northwestern Serbia, the Drina forms most of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The largest part of its catchment area (35 percent) is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 34 percent in Montenegro, 30 percent on Serbian territory and less than 1 percent in Albania.

The goals of the project were to:

  • develop an inventory of significant pressures and impacts in the Drina River Basin;
  • help address waste problems in three pilot municipalities in the basin;
  • build the capacities of the existing Danube/Sava Accident Emergency Warning System (AEWS);
  • raise awareness and provide environmental education for citizens in the Drina River Basin; and
  • provide support to the Drina River Commission.

In the context of the EU accession process, the project assisted Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to continue harmonising their legislation with the EU policy framework.

The project strengthened the institutional framework and built capacity for better accident prevention and early warning systems, and improved emergency preparedness and response measures at regional level.

As industrial facilities that are no longer in operation, and disposal sites that have been closed down, continue to pose a threat to water bodies in the form of spills, leaching or the mobilisation of substances by floods, a further task of the project was to draw up a basin-wide inventory of potential sources of pollution that could pose a significant threat to water resources in the basin.

The project supported the efforts of the Drina River Basin countries to link to the existing Danube Accident Emergency Warning System. The Drina River Committee working group was supported by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River and experts from the Sava Commission.

The inventory of potential pollution sources compiled during the project was based on the existing inventories of potential accident risk spots (ARS) and old contaminated sites (OCS) in the Danube River Basin. The methodology and assessment procedure comprised:

  • the identification and registration of potential sources of pollution based on existing data; and
  • risk assessment and classification — sites with no significant threat, sites where immediate measures can be applied to remove hazards, and sites suspected to be sources of pollution and where further oriented investigation is needed.
  • River basin management
  • Risk assessment
  • Institution strengthening
  • Capacity building

Project Publications