The Earth is not ours, we have merely borrowed it from our children! In May, this year, the Sava River became faced with floods beyond living memory, sadly accompanied by the loss of human lives and other severe consequences. UNESCO and the Sava Commission are assisting in the recovery process and investing efforts toward sustainable management of the Sava River Basin and raising the youth awareness on its importance.
Record floods that affected areas in 3 countries of the Sava River Basin - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia - confirmed that similar disasters know no borders and that, along with the efforts invested by individual countries, the planning of protection measures at the level of the entire river basin is of undeniable benefit.
The devastating impact of floods in the region have had a significant impact on the focus of the work of the Sava Commission in order to achieve one of the key goals of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin, namely cooperation in undertaking prevention measures or in limiting danger and mitigating the harmful consequences of disasters - including those caused by floods.
As part of the joint efforts coordinated over the years towards the sustainable use of water and the development and protection of the Sava River Basin, the Sava Commission launched a competition in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), within the framework of its "H2Ooooh!" initiative, with the purpose of raising youth awareness.
Titled "Water in the Sava River Basin - Development and Protection", the competition was addressed to secondary school student from the Sava River Basin. 60 students and professors from 8 schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia were selected to participate in the 3rd Youth Parliament that was held from 19-20 September 2014 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Participants considered the possibilities of water use and exploitation, water and aquatic ecosystem protection in the Sava river basin as well as the importance of transboundary cooperation. Special attention was paid to flood protection. Winners of the competition presented their cartoon scenarios.
UNESCO will screen the new H2Ooooh! video for the Sava river that has been produced, as result of the above creative competition, titled "Water in the Sava River Basin - Development and Protection" at the Meeting of the Parties to the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB). This event, ritually held at ministerial level, will take place on 2 December 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia. The fifth Meeting will bring together high representatives of all Parties to the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as representatives of different organizations, institutions and governments.
The Meeting will be an opportunity for delegations of the Parties and representatives of international partners and supporters, to express their views of the FASRB implementation and cooperation with the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC). UNESCO will report on the recent developments of the cooperation with the International Sava River Basin Commission on Sediment Management issues as well as on non-structural flood mitigation measures.
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The International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) has been established for purpose of the implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB), namely the provision of cooperation of the Parties to the FASRB, for realization of the following goals: establishment of an international regime; establishment of sustainable water management; and undertaking of measures to prevent or limit hazards, such as floods, ice, droughts and accidents involving substances hazardous to water, and to reduce or eliminate related adverse consequences.