Natural Hazard Risk
Serbia is vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards that include floods, landslides, droughts, and earthquakes. The most frequent hazard is excessive rainfall, which can lead to flooding and landslides. Thirty percent of the country’s agricultural land and over 3,000 kilometers of its roads are at risk from this hazard. In late May 2014, Serbia was affected by the most severe flooding and landslides in 120 years. According to a GFDRR-supported post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), the disaster affected over 1.6 million people and caused over $1.7 billion in damage, loss, and recovery needs.
Earthquakes also pose significant risk. Over 50 percent of the country is vulnerable to earthquakes of magnitude 7.
The Government of Serbia has made progress in advancing disaster risk management (DRM). Building on the results of the 2014 PDNA, the government developed a national framework to institutionalize DRM that focuses on disaster risk identification, risk monitoring, and early warning systems. Additionally, the government adopted a National DRM Program (NDRMP) that enhances Serbia’s existing strategies for managing disaster risk.
To further advance the DRM agenda, the government’s priorities include:
- Investing heavily in stronger early warning services and developing comprehensive flood risk maps for better flood monitoring systems;
- Making the economy more resilient to climate change, with a particular focus on the agriculture sector; and,
- Strengthening fiscal resilience by promoting risk insurance against damage caused by natural disasters
GFDRR has significantly enhanced its support for DRM in Serbia since the 2014 floods, with an emphasis on post-disaster response, institutional capacity building, and risk identification.
Immediately after the flooding, GFDRR supported a government-led PDNA in partnership with the EU, UNDP, and World Bank. The findings of this assessment have informed additional activities in the country, including the NDRMP. A trust fund, managed and co-implemented by GFDRR, was set up to support the implementation of the NDRMP and further enhance DRM and flood prevention systems. Financed by the EU, Switzerland, the World Bank, and GFDRR, activities primarily aim to reduce existing flood risk and avoid the creation of future risk.
To support the implementation of the NDRMP, GFDRR-financed technical assistance in 2015 helped the government in establish a fiscal risk management unit within the Ministry of Finance and develop a disaster risk financing strategy. GFDRR’s initial support for the NDRMP has been critical in mobilizing more than $70 million for DRM capacity building. GFDRR also supports initiatives that help Serbia better prepare for future natural hazards by gathering open data for risk identification and enhancing end-to-end early warning systems.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Serbia in the following areas:
- Ongoing initiatives for open data and end-to-end early warning systems and pilots at the municipal level;
- Shifting focus over time from flood prevention and recovery to multi-hazard risk management at both the local and national levels;
- Expanding DRM approaches to selected sectors such as education, transportation, or health for improved resilience;
- Strengthening financial protection mechanisms to protect against the fiscal shocks of natural hazards;
- Mitigating the impact of climate change and making the economy more disaster and climate resilient; and,
- Managing and implementing the National DRM program.