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Заедничка Акција за Одржлива Иднина
Veprojmë së bashku për një të ardhme të qëndrueshme
Zajednička akcija za održivu budućnost
Συντονισμένη Δράση για ένα Βιώσιμο Μέλλον
Coordinated Action for a Sustainable Future

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Flood Insurance

A challenging and recurring natural hazard...

Floods are the most challenging and recurring natural hazard in the wider Western Balkan region and therefore also in the Drin Basin. River floods occur mainly from March to June (spring) and from September to November (autumn) in plains and lowlands. As snow melting causes spring floods, these often last longer than autumn floods, which are caused by heavy rainfall, making them more sudden with very high flows. Flash floods are common in mountain areas where average annual precipitation can be as much as 1,750 mm per year, sometimes triggering mudflows. Outburst floods pose a threat to many cities, owing, among other things, to the structural vulnerability of dams. Climate change is forecasted to increase both the frequency and intensity of flooding and droughts in the region.

Apart from climate change effects, geomorphological characteristics, hydrological features of watercourses and geotechnical formation of the terrain, flood events in the Drin Basin region are also augmented by environmental degradation factors such as continued pollution and poor waste management, as well as by factors such as improper urbanization and/or inappropriate land use.

Action towards a sustainable solution for the basin  

A preliminary flood risk assessment was carried out by the Riparians that worked together in a transnational Technical Working Group, which was guided by international and national experts. The assessment identified 46 areas of potential significant flood risk (APSFR) throughout the Drin Basin. Of these, 21 are located in North Macedonia, 12 in Kosovo, 7 in Albania and 6 in Montenegro. The numbers neither reflect the extent of potential risk nor the size of the risk areas. The bigger flood risk areas are situated in Albania in the delta of the Drin Basin and around Lake Skadar/Shkodër, whereas the number of smaller risk locations are found in the upstream Riparians. Areas in Kosovo and North Macedonia are facing flash flood risk and pluvial flood risk (in smaller catchments and along the headwaters of smaller streams that cross the villages).

Flooding events in riparian countries of the Drin Basin have been experienced more frequently since 2010. Socio-economic vulnerability is high due to the high (9-21%) poverty rate and unemployment, particularly in rural and mountainous areas.

Risk transfer mechanisms such as risk-based flood insurance and thus the long-term flood risk financing is among the key sustainability issues to be addressed, as part of the future implementation of integrated flood risk management at the basin scale.

Responding to the needs and related provisions in the Drin MoU and in line with the Drin Strategic Action programme, the pilot activity entitled “Flood insurance in the areas of Skadar/Shkodër Lake – Buna/Bojana River, and Struga in Ohrid Lake” was implemented under the GEF Drin project. Its objective was to assess the feasibility of introducing flood/natural disasters insurance as one of a suite of flood risk transfer mechanisms for the basin and provide clear recommendations on what would be required for full development and implementation of a basin-wide insurance scheme, by undertaking studies in pilot areas which are among those at highest risk of flooding in the Drin Basin i.e. the Skadar/Shkodër, Buna/Bojana, and Struga areas.

Willingness to pay surveys is one of the tools under the activity, using focus groups meetings and individual interviews to collect relevant information on residents’ and other stakeholders’ attitude towards risk and their willingness to support/subsidize the insurance scheme. Such information will help to select different insurance options, will determine the willingness to contribute in their implementation and will support the design of insurance schemes in the areas impacted by flood events.

The activity comprises five phases of implementation:

Phase 1. Inception phase
Phase 2. Data collection and analysis of existing conditions
Phase 3: Socio-economic vulnerability assessment and characterisation of study areas
Phase 4: Willingness to pay survey of outline flood insurance scheme
Phase 5: Private Sector Willingness to contribute to/subsidise flood insurance

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