Since Croatia joined the World Bank in 1993, projects have supported reforms in areas such as agriculture, judiciary, tax administration, land registry and cadastre, infrastructure, transportation, the environment, emergency medical services, improving social welfare, and job creation. Current operations are supporting the country’s accession efforts and mitigating the impact of the global economic crisis.
Project highlights include:
Unexpected Outcomes: Discovering Croatia’s Past by Building for the Future
A wastewater management project along Croatia's Adriatic Coast recently uncovered a 2,000-year-old vessel in the town of Pula. Funds were made available to help excavate and preserve this archeological relic. Following the excavation of this ship - which paired international experts with their Croatian counterparts - efforts are now underway to desalinize the vessel and preserve it so that generations to come can glimpse into the past of this seafaring community.
In Croatia: Upgrades to the Emergency Medical System Saves Lives
An emergency medical system is finally in place in Croatia, where for years there were no separate facilities for urgent medical treatment. Under the system, hundreds of technicians are now on 24-hour call across the country, able to explain to often panic-stricken callers what steps to take until emergency aid arrives.
In Croatia: Helping Farmers Comply with EU Standards
The pollution control project aims at promoting better and safer agricultural practices in Croatia. The World Bank-supported project, financed by the Global Environmental Facility, is helping the country meet European Union standards, in part by implementing controls on the nitrates and other minerals involved in farming, which can be harmful when they enter the country’s water system. Under the project, agricultural specialists are out sampling the water deep beneath the soil of some 1,400 hectares of Croatia’s fields and orchards.
Clean Water Cleans Sea on Croatia’s Famed Coastline
21 regions along Croatia’s Adriatic coastline are participating in the project, which expects to triple the number of the costal area’s households and businesses that are connected to sewage treatment services.
In Croatia: Helping Exports Expand
More than €72 million in credit have been distributed so far under the government’s export finance project, which is backed with World Bank funds. The project’s objective is to support the preservation and growth of Croatia’s exports, through providing medium- and long-term capital to exporters and foreign exchange earning companies.
Ensuring that Croatia’s Vulnerable are Better Served and Protected
Drawing on World Bank funding and expertise since 2006, Croatia has improved the delivery and quality of social services for nearly 13,500 beneficiaries (children, youth, elderly, disabled), financed start-up costs for 34 innovative community-based social services projects, improved living and working conditions in 45 residential institutions, and initiated the development of the first social welfare information management system.
The Social Welfare Development Project (SWDP) was designed to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in modernizing the quality and delivery of social services to the most vulnerable and needy in Croatian society, and to improve the administration of the overall social welfare system, including the living and working conditions in the social welfare institutions.
Transforming Croatia's Rijeka Port and City
Rijeka has been an important port over the centuries, changing hands as it changed rulers, and cycling through boom and bust. In the past decade, Rijeka has been in need of an economic boost, and is getting one thanks to a public-private partnership involving government authorities and one of the largest private terminal operators in the world, International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI).
The long-term plan is to make the port—a gateway to Central Europe—competitive for handling containers and other maritime traffic, while making the city more livable for its citizens and more attractive to tourists.
The ambitious and massive overhaul of Rijeka's port is a project of the government—through the state-run port authority and the roads company—and the municipality of Rijeka, with close support from the World Bank.
Restoring Livelihoods in Croatia
Fifteen years after the end of hostilities in Croatia, some people still live in areas where roads, buildings and the water supply are destroyed and the land is littered with mines. Jobs are scarce.
But 84,000 people in parts of the country affected by war or underdevelopment have had help catching up with more developed areas thanks to the Social and Economic Recovery Project, which created 1,341 new jobs, almost half of which were filled by women. EUR 11 million was generated by small businesses, crafts and cooperatives and since 2005 some 12 square kilometers of mine-contaminated land has been cleared allowing people to use their land safely without fearing for their lives or property.
In addition, the project funded more than 400 smaller initiatives: kindergarten and school construction, water supply, community centers, treatment centers for drug abusers, olive grinding machines, and landmine clearing equipment.
Other recent achievements:
- The World Bank contributed to Croatia’s efforts in fiscal consolidation and mitigation of the social impact of the financial crisis through two development policy loans in 2010 and 2011 and a third one is under preparation
- Jobs and exports are being preserved through loans to private companies for working capital and new investments through a €150 million loan to the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
- The Agriculture Acquis Cohesion Project has helped Croatia meet the EU accession requirement in the agriculture and rural development areas by building capacity of civil servants to manage EU pre-accession and accession funds for rural development programs.
- The Science and Technology Project’s “Unity Through Knowledge Fund” backed 55 Research & Development (R&D) projects with Croatian companies and institutions, through collaboration with the diaspora in the fields of scientific and technology projects. Over 80 science and research institutes and more than 200 researchers from Croatia and abroad worked on joint projects. A Second Science and Technology Project is ongoing.
Since 2010, half a million people per year, including tourists, benefit from cleaner seawater and improved living conditions through construction of wastewater treatment plants along the Adriatic coast as a result of the first phase of the Coastal Cities Pollution Control Program. A second phase is ongoing.