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FEATURE STORY March 13, 2019

25 Years of Partnership Between Croatia and the World Bank Group: Citizens’ Views

For two and a half decades, Croatia and the World Bank Group have worked together to improve people’s lives. From post-conflict reconstruction to social and economic recovery, and from supporting economic stability to Croatia’s preparation for accession to the European Union, some of the people who helped make this partnership a success share their views.

Post-War Reconstruction

The removal of landmines after the war, with the World Bank’s help, allowed for the emergency reconstruction of bridges, roads and railway lines, the restoration of irrigation and flood protection systems in Eastern Slavonia, the revitalization of agricultural production, and the development of tourism in areas of special state concern, as well as the safe return of displaced people to their land.

— Miljenko Vahtarić, former Assistant Director, Croatian Mine Action Center

Economic and Social Recovery

In 2008, Tehno-Filter Ltd. received a grant through the World Bank-supported Social and Economic Recovery Project. This allowed us to procure essential hand and power tools and machinery to increase the quality of our products and make further investments in development and modernization. We are currently investing in new technologies and plan to procure robotic machines to automate production.

Nataša Strišković, Director of the Tehno-Filter Ltd company, Beli Manastir


Introduction of a Case Management System for the Courts

The Integrated Court Management System Project, i.e. the eSpis application, has made operations in court proceedings more transparent and improved the quality of service for outside users and the quality of work of civil servants. The introduction of the application and continuous upgrades have made the administration of caseloads more efficient.

Ana Županić, eSpis System Administrator at the Commercial Court in Zagreb

Modernization of the Port of Ploče

The Trade and Transport Integration Project helped modernize and increase the capacity of the Port of Ploče, resulting in higher levels of cargo traffic and improvements in the efficiency and quality of services. This has strengthened the competitiveness of the Port of Ploče in the cargo transport market, in particular transport running along the Corridor Vc.

Tomislav Batur, Director, Ploče Port Authority


Preserving Springs and Cleanliness of the Adriatic Sea

The people of Rijeka and its surroundings are proud of the quality of fresh water flowing from local subterranean Karst springs. The World Bank’s multi-annual Coastal Cities Pollution Control Project, helps preserve our refreshing and pure - but also very vulnerable - spring water, and maintain the cleanliness of the Adriatic Sea. The project included intensive construction of some fifty kilometers of a sanitary sewage system and ten major sewage stations in the Grobnik area, covering over 1,700 homes.

Andrej Marochini, Director of the public water supply and public waste water sewage services provider for four cities (Rijeka, Bakar, Kastav and Kraljevica) and five municipalities (Čavle, Jelenje, Klana, Kostrena and Viškovo)

Provision of Care in the Community - Deinstitutionalisation

“The Right to Live in the Community” project has provided people with intellectual disabilities with the opportunity to move from institutions to independent living communities in Grubišno Polje and to participate in work activities in the local community. Good results of the project have helped us secure financing from EU funds and start a vegetable farm that now employs people with intellectual disabilities. This experience has also prompted the cities of Pakrac, Lipik and Sisak to include their fellow citizens with intellectual disabilities in independent housing and support their inclusion in the local community.

Borka Teodorović, President of the Inclusion Promotion Association


Developing a Case Tracking System at the State Attorney's Office

The objective of introducing a case tracking system is to improve efficiency of the State Attorney's Office work through oversight of case workflows, monitoring of the proceedings course and outcomes, and increased operational transparency. The progress achieved allows for digital file-keeping, networking with the courts, and also networking with other authorities, citizens and other parties.

Dragan Novosel, former Deputy Chief State Attorney

Nature Protection and Preservation of Biodiversity

The collection and analysis of data on biodiversity, related to the European Natura 2000 protected areas network, strengthened the nature protection system. Along with impressive results in upgrades to visitor infrastructure in national and nature parks, we have prepared new project proposals to be ready to apply for EU funds. This approach has ensured the sustainability of project results and continuation of investments in the natural resources of the Republic of Croatia, which in terms of its biodiversity is at the very top of the EU.

— Igor Kreitmeyer, Project Coordinator, EU Natura 2000 Integration


Waste Water Treatment in Coastal Towns and Cities

Prior to the construction of a waste water treatment plant, raw waste water was discharged into the coastal sea. There were 115 such outlets in the City of Zadar area. With the construction of the waste water treatment plant under the Adriatic project financed from a World Bank loan, all the collected waste water is now treated, which has resulted in excellent quality of the coastal seawater.

— Grgo Peronja, Director, Odvodnja d.o.o. Zadar

Modernization of the Rijeka Port

The World Bank and the Port of Rijeka Authority have been cooperating on the Rijeka Gateway Project for more than fifteen years. The construction of the new Zagreb Deep Sea container terminal is its key investment, and it has launched a series of related projects that will, in a short period of time, turn the Port of Rijeka into a core intermodal center of the northern Adriatic. Without the Rijeka Gateway Project, the Rijeka port system would not have developed or survived on the port market.

— Denis Vukorepa, Executive Director, Port of Rijeka Authority

Modernization of the Emergency Medical System

Differences in organizational and equipment standards, disparities in emergency criteria, insufficient training, and differences in the quality of and access to emergency medical services are now a thing of the past in Croatia. With the World Bank’s support, we now have a unified emergency medical system, prescribed standards for equipment and vehicles, and our medical students can specialize in emergency medicine.

— Maja Grba-Bujević, Director of the Croatian Institute for Emergency Medicine


Investment in National Park Infrastructure

The Kupari Reception and Education Centre has improved what Risnjak National Park in the River Kupa Valley has to offer. It has provided visitors with high-quality, interesting insights into the natural and cultural heritage of the Kupa River Valley. At the same time, it has provided the local population with an opportunity to increase their income by offering services to visitors. This investment was made possible through the EU Natura 2000 Integration project and the support of the World Bank.

Miljenko Gašparac, Director, Risnjak National Park


Investment in Entrepreneurship

The capital investment we made with the Women in Entrepreneurship funds provided by the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development through a World Bank loan, was of strategic importance for the development of XD. It was targeted at improving business processes and conquering new global markets. With the construction of a production and tailoring facility, the Ksajpa XD Design Centre has become the headquarters and source of designer creativity and innovation.

Ksenija Vrbanić, Owner, XD XENIA DESIGN

Investing in Science, New Technologies and Innovation

The technology development project had a huge impact on creating a start-up scene in the Republic of Croatia. It launched a whole host of instruments and competencies that were not available before, and created the conditions for developing ideas for a product or service. It finally connected the science community with industry through a new way of financing projects.

— Dalibor Marijanović, former CEO of BICRO