After dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 90-ies, the Sava River, which was the biggest national river, has become an international river of recognized importance.

The establishment of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe (SP) provided a solid basis for active cooperation of all stakeholders in the region and paved a way toward creation of new approach to water resources management in the basin.

Following the support of the Stability Pact, the four riparian countries of the Sava River Basin - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Croatia and Republic of Slovenia entered into a process of cooperation known as “the Sava River Basin Initiative”. The process resulted in the “Letter of Intent” on launching the joint activities in regard to the Sava River and its tributaries, which was signed in Sarajevo (B&H) on November 29, 2001, by the ministers of foreign affairs of the four countries.

Basic idea of the Sava Initiative contained in the “Letter of Intent” was to utilize, protect and control the Sava River Basin water resources in a manner that would enable “better life conditions and raising the standard of population in the region”, and to find appropriate institutional frame in order to enhance the cooperation.

Acknowledging the great political, economic and social changes that have taken place in the region, and accepting an idea to cooperate in sustainable development, utilization, protection and management of water resources in the Sava River Basin, the basin countries accepted a challenge and managed to conclude the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB).

Course of negotiations was run pretty fast and the final text was harmonized and completed in the same year when initiated, which was special record within international frameworks. The result of that process is the FASRB – the unique international agreement, which integrated all aspects of the water resources management and established the (joint) International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) for the implementation of the FASRB, with legal status of an international organization.

After signing the FASRB on December 03, 2002, at Kranjska Gora (Slovenia), a remarkable amount of work was done by the Interim Sava Commission – temporary joint body established at the Conference of the Interested Parties of the Sava Basin Initiative, held on March 12, 2003, in organization of the Director SP Working Table II at Brussels. The Interim Sava Commission was formed to prepare all steps necessary for the establishment of the permanent Commission upon entry of the FASRB into force.

In the years which followed, all Parties ratified the FASRB, so it entered into force on December 29, 2004. The First Constitutional Session of the Sava Commission was held on June 27, 2005. The permanent Secretariat of the Sava Commission started to work on January 09, 2006. 
The Sava River Initiative Process
Activity / Event Date
Launch of the Initiative June 2001
Signing the Letter of Intent on Cooperation in the SRB November 29, 2001
Signing the FASRB December 3, 2002 (Kranjska Gora, Slovenia)
Establishment of the Interim Sava Commission March 12, 2003 (Brussels, Belgium)
Ratification of the FASRB December 29, 2004
Establishment of the ISRBC June 27-29, 2005 (Zagreb, Croatia)
Establishment of the ISRBC Secretariat January 9, 2006 (Zagreb, Croatia)