This week a ministerial delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina, comprised of institutions that work within the framework of environmental protection in the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska, Brčko district, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, came to visit Stockholm. The project team organized the fifth meeting of the BiH ESAP 2030+ Steering Board as a part of this working mission. As the finalization of the Environmental Strategy is approaching, the draft documents for the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska, and Brčko district BiH are now in the process of public review/consultations. 

Photo: Group photo of representatives of BiH delegation, Embassy of Sweden in BiH, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Enova.

In one of the cleanest metropolises in the world, Stockholm, the Ministers of environment for the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska, the Head of the Spatial Planning Department of the Brčko District Government, and the representatives of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MoFTER BiH) met with representatives of Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the meeting of the BiH ESAP 2030+ Steering Board.

BiH ESAP 2030+ Steering Board meeting successfully concluded

Måns Nilson, SEI’s executive director, welcomed the delegation from BiH and emphasized that SEI is committed to supporting the sustainable development of BiH and in Western Balkans in the long run. He congratulated the project holders on their work and the great results they have achieved so far.

Photo: Minister Đapo with the Federal ministry of environment and tourism representatives

Minister Edita Đapo, Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, emphasized the importance of the Strategy and commented on the efforts made over two years by more than 600 participants from the public, private, academic, and non-governmental sectors. Public review of the Federal Environmental Strategy is currently open by the end of June, and adoption of the document is expected in early September.

Photo: Minister Golić together with the representatives of the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republika Srpska

Minister Srebrenka Golić, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republika Srpska, also commented on the process: “Drafting the Strategy was very challenging but expressed her satisfaction with the fact that Sweden provided its support to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s candidacy for EU membership in this way”. In the context of climate change, waste management, and other areas of environmental protection, she deems that Bosnia and Herzegovina has room to learn from good practices applied in Sweden, but the mentality in society needs to change and be more focused on development and future. The public review of the Environmental Strategy in Republika Srpska will last until mid-August, and a public hearing will be held on July 19, 2022.

Photo: Representatives of the Brčko District Government

Edin Zaimović, Head of the Department for Spatial Planning and Property Affairs of the Brčko District Government, thanked all stakeholders for their dedicated approach and informed those present that the public review of Environmental Strategy in the Brčko district is scheduled for July 6, 2022.

Photo: MoFTER representatives during the meeting

Mirza Hujić, Assistant Minister to the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Staša Košarac (MoFTER BiH) said that Strategy is a comprehensive document resulting from the work of a large number of participants and expressed his hope for continued support from Sweden in the implementation of the document. Borislav Bojić, Advisor to the Minister Staša Košarac (MoFTER BiH), stated that the participatory approach applied in the development of the Strategy has been crucial and this Environmental Strategy will benefit to citizens and future generations the most.

Eva Gibson Smedberg, Head of the Development Cooperation Department of the Embassy of Sweden in BiH, expressed her enthusiasm for the results achieved. She stressed: “This project can be a good example of preparing a strategy in a complex policy environment such as the one in BiH”. She reaffirmed Sweden’s intention to support BiH in achieving sustainable development in the future. Renata Abduzaimović, Program Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized the importance of the Strategy for concrete progress of BiH in the field of environmental protection, and thus for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress towards EU membership. The Project manager, Bernardas Padegimas, commented on the previous two years working on this important project for the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying: “There is a lot of wealth in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Meeting at Sida headquarters

Photo: Meeting in Sida’s premises

After the successful meeting of the BiH ESAP 2030+ Steering Board, the delegation visited the premises of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to discuss the final steps and conclusions on the project of drafting the Environmental Strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2022-2032. The delegation was welcomed by Marie Ottosson, Deputy Director-General of Sida, who expressed satisfaction with the efforts made so far and said that she would continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in further activities.

New experiences and knowledge exchange in Hammarby Sjöstadsverk

Photo: Presenting the activities of Hammarby Sjöstadsverk.

In addition to the meetings, the BiH delegation had the opportunity to visit one of the world’s leading facilities for research and development in water treatment technology – Hammarby Sjöstadsverk. Attendees were introduced to Smart City Sweden (a platform for sustainable city solutions) as well as Swedish urban planning methods, including waste, wastewater, and energy infrastructure. In addition, circularity in smart cities was discussed, as well as its potential advantages and disadvantages. The delegates had many questions and left the visit with a lot of inspiration to bring back to BiH. You can access Smart City Sweden’s virtual tours via this link, including Hammarby Sjöstadsverk.

End of the working mission and next steps

The working mission was successfully concluded with a strong motivation to work together in the protection of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s natural wealth and to monitor the developed countries that are leaders in this field.

The ministers of environment for the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska, the Head of the Spatial Planning Department of the Brčko District Government, and representatives of the MoFTER BiH thanked taxpayers and Sweden and said that without their support they would not have achieved such success in creating a comprehensive Environmental Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the following period, a series of activities will follow for the BiH ESAP 2030+ project to be successfully completed. As mentioned earlier, public consultation activities are underway (for draft Strategies and SEA). Upon completion of this process, the adoption of the final text of the Strategy for the Federation of BiH, the Republika Srpska, and the Brčko District BiH, as well as the SEA, is expected. These documents will be an integral part of the BiH Environmental Strategy in the final version.

About the project

The BiH ESAP 2030+ project is an appropriate response from the Swedish Embassy in BiH to a request for assistance in developing an environmental strategy for BiH, with strategies for all four jurisdictions, sent to this embassy by competent authorities at BiH, Federation of BiH (FBiH), Republika Srpska (RS) and Brčko District of BiH (BD BiH).

The preparation of ESAP BiH 2030+ is entrusted to the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and by adopting this document, the relevant institutions will receive a key instrument for achieving environmental sustainability and improving the health and well-being of current and future generations of citizens throughout BiH.

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