Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is famous for its natural beauty, pristine forests, blue rivers and picturesque lakes that are home to some of the most diverse collections of plants and animals in Europe.

Watch this short film to get a glimpse of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stunning scenery and natural treasures worth protecting.

Bosnia and Herzegovina soon to have its first-ever environmental strategy

“I really think we all have the right to breathe clean air and live in a healthy and beautiful environment. Solutions exist, they are around us. And don’t forget that change starts from ourselves.” Mirela Lakovic, BiH artist, featured in the film.

After two years of development, BiH is on track to getting its first-ever national environmental strategy. The document will be a critical tool for the relevant authorities in BiH to improve the environment, as well as the health and well-being of the country’s population. SEI has supported BiH throughout this time in collaboratively developing the environmental strategy.

The film raises the question of whether we are prepared to take responsibility for the environmental problems that we are creating. “Can the citizens of BiH become real allies of nature?” the film asks. It features well-known figures in BiH who speak about the environmental problems that humans have contributed to. These “protagonists” of the film are featured to inspire viewers to get to know more about the environment, how to protect it and how to influence actions taken in their own neighbourhoods or in politics.

“The film has a classical narrative structure, with the first segment making viewers aware of the beautiful landscapes and natural gems of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the second segment features well-known personalities pointing out the environmental problems Bosnia and Herzegovina faces, which is meant to engage people emotionally,” explained Anneli Sundin, lead communications officer in the BiH Enviromental Strategy and Action Plan 2030+ (BiH ESAP 2030+) project at SEI. “In the third and last segment, we get to listen to a conversation and understand that the new environmental strategy, with focus on circular economy and decarbonization, is presented as a solution to deal with these problems.”.

“It is time for BiH to move to a circular economy, which changes its take-make-dispose approach with a resource reuse approach,” Lana Pudar, elite BiH swimmer, protagonist in film

Public consultations in full swing

The development has followed a participatory approach, meaning it has included all relevant institutions, the general public and private sector and civil society organizations, as well as the environmental expert community in BiH. The next step is for it to be made available to BiH citizens. This represents a great opportunity for those interested in the environment to provide their feedback on the environmental policy agenda for the next decade in BiH. Information about the public consultations is available on the project website.

The film has been made available in BiH media at the same time the public consultations began as a way to inspire the public to engage in the process. ”Film is the medium we decided to use to engage and motivate people to take action, to be more curious about the world around them and demand more from decision makers,” said Bernardas Padegimas, project manager at SEI,  leading the BiH ESAP 2030+ project. “We hope to screen this film and talk about the environment in different contexts in BiH, with schoolchildren, at a film festival and online.”

The process of developing this document has also promoted mutual respect and equality in terms of gender, nationality and religion, irrespective of living and income. “It is crucial to acknowledge that the gender, social equity and poverty-lens goes beyond gender equality, meaning that it incorporates other social aspects that are equally relevant to environmental policy, such as age, ethnicity, living location, and (dis)ability,” said Claudia Strambo, SEI Research Fellow in the BiH ESAP 2030+ project.

More insights into how environmental issues and social aspects are interlinked and how it has been addressed during the development process can be found in the series of publications published during the project period can be found here.

“If we manage to put environmental transition on a high level of the political agenda, we can base BiH’s development on environmental protection: from job creation to responding to the coronavirus pandemic, energy crisis or any other challenge.” Sanjin Avdic, Project Coordinator of the BiH ESAP 2030+ project.