Strengthening environmental policy in BiH with a gender equality, social equity and poverty reduction approach
Authors: Claudia Strambo, Lisa Segnestam, Belma Jahović
This policy report explores the interactions between the environment and issues related to gender equality, social equity and poverty (GESEP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). It identifies opportunities for the further mainstreaming of GESEP issues into the BiH Environmental Strategy and Action Plan 2030+ (BiH ESAP 2030+) and future environmental policy in the country. It first describes existing multidimensional inequality and poverty in the BiH context. The report then explains how environmental and GESEP challenges are interlinked, drawing upon examples from the BiH context. Lastly, it discusses the key policy implications of the interactions between environmental and GESEP issues in BiH.
● Adopting a gender equality, social equity and poverty reduction (GESEP) perspective in environmental policy enables more inclusive and effective policymaking.
● In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), certain population subgroups – such as the elderly, the sick, children, pregnant women, and Roma communities – are especially vulnerable to pollution and environmental hazards because of increased sensitivity, a greater likelihood of exposure and reduced resilience.
● Social norms influence access to and control over natural resources. In BiH, where local customs and traditions often privilege male land ownership, men own approximately 70% of land and 97% of private forests.
● Disadvantaged population groups may have knowledge and expertise that could help address
environmental issues. For instance, given their expertise of forest resources, elderly women inrural areas could play a key role regarding the sustainable use of non-wood forest products in BiH.
● Environmental policy itself can also have a wider impact on certain groups in society; for instance, imposing new vehicle standards or new energy taxes may affect low-income households disproportionally.
● Reversely, some environmental measures may also improve social equity. For instance, improving energy efficiency in social housing contributes to reduced energy poverty and decreased cost burden of marginalized households.
● Assessing the distributional impacts of new environmental policies and making opportunities associated with them available to disadvantaged groups is also an essential step towards integrating GESEP considerations into environmental policy.