The last quarter of 2020 was full of activities on BiH ESAP 2030+ project. More than 400 participants gathered online and provided their valuable contribution to the development of Environmental Strategy and Action Plan of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As one of the local partners, CENER 21 invested a lot of effort in establishing 28 ESAP thematic Working groups as well as in organizing and facilitating 56 meetings held so far.

Shortly after establishing 28 thematic Working groups in late summer 2020, BiH ESAP 2030+ team started with preparations for the First round of Working group meetings. The initial plan was to organize physical meetings, but since the COVID-19 restriction measures remained in force by autumn 2020, the team decided to use online platforms to facilitate meetings and discussions for ESAP development.

“In challenging times like this, in order to deliver what we all agreed to deliver, we needed to adapt and think creatively. Instead of workshops and meetings occurring over several days, we are organizing shorter, more frequent online meetings, which are way more environmentally friendly and provide opportunities for more free flows in communication.” – Bernardas Padegimas, Project Manager (Stockholm Environment Institute)

BiH ESAP 2030+ thematic working groups make one of the main pillars of the project, with 442 members involved in seven thematic groups (Water; Waste; Biodiversity and Nature Conservation; Air quality, climate change and energy; Chemical safety and Noise; Resource management; Environmental management), per each jurisdiction level in BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Brčko district BiH). The main role of Working Groups it to actively participate in drafting the ESAP Action Plan and provide their valuable contribution to the process.

The project’s approach is participatory which means that the development of BiH ESAP 2030+ includes all relevant stakeholders – official government institutions, business sector, civil society organizations, environment expert community in BiH as well as the general public. Hence, the BiH ESAP 2030+Working group members include:

  • 206 nominated members from official government institutions;
  • 69 nominated members from academia;
  • 67 nominated members from the public sector;
  • 54 nominated members from the business sector and
  • 46 nominated members from the CSO sector.

The general public is provided with the opportunity to directly contribute to developing of Environmental Strategy and Action plan, through E-consultation, which will be held in three cycles during the project.

The first round of Working group meetings was held in late September, 2020 for BiH and Federation of BiH level, while meeting for Republika Srpska and Brčko district level were held in October, 2020. The meeting gathered 229 participants, who joined the online meeting from across Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the active work of working groups, participants identified key challenges for the seven ESAP thematic areas, all forming a part of the future environmental strategy and action plan.

“The BiH ESAP 2030+ project is very important for the harmonization of the legal and institutional framework of BiH with EU regulations in the field of environment and in that way improves environmental conditions in BiH, Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Brčko district BiH.” – Dr Mehmed Cero, Assistant Minister in the Sector for Environment at the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

The second round of online Working group meetings for all jurisdiction levels were held in late October and November 2020. During these meetings, participants from the levels of BiH, FBiH, RS and BD BiH finalized the identification of legal, technical and institutional challenges and objectives for each of the seven ESAP thematic areas.

BiH ESAP 2030+ in numbers

Conducting online meetings with such a large number of participants was quite challenging and required additional follow-up and support. However, all 56 meetings ran smoothly with meaningful discussions and exchanges. Despite the unfavorable conditions, we have managed to keep a high level of participation using the alternative approach of online meetings and online collaboration tools.

The next, third round of working group meetings, is planned for the first quarter of 2021. Working groups will reconvene and discuss qualitative or quantitative information about the current situation and will aim at setting targets for the next 10 years for every thematic area.

The BiH ESAP 2030+ project is as an adequate response of the Swedish Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina to a request made by the authorities at the state level, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), the Republika Srpska (RS), and the Brčko District (BD) to support the development of their environmental strategies. The BiH ESAP will be a document that includes environmental strategies and action plans for the FBiH, RS and BD as well as BiH level actions. The development of BiH ESAP 2030+ is entrusted to the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) from Sweden, who will provide a critical tool for relevant authorities to reach environmental sustainability and improved citizen health and well-being for current and future generations across the country.

More information on BiH ESAP 2030+ implementation activities is available on project’s website and official Facebook page.