Presentation: „To the EU via the Environment“

Second presentation, in a number of presentations organized by the Foreign Policy Initiative BH (FPI BH) and with the support of the Open Society Fund, of the analysis which was previously made by FPI BH, was held on February 24th 2012 in Sarajevo, with the topic “To the EU via the Environment”.

This analysis answers the question of what the environment is to us and it reminds us of our obligations towards the EU. The approximation and implementation of the Acquis Communautaire lists as the most important problem the absence of a state-level body which would deal with matters related to environmental protection. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in Europe which does not have a state-level ministry or agency for environmental protection. The non-implementation of the legislation in the entities is stressed, and it is stated that BiH suffers as a result of its limited administrative capacities, and that it has insufficient funds to invest in the environment.

With that goal in mind, Bosnia and Herzegovina must take the following steps:

• Adoption of state-level environmental protection laws in order to create a framework for unified environmental protection in the whole country;

• Establishment of a state-level environmental protection agency tasked with surveying the state of the environment in BiH, monitoring and gathering of data to be processed and analysed and proposing measures to be taken. The agency would also deal with the implementation of international treaties, projects and programmes and fulfilment of other environmental obligations of BiH;

• Strengthening of the administrative capacities of the institutions dealing with the environment;

• Harmonisation with the EU environmental legislation (with the focus primarily on waste management, preservation of air and water quality, nature protection, comprehensive pollution prevention and control, but also on improving the harmonisation of the Acquis as regards the implementation of the national environmental strategy and improving the mechanisms of environmental protection co-financing);

• Modernisation of curricula as regards environmental protection issues;

• Promotion of scientific and research work and its linkage with the strategic goals of environmental protection policies.

The presentation was attended by the representatives from the government and the NGO sectors in BiH primarily dealing with environment or protection of environment the Association EKO Akcija from Sarajevo, PZ Hodbina from Mostar, Centres for civil initiatives, Center for environmentally sustainable development from Sarajevo, „Vermont“ from Brčko, Faculty of Forestry Sarajevo, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from Sarajevo, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and FBiH Environment Protection Fund, etc.

Among other things, it was concluded at the end of the presentation, that it is necessary to define concrete steps with the goal of resolving and affirming the issues of environment, to diagnose problems in environment and environmental policy and to continue working on development of platform for dialogue between the government sector and the NGOs as well as affirm the public interest in regard to environment protection.