SARAJEVO, October 29 (FENA) – The European Union Ambassador to BiH Johann Sattler opened today in Sarajevo a conference on the environment “Live healthy, breathe clean”, which presented the EU Green Deal and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, as well as their importance for BiH.
The conference, says Sattler, is being held at a time when the particulate index registered in the air is 155, which is three times more than the maximum allowed in the European Union.
“These figures have their consequences, and studies have shown that precisely because of poor quality air or pollution in BiH, there are 3,300 premature deaths a year,” said Sattler.
The European Union has presented the Green Deal, and one of the goals is for Europe to be the first continent in the world to be completely carbon-neutral by 2050, that is, not to produce more CO2 emissions than it could be absorbed.
A significant part of the funds from the Economic-Investment Plan, worth more than nine billion euros, will be earmarked for clean energy sources.
In order to achieve the goals, Sattler said that a strong engagement of local authorities is needed, including mayors, municipal mayors and all departmental ministries, especially at the state level.
Chairman of the Presidency of BiH, Šefik Džaferović, addressed the participants of the conference via video message, stating that BiH will take part in the EU Green Deal and that the task is to overcome disturbances in the environment brought by industrialization.
“The impact of industry and transportation dependent on coal and fossil fuels has led to enormous pollution and thus negative phenomena in our environment. The red light was turned on a long time ago now is the time for green action. The entire social community in BiH with the authorities must show maximum commitment when it comes to tackling climate change,” said Džaferović.
With regard to meeting the goals of the Green Deal, he pointed out that the institutions must work rapidly to meet the obligations set out in the European Commission’s reports on environmental protection.
“A strategically harmonized approach is needed to cover environmental protection measures. In that sense, I welcome the conclusion of the FBiH Parliament on the ban on the construction of hydropower plants,” Džaferović added.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Staša Košarac believes that we in BiH do not have sufficiently developed environmental awareness, and this is evidenced by surveys of citizens that they do not have this type of perception.
“We must work together and our obligation is to provide the best possible living conditions for every person. The mission of institutions at all levels is to provide the highest quality environmental standard for the life of every human being. We have to do that because of the citizens and not because of Sattler and the EU,” Košarac pointed out.
He is encouraged by the fact that in the field of environmental protection there is a very good inter-entity cooperation of the competent ministries.
“I have asked the customs policy sector to define a model of how and in what way we can introduce customs subsidies for the import of electricity. Such a decision cannot be made by the Ministry alone. We will need the opinion of the competent financial institutions in BiH, but I think it would be a good step to show that we want to change our awareness and adopt some new policies, as well as to take care of the environment,” added Košarac.
A representative of the Regional Cooperation Council, Radovan Nikčević, presented the Declaration on the Green Agenda at the conference. He says that this is a document that has been in draft procedure for several months and is expected to be adopted at the Summit within the Berlin Process, which will be held on November 10 in Sofia.
The declaration contains five basic components: decarbonization, circular economy, fight against pollution, development of sustainable agriculture, and protection of nature and biodiversity.
The conference was organized by the EU Office in BiH, with the support of the Regional Cooperation Council and the Swedish Embassy in BiH.