SARAJEVO, November 6 (FENA) – The Swedish Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) today hosted a conference called “Smart Growth for a New Climate Reality” in Sarajevo, at which Crown Princess Victoria gave a keynote speech.
The Crown Princess is visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina with Prince Daniel of Sweden and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Environment and Climate Isabella Lövin.
Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for Environment and Climate Isabella Lövin addressed the attendees and told reporters that the focus of the visit will be on environmental issues, innovation, entrepreneurship, youth participation, but also on important efforts that BiH is making on its path to European Union and implementation of needed reforms.
She noted that for years now, Sweden has been one of the largest bilateral donors of assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that in 2018 that assistance amounted to 18 million euros.
“The main goal of our development cooperation is to help BiH implement reforms for the purpose of EU membership, to promote democracy, economic development and environmental protection,” Lövin emphasized.
She was pleased to discuss new ways Sweden could help BiH to improve its air quality and also combat climate change.
“I want to emphasize the synergies between improving air quality and, consequently, public health, and mitigating the effects of climate change,” Lövin said.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Mirko Šarović said that they have had the opportunity to host the largest single donor of Bosnia and Herzegovina of all EU countries, the second or third largest donor globally, especially in the area of environmental protection, climate change and sustainable growth.
Šarović added that Sweden has continuously supported BiH over the last 20 years and its support, especially in the field of environmental protection and climate change, has amounted to more than 200 million euros.
At the annual level, this support in recent years amounts to 19 million euros and 20 million euros respectively, which is more than all budgets for projects at all levels in BiH.
“That is why today it was an exceptional honor and a special opportunity to thank the Kingdom of Sweden, its government and Crown Princess Victoria,” Šarović said, adding that this was also an opportunity to promote a new, even more successful period in cooperation.
We expressed our readiness for even greater challenges, especially when it comes to drafting strategic documents in the field of environmental protection, action plans, but also cleaner air in BiH and the hazardous waste management, he noted.
Minister Šarović pointed out that, thanks to the support of the Kingdom of Sweden and its institutions, the development agency – Sida, but also UNDP – Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a better and healthier place to live.
Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative to BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler said that what BiH needs, first of all, is the change in people’s behavior, which is certainly the most difficult thing.
“This is not about generating waste but the need to protect the rivers, to separate the waste, not to burn it. Because I see that many people here burn plastic, old tires and the like,” Ambassador Sattler said.
He added that the number one thing is changing people’s behavior, and the other thing is that a framework is needed to help people and give them guidance on how to behave because without that there can be no change.
“As for the EU, you have our support in these efforts, because the EU is focused on environmental protection and in a new package titled IPA III, 20 percent of the funds are earmarked for environmental protection,” said Ambassador Sattler, adding that the EU has a lot to offer on this topic.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in BiH Steliana Nedera said that UNDP believes it is necessary to set more ambitious targets for CO2 emissions, energy efficiency and greater resilience of local communities.
“We want to work with our partners in BiH on this topic to truly achieve these goals and to accelerate development and achieve better results by 2030,” said Nedera, adding that climate change is a very important topic in their work.
The 21st century climate reality calls for smarter approaches and practices for sustainable development.
The Swedish Government and UNDP are jointly implementing programs on environmental protection, biodiversity, water and oceans protection and climate change at a global level.