New programme launched to help decarbonize Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is embarking on a transformative journey towards a greener future. With support from SEI and Sweden, coal-dependent regions within the country are gearing up for sustainable transitions. This feature highlights the recent launch of the Sustainable Transition of Bosnia and Herzegovina programme and its potential to reshape the country’s environmental and economic landscape.

Johanna Lehtmets,Anneli Sundin/Published on 29 September 2023
Group photo of participants during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding during the Sarajevo Energy and Climate Week.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between SEI and four localities in BiH during the Sarajevo Energy and Climate Week.

Photo: Sulejman Omerbasic

This week marked a significant stride towards a sustainable and greener future for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). SEI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MOFTER), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and four local self-government units—Banovići, Breza, Ugljevik and Živinice—initiated the Sustainable Transition of Bosnia and Herzegovina programme (BiH SuTra).

BiH SuTra fosters a grassroots approach to develop transition plans in coal regions throughout the country. The main goal of the programme is to support BiH in its just transition towards a decarbonized and environmentally sustainable future, while aligning with other development priorities. It aims to empower stakeholders in identifying and implementing strategies to reduce emissions, promote innovative technologies and practices, and craft ambitious yet attainable policies.

The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between local governments and SEI marks a crucial milestone for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s coal regions, signifying a commitment to transitioning away from coal. This launch event was a highlight of Sarajevo Energy & Climate Week, which gathered key actors from BiH, the Western Balkan region and beyond.

Sweden remains committed to supporting BiH within the field of development and climate. As we launch the BiH SuTra programme, our focus is clear: driving efficient and effective environmental and sustainable transition policies, especially in coal regions. In partnership with SEI, we are committed to a cleaner, greener future for BiH. Together, we can pave the way for a sustainable transformation.

Birgitta Jansson, Counsellor, Development Cooperation Section at the Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo

Banovići, Breza, Ugljevik and Živinice, home to approximately 105 000 residents, will serve as pilot areas for the programme. They will serve as an inspiration and model for other coal regions in BiH.

Concrete milestones set for BiH SuTra involve adopting transition plans by September 2024, pinpointing specific actions based on these plans and supporting their implementation over the subsequent 18 months.

Institutions in BiH have a strategic orientation towards the sustainable and just transition approach that will be built on the principles of equality and equity. We believe that transition is both a challenge and an opportunity and that BiH can learn a lot from Sweden in this process.

Admir Softić, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We need everyone on board, and we need to accelerate our pace to meet the sustainable development goals, not only ensuring environmental sustainability but also the overall wellbeing of BiH citizens. BiH SuTra is in a unique position to capture all aspects of this energy transition and take bold actions in BiH, considering the important conditions required to achieve such a transition”

Robert Watt, SEI Engagement Director.

Prior to signing the MoU, all partner municipalities expressed commitment and enthusiasm toward the collective goal of setting a positive transition example. They shared optimism about improving both environmental and social conditions while ensuring the financial well-being of their municipalities. Through the programme’s implementation, these municipalities hope to pioneer a just and sustainable transition in Bosnia and Herzegovina, anticipating transformative results.

Funded by Sweden and implemented by SEI, the BiH SuTra programme builds upon previous successful collaborations. Supported by the Embassy of Sweden in BiH, SEI recently played a pivotal role in developing BiH’s first country-wide Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (BiH ESAP 2030+). After three years of preparation, the Environmental Strategy is undergoing the adoption process at the state level in BiH.

The launch event at Sarajevo Energy & Climate Week

Rob Watt speaking at SECW event in Sarajevo

Robert Watt, SEI Engagement Director, speaks at the launch event.

Photo: Sulejman Omerbasic.

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