UN Environment presented IRIS software

United Nations Environment seized the initiative for organization of the workshop for innovative program tools - IRIS

On 8th November 2016 in UN House in Sarajevo, UN Environment has organized a workshop for demonstration and hands on training for Indicator Reporting Information System (IRIS), under the scope of the Project “Capacity development for the integration of global environmental commitments into national policies and development decision making in Bosnia and Herzegovina”(CCCD).

Participants, comprised of governments’ representatives and project partners included in the environment reporting in BiH, were provided with the IRIS software training – a tool for data collection and indicator creation for national focal points reporting towards international conventions in the area of environment. IRIS software is the possible solution for establishment of the Environmental Management Information System – EMIS, as one of the core objectives of the CCCD Project.

IRIS software was developed by UN Environment, and it includes public database - Shared Knowledge Database (SKB) which enables public access to the shared IRIS data and to earlier presented tool - UNEP Live Platform for global capacities knowledge sharing.

Values, functionalities and IRIS functioning methods were presented at the first part of the workshop, ensued by the hands-on training, providing the participants with the opportunity to test the software with the data entry, indicator creation and indicator based reports creation. In the following weeks, UN Environment will continue with the IRIS software testing providing opportunity for more partners and representatives of relevant institutions to acquire knowledge on the software functionalities.

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The workshops was an excellent opportunity for joint activity of UN Environment, project stakeholders and governments representatives, and shall bestow to the enhancement of cooperation aimed at fulfilment of international obligations, experience and knowledge sharing for innovative environment reporting tool in BiH. 

UNEP held the Inception meeting for promotion of the new project for protected areas

On the 05 October 2016, at Bjelašnica, UNEP has organized the Inception meeting of the new project “Achieving Biodiversity Conservation through Creation, Effective Management and Spatial Designation of Protected Areas and Capacity Building”, funded by the Global Environment Facility and will be implemented by UN Environment in joint cooperation with project partners and wide network of the project stakeholders.

Executive partners of the project, in accordance with their competences and responsibilities in the area of nature protection, are the Ministry for Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska and the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

The objective of this project is to support expansion of national protected areas system and enabling capacity conditions for effective management and mainstreaming biodiversity into production landscape. Within the 3 years, this project is expected to increase national protected area network in the country and management effectiveness and capacity as a tool for biodiversity conservation and protection of threatened species and habitats, to mainstream biodiversity conservation into national land use planning.

This meeting brought together representatives of all relevant governmental institutions, public and scientific institutions as well as non-governmental organizations. The first part of the meeting included introductory statements from the high level representatives:

‐          Mrs. Edita Djapo, Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism,

‐          Mr. Savo Krunić, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

‐          Mr. Mehmed Cero, CBD Focal Point and Assistant Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism,

‐          Mrs. Svjetlana Radusin, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska

‐          Mr. Čedomir Lukić, Minister, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Environment Protection of the Kanton Sarajevo

‐          Mr. S. Ersin Esen – Task Manager, UN Environment  Ecosystems Division

The second part of the meeting included detailed presentation of the project, its baseline, work plan, key deliverables, implementation arrangements, project supervision to the participants and an overview of the Global Environment Facility requirements and procedures followed by very informative and productive discussion.

Participants agreed that Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the richest countries in Europe, in terms of biological diversity, but it has very small percentage of protected areas.  With the said project, United Nations Environment and project stakeholders will join forces for the development and improvement of the protected areas network and for the reconfigured protected areas system, designed for protection of biological diversity under the effective management regime that corresponds to the needs of the local communities.

Presentations are available here


EnviroDay 2016

For the second year in a row, the United Nations Environment Programme and Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to dedicate one day of the Festival’s program to the environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This day is known as EnviroDay.

This year’s EnviroDay will voice the issue of poor air quality and climate change issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina through an interactive series of public and high-level events advocating a behavioral change – therefore implementing the Climate Agreement on the ground.

According to the World Health Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina is losing 21.5% of its GDP (US$ 7228 millions) annually due to heavy air pollution. The European Environment Agency (EEA) in its report for 2015 estimated that over 44,000 years of life are lost in Bosnia and Herzegovina each year due to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide or ozone pollution.

The main sources of poor air quality and high GHG emissions in Sarajevo are individual household stoves and local heating that use coal, wood charcoal, heavy fuel oil, then traffic, high heat losses in residential sector, industrial energy of high intensity, and inappropriate treatment of the issue of air pollution in the process of developing and implementing local spatial and urban plans.

The mission of EnviroDay this year is to inform and empower citizens to take effective action in improving air quality by taking individual action aimed at the main sources of air pollution, and mobilize national interest towards meaningful policy responses to lower air pollution.

World Environment Day, 2016

“You breath what you burn”


Through the observance of World Environment Day, United Nations seek to find ways to mobilize everyone to be aware not only of the responsibilities they have, but also their power and ability to become agents of change for much needed support to sustainable and equitable development and preservation of environment and human wellbeing.  

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as the voice for environment in the United Nations system, this year will endeavour to place a spotlight and advocate for improvements in one of the most important areas of environment that may bring forth direct effects on wellbeing of people around the world– the air quality.

In the winter months 2015/2016 four cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zenica, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Tuzla) entered the WHO’s list of the most polluted cities in Europe, where the citizens became witnesses clean air in this country and globally has become an apparent luxury.

Several UN agencies are actively working on the issue of Energy Sustainability/Energy Efficiency/Clean Air/ Health aspects.

In the Framework of a UNEP/GEF project 2 new air quality stations were installed in Prijedor and Gorazde and 2 existing stations (in Banja Luka and in Ivan Sedlo) have been upgraded. A new website www.hidrometeo.ba allows citizens to access in real time data of air quality stations all over BiH.

UNEP and several partners have joined forces on promotion of modern, energy-efficient, climate-resilient and affordable district energy systems in cities of Banja Luka and Sarajevo in order to tackle the emerging issue of  air pollution. These two cities are now part of the global District Energy in Cities Initiative hosted by UNEP, where the district heating systems in Banja Luka and Sarajevo will experience modernization and rehabilitation of their heating networks..

The City of Banja Luka and the Canton of Sarajevo have identified the topic of district heating as a key entry point for achieving better air quality and sustainable development for their citizens.

During the 2016 Sarajevo Film Festival, at EnviroDay (the day dedicated to environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina) that will take place on August 19 2016, we will bring to your attention all the action that was taken in order to facilitate improvements to this important issue of air pollution.

Each and one of us can take the action that makes a difference as only if we work together we can make a difference.

We urge all citizens and institutions of BiH to act, to join us in determination to achieve one of the key Sustainable Development Goals - improvement of the air quality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is no more time to lose!

Conference for promotion of the EU macro-regional strategies in the Western Balkans


Sarajevo, 14 April 2016. - UNEP, European Commission (EC) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) hosted and co-organized the Conference aimed at promoting the EU macro-regional strategies in the Western Balkans, with specific focus on the environmental issues, on 14 April 2016 at the UN House in Sarajevo.

The overall purpose of the event was promotion and presentation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR).These strategies provide innovative cooperation possibilities and offer opportunities for alignment of funding with cohesion policy instruments and other potential sources for the Western Balkan countries.

The programmes and projects of the strategies, presented at the conference, with an accent on priority areas, partner activities and enhancement of cooperation at the local, regional, state and Transboundary levels, provided an exceptional opportunity to share experiences for implementation of programmes and to commence implementation of ideas for active performances of national governments and organizations operating in the field of environmental protection.

The event was an efficient and structured first step in addressing the possibilities and other opportunities to the stakeholders, and was useful for assessing needs for an improved participatory engagement of the Western Balkan countries in the EU macro-regional strategies.  

Promoting the EU macro-regional strategies in the Western Balkans Conference_Overview

UNEP delivers new climate and air quality monitoring stations for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 19 January 2016 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has opened two new air monitoring stations in Bosnia Herzegovina and brought two existing ones back to full function, significantly helping the country monitor climate and air quality in line with national and EU law and prevent further illnesses and deaths from outdoor pollution.

Thanks to the new and refurbished stations, accurate data will be available to monitor climate changes and announce pollution alerts to the general public, as well as to measure the impact of policy measures to improve air quality.

Bosnia and Herzegovina – where air pollution is estimated to have caused over 3500 premature deaths in 2014 - also now moves closer to being in line with EU legislation after signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the bloc in last year.

The move to boost air quality monitoring was announced at the country’s Parliamentary Assembly today in an event organised by UNEP together with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

“These new devices form part of the first comprehensive network of air quality monitoring stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and offer a real example of how human health and environment are intrinsically linked,” said Jan Dusik, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, welcoming the launch of new and refurbished stations. “In complement with policy measures, they can save lives lost to the silent killer of air pollution,” he underlined.

The launch is part of an overall UNEP/Global Environment Fund project worth US$ 1,438,000 grant to enhance data collection and reporting on the environment for three UN Conventions Bosnia and Herzegovina is signatory to.

The two new monitoring stations are located in the cities of Prijedor and Goražde. The locations were chosen by the country’s Federal Hydro-meteorological Institute and the Republic Hydro-meteorological Service of the Republika Srpska so as to provide continuous  monitoring in both urban and sub-urban environments. In Prijedor, the safe threshold for solid particles has been exceeded 19 times since 8 December 2015.

The restored stations are located in Ivan Sedlo and Banja Luka. In the latter town, the upper safe limit of solid particles (PM10) was exceeded in all but one days of November 2015, with winter being the most common time for this to occur.  

A 2015 report by the European Environment Agency estimated that over 44000 years of life are lost in Bosnia and Herzegovina each year due to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide or ozone pollution.

Being in a basin amid mountains, Sarajevo is prone to heavy fog that converts into smog when mixed with high pollution levels. During November and December 2015, a stable anticyclone combined with weak wind meant that pollutants were kept in the air breathed by the local population. Schools are even reported to have been forced to shut early ahead of their winter break due to the pollution.

Picture 1: Air Quality Monitoring Station Prijedor

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Picture 2 and Picture 3: Air Quality Monitrong Station Goražde

COP 21

Declaring climate change as a defining issue of our time, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), that took place in New York on 7 and 8 December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told top government officials that the opportunity "to define our own destiny" truly exists.

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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speech at the COP21 as follows:

"I thank you for inviting me to brief you today. 

Seventy years ago, the United Nations was created from the ashes of the Second World War.   

Seven decades later, in Paris, nations have united in the face of another threat – the threat to life as we know it due to a rapidly warming planet.   

Governments have ushered in a new era of global cooperation on climate change -- one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. 

In doing so, they have significantly advanced efforts to uphold our Charter mandate to "save succeeding generations". 

The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the planet, and for multilateralism. 

For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change. 

Together, the countries of the world have agreed that, in minimizing risks of climate change, the national interest is best served by pursuing the common good. 

I believe it is an example we could gainfully follow across the political agenda. 

I would like to congratulate President Hollande and COP21 President, Minister Laurent Fabius, for bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion. 

They stayed committed to the conference despite the tragic events of November 13 in Paris. 

And I would like to also thank, most importantly, Mr. President [Mogens Lykketoft] yourself, you have been to the meeting twice in two weeks and always with us. Thank you very much for your leadership. 

I would also like to thank UNFCCC Executive-Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and her staff, for their outstanding contribution to this historic success. 

And I would like to thank Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, for his support and leadership. 

The victory in Paris caps a remarkable year. 

From the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, from the historic Sustainable Development Summit in New York to the historic climate conference in Paris, this has been a year in which the UN has proven its ability to deliver hope and healing to the world. 

Member States have demonstrated that acting together they can achieve something no one nation could achieve alone. 

Since my first days in office, I have called climate change the defining challenge of our time. 

That is why I have made it a top priority of my tenure. 

I have spoken with nearly every world leader about the threat climate change poses to our economies, our security and our very survival. 

I have visited every continent and met communities living on the climate front-lines. 

I have been moved by suffering and inspired by the solutions that will make our world safer and more prosperous. 

From Bali to Poznan to Copenhagen, Cancun to Durban to Doha, from Warsaw to Lima to Paris, I have participated in every United Nations climate conference. 

The three Climate Summits I convened mobilized political will and catalyzed innovative action by governments, business and civil society. 

The Action Agenda, along with the commitments made at last year’s Climate Summit, show that the answers are there. 

The private sector is already investing increasingly in a low-emissions future. 

The solutions are increasingly affordable and available, and many more are poised to come, especially after the success of Paris. 

The Paris agreement delivered on all the key points I called for. 

Markets now have the clear signal they need to scale up investments that will generate low-emissions, climate-resilient development. 

All countries have agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees 

This is especially important for the nations of Africa, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. 

In Paris, countries agreed on a long-term goal to cap global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century. 

One hundred and eighty-eight countries have now submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which show what they are prepared to do to reduce emissions and build climate resilience. 

Currently, these national targets have already significantly bent the emissions curve downwards. 

But, collectively, they still leave us with an unacceptably dangerous 3 degrees Celsius temperature rise. 

That is why countries in Paris pledged that they will review their national climate plans every five years, beginning in 2018. 

This will allow them to increase ambition in line with what science demands.   
The Paris Agreement also ensures sufficient, balanced adaptation and mitigation support for developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. 

And it will help to scale up global efforts to address and minimize loss and damage from climate change. 

Developed countries have agreed to lead in mobilizing finance and to scale up technology support and capacity building. 

Developing countries have assumed increasing responsibility to address climate change in line with their capabilities. 

Governments have also agreed to binding, robust, transparent rules of the road to ensure that all countries do what they have said they would do. 

Working with a spirit of compromise and constructive agreement, Governments in Paris have forged an ambitious, credible, flexible and durable agreement rooted in the principle of solidarity. 

In acknowledging this historic achievement, I would be remiss if I did not recognize, too, the leadership and vision of the business community and civil society.   

They have highlighted both the stakes and the solutions. 

I salute them for their outstanding display of climate citizenship. 

Now, with the Paris Agreement in place, our thoughts must immediately turn to implementation. 

By addressing climate change we are advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The Paris Agreement has positive implications for all the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We are poised to enter a new era of opportunity. 

As Governments, business and civil society begin the mammoth project of tackling climate change and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations will assist Member States and society at large at every stage. 

As a first step in implementing the Paris Agreement, I will convene, as requested by the Agreement and by the Convention, a high-level signing ceremony here in New York, on 22 April next year.   

I will invite world leaders to come to help keep and increase momentum. 

By working together, we can achieve our shared objective to end poverty, strengthen peace, and ensure a life of dignity and opportunity for all. 

Thank you."