5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement
A high-level online interactive program "Climate Action Cannot Wait in Bosnia and Herzegovina" was held in Sarajevo today. The event was organized by the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Sweden, and Chile, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska, and the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Representatives of the UN, UNDP and embassies of partner countries emphasized that the event is being organized in light of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and that there is no time to wait when it comes to meeting its set targets. Ingrid Macdonald, UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reminded everyone of the recent statement of the UN Secretary-General that humanity is in a war against nature and that nature is retaliating stronger and stronger, which is why the decisive task of this generation is to achieve peace with nature. She emphasized that we are at a turning point and that it is of crucial importance that we build a future, which is resistant to climate challenges while the recovery from COVID-19 takes place.
Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in BiH, said that in 2019, more than a 100 countries, including BiH, began to revise their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that in the next five years the reduction of harmful gas emissions will be treated as an urgent environmental question. Nedera also pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the support of UNDP in activities aimed at decarbonization and achieving other goals of the Paris Agreement.
Matt Field, British Ambassador to BiH, assessed the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic as a wave compared to the tsunami of climate change, and cited his country as an example of determination to fight climate change, having in mind they plan to reduce emissions by 68 percent by 2030. Christine Toudic, French Ambassador to BiH, pointed out that France was among the initiators of global action against climate change and that it is yielding results. She added that unfortunately, many countries are not meeting their targets and it is necessary to make additional efforts to raise awareness, but also to involve other countries to create impact.
Nicola Minasi, Italian Ambassador to BiH, also assessed the fight against climate change as the greatest challenge facing humanity and emphasized that the contribution of youth is vital. This is why the next UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held in November 2021 in Glasgow, will be preceded by a conference in Milan, where youth from all over the world will provide their ideas for climate action.
Johanna Stromquist, Swedish Ambassador to BiH, warned that the well-being and happiness of humanity will be endangered if the way of life is not changed and the dependence on fossil fuels is not eliminated. She expressed her joy with the fact that the European Union, through the Green Agenda, has extended its fight against climate change to the Western Balkans as well.
Turning commitments into actions
Mirza Hujic, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, said that BiH regularly fulfills its commitments regarding the fight against climate change, that there is a consensus regarding the need to act on this issue, and that it is expected that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be among the countries that have achieved carbon neutrality by 2050. Srebrenka Golic, Minister of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska, and Focal Point for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), discussed the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement, and highlighted the efforts done to access financial mechanisms for realization of activities which aim to mitigate and adapt to the negative effects of climate change, and are increasingly affecting life in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The representatives of the cities of Doboj and Zenica, local communities that had severe experiences with the consequences of climate change during the devastating floods of 2014. They talked about actions taken to prevent the impact of climate change, as well as current projects aimed at reducing pollution, increasing energy efficiency, and raising awareness among citizens about the need for responsible behavior towards the environment.
Positive examples from Drvar, Visoko, Mrkonjić Grad and other cities were also presented, as well as messages from youth from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina who called for urgent and concrete action to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.
The online event was followed by a couple hundred participants, who sent their messages and thoughts on readiness to act, in order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to better respond to the tasks of the Paris Agreement for a better future for generations to come.