Decarbonization and transition to greener energy cannot wait

May 5, 2022

Mirjana Špoljarić Egger, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Office

Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Office Špoljarić Egger calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities at all levels to accelerate progress towards green and inclusive economic growth

As part of her two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Office for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Mirjana Špoljarić Egger opened today in Sarajevo the event "Decarbonization – a Roadmap for a Green Future", together with the Ambassador of Japan to BiH Makoto Ito and the Secretary General of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and of Economic Relations Hamdo Tinjak.

On that occasion, a new project was presented, funded by the Government of Japan, and implemented by UNDP in BiH in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH. The aim of this “Inclusive Decarbonization Activity” is to enable concrete progress in the implementation of BiH's climate action plans, such as the National Determined Contributions (NDCs). It will specifically target three carbon-intensive industries - energy, steel, and cement - to ensure that their transition to a low-carbon operation is inclusive and just and enables growth and competitiveness of companies while protecting the environment and increasing air quality.

In her introductory speech, Špoljarić Egger thanked the Government of Japan for their substantive financial contribution to UNDP's Climate Promise, which supports 120 countries worldwide and called on the BiH Council of Ministers and authorities at all levels to be even more ambitious and accelerate the country's progress towards green and inclusive economic growth: "Decarbonization and transition to greener energy cannot wait. We have to accelerate this process and break the myth that countries have to choose between economic growth and fighting climate change. The goals we have set together are ambitious, but they are achievable."

Japan's contribution to UNDP's ambitious Climate Promise initiative will assist BiH in responding to the urgent need to reduce its high fossil fuel dependency through a just transition mechanism, focusing on leaving no one behind, fair and gender-responsive measures.

Makoto Ito, Ambassador of Japan in BiH, stated: "Government of Japan is committed to providing support to countries as Bosnia and Herzegovina in the implementation of their national climate pledge through financial support, technology transfer and sharing of vast and rich experience of Japan’s fair transition and human security.“

In cooperation with the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, the project will work to set up the basis for a just transition towards a low-carbon economy by creating the Blueprint for BiH's "Just Transition for all" and Just Transition strategies for three carbon-intensive industries (power, steel, and cement), accompanied by capacity-building activities for stakeholders, vulnerable groups and industry. The project will also provide financing for the decarbonization of at least 20 SMEs.

Hamdo Tinjak, Secretary General of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, thanked UNDP for its cooperation on this and other issues, as well as the Government of Japan for the funds for the implementation of this important project. He stressed that the decarbonization of the energy sector is imperative for BiH, not only its obligation under the Energy Community Treaty, the Paris Agreement and the Sofia Declaration, but also a huge development opportunity because energy is one of the country's most important industries. “The process of decarbonization of energy needs to be detailly planned and its implementation need to be systematical. The Ministry is actively working on this in cooperation with entity ministries and the Brčko District Government, with the aim of developing a modern, competitive, environmentally friendly, and sustainably energy sector that will contribute to the creation of new jobs, reduction of public debt and increase of the sectors competitiveness. The very goal of this project will help BiH to take the necessary steps in a fair way. "

The results of previous interventions in the decarbonization of the public, residential and economic sectors in BiH were also presented at the event, on the example of Tuzla Canton, where in cooperation with the UNDP, 36 public buildings were renovated or are being renovated as well as 15 small and medium enterprises and 232 households with measures to improve energy efficiency. In addition to a large reduction in CO2 emissions, huge savings in energy and resources and more green jobs were achieved.

At the end of the event, future steps, potentials, and needs for investment in decarbonization were presented based on the NDCs of BiH. Participants agreed that the energy sector and carbon-intensive industries are at the heart of the transition toward a low-carbon economy and the key to BiH reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.