On the occasion of World Tourism Day, UNDP officially presented the new project "Sustainability of Protected Areas in BiH - SPA"

September 27, 2022


Project "Sustainability of Protected Areas - SPAthat is implemented by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina and financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), was officially presented today. The goal of this five-year project is to offer a sustainable alternative to the management of protected areas in BiH, and reduce the effects of climate change on the country's rich biodiversity.

On this occasion, UNDP organized a Workshop for members of the project committee, project partners, relevant domestic institutions from all over the country, as well as representatives of international organizations. The event was symbolically organized on the World Tourism Day, in order to emphasize the importance of biodiversity for the development of tourism, which is one of the project’s efforts.

Stephen Kinloch-Pichat, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in BiH

Mountaineering and nature walks, are all examples of biodiversity-driven ecotourism and BiH with its rich biological, climatic and landscape diversity has significant potential for its development. Therefore, the goal of the SPA project is to offer tools and instruments for better and sustainable management of protected areas as well as to reduce the vulnerability of biodiversity to the threats of climate change. In return, this would contribute to the financial sustainability of protected areas, diversify and improve their huge tourism potential for the development of ecotourism, lead to the creation of a green business and other development opportunities that will valorize and preserve unique natural values without endangering them.
Stephen Kinloch-Pichat, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in BiH

Measures for adaption and strengthening resilience of biodiversity to the climate change impacts are not adequately addressed in legislation on nature protection in BiH, nor in management plans of the protected areas, and so far there has been no significant funding or efforts to include key biodiversity values and endangered ecosystems in disaster risk management and risk mapping activities. 

Senad Oprašić, Head of the Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH

UNDP, in cooperation with relevant institutions, thoroughly prepared the SPA project, so the practice of recognizing and planning new measures in the management plans of protected areas is introduced for the first time, through pilot projects for specific activities and measures and their adequate documentation. On the other hand, the SPA project will provide support in the creation of innovative financial mechanisms that will lead to the strengthening of the financial sustainability of protected areas through the inclusion of private capital, strengthening the management's capacity to use existing grant programs, but also recognizing protected areas as future tourist destinations, which is an introduction to strengthening of ecotourism. Non-governmental organizations will also be involved in the process, especially in the monitoring and evaluation part.
Senad Oprašić, Head of the Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH and the GEF operational focal point

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, BiH adopted last year an updated National Determined Contribution, according to which the most vulnerable sectors to climate change in the country are agriculture, water resources, forestry, energy, tourism, biodiversity and ecosystems, and human health. A critical next step is the urgent need to define priorities, coherent sectoral plans and adaptation programs.  

First of all, thanks to the project team, which during the preparation of the project contacted all competent ministries, in order to get information about the real needs of protected areas. This is a very important and current project, which provides support to managers of all protected areas, especially when it comes to financial sustainability, which is a problem for all managers, and support for the development of sustainable tourism is of particular importance. Through all strategic documents, climate change was identified, and for the first time, an opportunity was provided for the development of management plans with a special focus on climate change.
Željka Stojičić, Senior Expert Associate for Nature Protection, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of Republika Srpska

Željka Stojičić, Senior Expert Associate for Nature Protection, RS Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology Mehmed Cero, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism of FBiH

I am very happy to be here and participate in this important project. I would like to use this opportunity to inform you about very important aspects of this project. The Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (ESAP) will be finalized and biodiversity is linked to the other six areas defined by these documents. Another important event is COP-15, which will be held in December in Montreal, where the delegation from BiH is planning to present strategic documents. I would like to wish everyone good results with this project in the next five years.
Mehmed Cero, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism of the BiH Federation and contact person for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

During previous years, UNDP has made a significant contribution in advocating for proper recognition and action to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and strive for a healthier environment. In order to emphasize the importance of specific climate action, 26 seedlings were purchased through the platform "Tvoj CO2" for the afforestation of the National Park Una, which recently joined this platform, representing the number of protected areas that will benefit from the SPA project. It is worth noting that this gesture saved 89.7 tCO2eq.

The total budget of the project is 2.79 million dollars, with the possibility of complementary funds from other funding sources.

The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the competent ministries at the state and entity level, as well as the FBiH and RS Environmental Protection Funds, and with managers of protected areas and partner local self-government units throughout BiH.