The GEF in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not just a donor, but an important partner, a facilitator of environmental dialogue and a true friend of the environment. The impacts of Its activities have been recognised across the country, by people ranging from from environmental stakeholders to local communities and beneficiaries.
Implementing GEF projects in an array of thematic areas has brought diversified benefits to Bosnia and Herzegovina's environmental status, including preserving biodiversity, removing barriers to the use of renewable energy sources, fulfilling climate change obligations, ensuring adequate setting and capacities for implementing important conventions, building up climate-resilient flood management and looking ahead towards scaling up the catalyzing of environmental finance.
GEF initiatives and support have brought concrete results for Bosnia and Herzegovina as it moves towards EU accession. During an important period when other funds for environmental protection were not available for the country, the GEF has been a catalyst in overcoming important gaps in environmental issues within the country. Successes measured through GEF projects include the following, to name just a few:
- Pioneering mainstreaming of biodiversity issues into the country's spatial planning: protecting biodiversity was included for the first time in spatial planning at Cantonal level - leading to its inclusion in higher levels of planning and and to a potential increase of protected areas
- Removing barriers to demand for using wood biomass: a switch of fuel in 26 public facilities (schools, hospitals, kindergartens) was directly financed or indirectly influenced, thus ensuring annual reductions in emissions equivalent to 2.173 tonnes of CO2.
- Transferring technologies for climate-resilient flood management so as to increase the resilience of highly-exposed rural poor people, and ensuring climate change reporting and the systematization of data: a centralised network of hydro-meteorological stations has been established in the Vrbas River basin, forming an essential basis for flood forecasting and early warning systems for the river.
- Fulfilling obligatory reporting on climate change under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (through national communications and biennial updating reports), and achieving credible data collection and reporting up to the year 2015.
- Undertaking a Mercury Initial Assessment to enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to determine requirements and needs for implementing future provisions of the Minamata Convention
Using innovative tools and evidence based policy solutions, improving livelihoods, empowering local and vulnerable population and providing opportunities for economic growth through environmental impacts have been some of the major challenges conveyed by GEF projects, implemented by UNDP, in the country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is looking ahead at new challenges and opportunities brought on by GEF initiatives and support, furthering the strong partnership and producing beneficial impacts for all.