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Chapter 27 – assessment of progress in the field of environmental protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On the occasion of April 22Earth Day, the Eco Forum Zenica association in cooperation with associations from Partnership 27 and the Eco BiH Network presented the Shadow Report: “Chapter 27 – assessment of progress in the field of environmental protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Among other things, the report showed that there is no concrete progress regarding the implementation of environmental legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that BiH is lagging behind on its way to the European Union in this respect.

The report in its third edition includes an overview of the state of harmonization and application of environmental laws for the period 2022-2023, and covers the areas of horizontal legislation, nature protection, water, air quality, industrial pollution, climate change, noise. For the first time, key areas such as waste and chemicals are covered, and the focus of all areas is on the environmental policies and legislation of the entities of BiH and Brčko District.

Majda Ibraković, coordinator of the project and shadow report, said that this document is the result and contribution of the continuous joint work of experts and environmental organizations from Partnership 27, which consists of: Center for Environment from Banja Luka, Aarhus Center in BiH from Sarajevo, Eco Forum from Zenica, New Agenda for Development from Sarajevo and Dinarica from Mostar. The report follows the European Commission’s conclusions from the latest progress report from 2023, which includes Chapter 27 – environment and climate change.

“Despite the news in the form of adopted strategies and legislation in the field of environmental protection, unfortunately the conclusions this time as well are not significantly different compared to the previous two reports. It is a devastating fact that the civil society that deals with environmental protection in BiH repeats year after year a simple conclusion, that is, a recommendation that harmonized legislation in the field of the environment must be implemented in practice,” said Majda.

Ratko Pilipović, lawyer and author in the field of horizontal legislation from the Center for Environment, said that this area has been transposed to a greater extent, but that the key issues remain in quality environmental protection.

“This primarily refers to the directive on environmental protection through criminal law, in which segment active cooperation is required between all authorities, including prosecutor’s offices, courts, police authorities. In addition, it is necessary to work on daily basis on public awareness of environmental protection through criminal law. Unfortunately, environmental crime is something we will encounter in the near future,” he said.

In the light of the ongoing procedure for opening accession negotiations with the EU, the pressure of civil society continues at a time when more than ever it is necessary to advocate for more intensive environmental protection, which is one of the most complex and demanding chapters in the EU integration process.

The shadow report for Chapter 27 was fulfilled through the “Eco BiH Network” for advocacy networks, which is implemented by the association Eco Forum Zenica. This activity was fulfilled with the support of the project “Thoughts about Nature!” implemented by the Center for Civil Society Promotion, and financially supported by Sweden. The full report can be downloaded here.

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