Successfully promoted project “ELAN-Environmental Lobbying and Advocacy CSO Network”

Successfully promoted project “ELAN-Environmental Lobbying and Advocacy CSO Network”

February 23, 2018

Marie Bergström, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lejla Šuman, Head of Mission /Country Office Director of REC Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On February 22, 2018 in Hotel HILLS, Sarajevo a "KICK-OFF EVENT" of the project" ELAN-Environmental Lobbying and Advocacy CSO Network" was held. The event gathered number of CSO representatives, representatives of national and international organizations, embassies and representatives of ministries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ELAN project is financially supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency - Sida and will be implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, the Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina (REC BIH).

The main objective of the “ELAN-Environmental Lobbying and Advocacy CSO Network” project is to improve environmental governance by supporting civil society organizations (CSOs) to participate effectively in policy and decision-making processes in the field of environmental protection and thus contribute to the key reforms and further transposition and implementation of the EU Environmental Acquis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project value is 1.4 million EUR and will last for 36 months, until December 2020. The project has six components that are intertwined, and 65% of the budget will be directed to strengthen the organizational capacity of civil society organizations and the implementation of their activities on the local and national level. The project will provide support to the media in order to make the public better informed about environmental issues and solutions in a more objective and transparent manner.

Head of Mission and Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ms. Lejla Šuman, opened the Kick-off Event by stressing that projects such this one should contribute to a stronger linkage between public and civil sector in BiH, because cooperation is the key to solve numerous problems, as well as the belief that investment in environmental protection is an investment for the future for all of us and the future of each country."The lack of political dialogue with civil society in general, as well as in the field of environmental protection, and insufficient participation of the public in the decision-making process, is one of the causes of general dissatisfaction towards the authorities. In modern European societies, active citizen participation is developed through various mechanisms of participatory democracy that enable finding sustainable solutions through a common dialogue between citizens, authorities, experts and interest groups. "- added Ms. Šuman.

Ms. Marie Bergström, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about the goals of the Swedish Strategy for the Western Balkans 2014-2020, and expressed satisfaction that Sweden can support the strengthening democratic processes and accountability systems in order to achieve better outcomes and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Sweden is very proud to cooperate with the Regional Environmental Center. The Swedish government considers the environment very important matter and this project that is starting today is a really good combination of assistance from international organizations towards environmental sector." said Ms. Bergström.

Ms. Suada Numić, National Focal Point for the Aarhus Convention in BiH, stressed the importance of updating the existing CSO Registry: "According to the Ministry of Justice of BiH from June 2017, in the register of associations and foundations and foreign international associations and foundations and other non-profit organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2,344 non-governmental organizations were registered. However, there is only a collective register, ie, there are no data on the number of non-governmental organizations registered with the competent ministries and courts in BiH, and this means neither separately those dealing with environmental issues. In this context, the significance of the ELAN Project is even greater, as the Research Group of the Regional Environmental Center-Office in BiH (REC BiH) published on its website a call to environmental civil society organizations (CSOs) to participate in the research being conducted to update the existing CSO Registry and to assess the needs and problems of civil society organizations for environmental protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "

In a positive atmosphere and hope that this project will improve cooperation, constructive dialogue and give us extraordinary results, it is expected that all stakeholders will have successful work and implementation.