Project Factsheet
Tools for » Mainstreaming environmental governance: linking local and national action in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Project ID:00067153Description:MDGF-1684-E-BIH Env Climate
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 2 Oct 2007
MDGF Environ Climate Chg
End Date*: 31 May 2013
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The JP’s goal was to “kick start” both economic resources and political will to deal effectively with issues related to environmental stagnation. In order to facilitate such matters, comprehensive planning mechanisms were designed to replace authorities’ typical ad hoc, reactive measures with streamlined, innovative actions based on strategic-planning documents. It also highlighted the ability of stakeholders, both at local and national levels, to play a positive role.

Local-level planning was improved (Outcome 1), by establishing local environmental planning mechanisms and training key stakeholders, as a result they were able to develop, adopt and begin implementation of truly-comprehensive Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAPs) and Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) which provided a clear vision of how local authorities can collaborate with other local stakeholders to claim ownership of environmental issues.

Management of environmental resources/services was enhanced (Outcome 2), with 38 pilot demonstration projects in the field of energy efficiency and introduction of renewable energy sources in public sector, providing models to stakeholders, including models for co-financing from local decision-makers, as well as linkage to returnee/refugee issues and natural/cultural heritage. The first Green Economy Sectoral Modeling study was produced, which introduced the idea of green economy to the country in a very applicable way. Priority actions were identified in collaboration with local civil society and municipalities. Ownership of the process was made evident through the significant matching funds provided by local authorities.

Finally, national environmental awareness/action linked with the MDGs were particularly successful (Outcome 3), through development of a first State of Environment Report, an analysis of the legal/institutional framework for environmental protection in the country, the creation of a national climate change authority (DNA), linkage of reliable indicators with national planning, improved access to environmental information, and innovative pilot projects serving as best practices.

The programme supported nationwide energy monitoring of public buildings, and helped harmonize entity environmental funds, while strengthening national capacities. Analysis of “Green economy” investment and lessons learned were widely disseminated to ensure future sustainability of JP goals.


Outcome 1:

Improved local level environmental planning.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Local environmental planning mechanisms were established so that stakeholders are knowledgeable about planning issues, delegating responsibilities and coordinating the team.
  • Local stakeholders from various sectors in many municipalities were trained in environmental planning/programming, and how to support a team.
  • Local coordinators and their colleagues were trained in the most relevant environmental for the municipal level. This methodology was laid in an updated Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) handbook.
  • A study was also conducted to determine how best to integrate land management issues into municipalities who had already adopted LEAPs before the JP.


Outcome 2:

Enhanced management of environmental resources and delivery of environmental services.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Improved management in many municipalities through support to pilot projects and workshops given to some municipalities for land management issues.
  • The first Green Economy Sectoral Modeling study was produced, which introduced the idea of green economy to the country.
  • Priority actions were identified in collaborations between local civil society and municipalities together. Ownership of the process proven by the significant matching funds provided by local authorities.
  • These same pilot actions improve not only the environmental, energy, water and sanitation services of local communities, but also serve as best practice models for others to follow and include examples of how environmental concerns can be linked to refugee/returnee issues and natural/cultural heritage sites as well. They proved how poverty and environment can be linked to serve sustainable development. Investments in energy efficiency in public sector buildings/infrastructure achieved significant reduction of CO2 emissions, improved environment and high savings in public budgets. It also created a great momentum in the country in these fields as now in Bosnia and Herzegovina energy efficiency and renewable energy sources is one of the main topics when committing to environment and development.


Outcome 3:

Increased national environmental awareness and action, localizing and achieving the MDGs.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Documentation of the legal and institutional background for entity/national environmental governance was summarized in a pioneering desk review publication, already in use by governmental officials, in particular providing a “road map” to the national ministry.
  • A website was established with a database of local environmental experts and the findings of the desk review of the Legal and Institutional Framework for Environmental Protection in BiH.
  • A governmental needs assessment was done, including a Gap Analysis for a Comprehensive Environmental Information System in BiH, linked to existing environmental databases/information sources.
  • Reliable environmental indicators were devised to inform national/entity policy-making, in particular the creation of an official inter-entity commission responsible for BiH’s obligations concerning the Kyoto Protocol and the approval of Climate Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in the country.
  • Public access to environmental information was improved through a comprehensive gap analysis and the linkage of disjointed databases into a nationwide Environmental Information System (EIS) publicly-accessible online.
  • Access to environmental finance was expanded through pilot projects which provided co-financing models for other actors, for example inclusion in the nationwide monitoring Energy Management Information System (EMIS) also the entity-level environmental funds expanding the scope of their activities across the country.
  • Capacities were developed to link environmental governance, poverty reduction, social inclusion and the delivery of the MDGs, based on needs assessments at the national level of priority areas together with efforts to bring efficient energy to remote/poor populations.


Best Practices:

  • Development of LEAPs is one of the core pillars of the Joint Program, seeking to empower local authorities and other stakeholders with more stream-lined tools/plans to mainstream environmental issues as legitimate priorities and thereafter solve such problems through locally-designed actions, rather than merely waiting for top-down remedies. Furthermore, it is expected that the principles learned in developing a LEAP can be easily multiplied to formulate similar strategic documents, within the municipality, around the country or even to locations beyond national borders. However, it was not simply enough to increase the quantity of LEAPs, but also to improve their quality and sustainability to avoid creating yet more ‘paper plans’.
  • The greatest impact achieved by the JP through the implementation of its EE/RES activities is that it has truly initiated the process of mainstreaming EE/RES in a meaningful way. Whereas before the JP, few in B&H dealt with the issues in any kind of a systematic way (the only real action was done only at higher levels and often in a somewhat uncoordinated manner), now the most important actors at all levels are finally playing a role and taking responsibility for the sector. Significant steps forward have been made by the JP in mobilizing BiH government organs and other stakeholders to ultimately claim ownership both of the consequences from and solutions for the energy sector.
  • Increased awareness that that progress in the public building sector, in particular, is crucial to better protect the environment, reach climate change goals, improve public health and achieve poverty reduction through budget savings for governments, businesses and individuals.
  • Best practices were well documented and spread to the public via several online platforms, in order to effectively deliver lessons learned to other stakeholders.


Lessons Learned:

  • Longer-term planning is crucial on all fronts.
  • The key lesson on stakeholder involvement is that a quality consultative process made the task of assessing the state of the environment in BiH possible, relevant and comprehensive. It has shown that such inclusive activities such as SoER, while challenging, are clearly feasible and highly valuable in a complex country like Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The three key ingredients for a municipality to more easily developing its own LEAP are 1) support from the municipal administration to enact positive change, 2) active non-municipal stakeholders willing and capable to contribute meaningfully 3) experienced staff led by a confident coordinator.
  • Municipal administrations must support not only the development of strategic plans, but also the implementation of their actions afterwards, to show they’re not just deemed as empty documents.
  • All stakeholders (especially NGOs and public utility/private companies) must become more engaged in matters important to the community, at the same time building up their expertise to be truly capable of being equal partners with municipalities in decision-making.
  • Municipal staff must become more exposed to strategic-planning principles (including the importance of genuine public participation), so that after several times in similar processes, they are able to realize that a similar approach can be applied to any sector, and thereafter will be able to continue on their own without guidance from consultants or outside initiators like the UN.
  • The JP team has found that “showing by doing” is an appropriate approach to ensuring the sustainability of these issues.


More details can be found in the documents below.

Recent Documents
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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the lead agency for the programme.

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