#First30BiH2UN celebrated with a solemn ceremony at the Parliament of BiH and the UN Festival #ImagineChange
22 May 2022
The flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina is waving in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York for 30 years
The celebration of the first 30 years of Bosnia and Herzegovina's membership in the United Nations began on Friday with a formal programme at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and continued with the second edition of the UN's #ImagineChange Festival at the Square of BiH/Trg BiH. Whilst giving a retrospective of key milestones, actions, and changes, as well as most current ones such as climate actions and activities under the UN - BiH 2021 – 2025 Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, the participants reflected on the significance of the jubilee and achievements of these first 30 years.
"We entered the world stage on May 22, 1992, with the UN Resolution 757, and we have had an intensive and meaningful relationship with the UN and its agencies ever since. BiH has remained, for a country of its size and foreign policy capacity, a very visible, very committed, and active member of the UN. One part of these activities continues to relate to cooperation with the UN and UN agencies in the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, and in the impact and shaping of their engagement. The second part of our diplomatic activities is dedicated to sharing experiences of conflict and post-conflict situations. In the UN environment, I can convey this firsthand, it is especially appreciated that BiH has moved from a country with the presence of international military forces, to a state participating in peacekeeping missions, in less than ten years since the end of the war. Our engagement with the UN and the attitudes we have promoted have best confirmed that we share the principles and values of the UN Charter. We have shown visibility and commitment in many other UN bodies, and in BiH itself through active and successful cooperation with the UN agencies. Our view of the UN is realistic and balanced - we understand and see the difficulties and global challenges the UN is facing, but we also recognize the value of these goals and the need for humanity to make this organization a success. That is why we remain committed to these principles and goals, and we want to share our experience and give our full contribution", the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, HE Šefik Džaferović said at the opening.
"On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to thank the people and authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for all that they have contributed to the United Nations and the multilateral system over this time. We heard from Ambassadors to the United Nations who reflected on the contributions of Bosnia and Herzegovina to UN peacekeeping; on its membership in the UN bodies and committees; and its time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. We heard from activists and Parliamentary representatives who have contributed to translating global commitments of Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Action into local and country-wide action together with people across Bosnia and Herzegovina. And we gathered with changemakers and innovators to mark these First 30 Years and celebrate those who Imagine Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina every day. When we work together, we have the tools to build a greener, fairer, and more inclusive Bosnia and Herzegovina. The United Nations remains committed to supporting people and leaders in shaping the peaceful and prosperous future they Imagine and work on to achieve, for the benefit of all people across the country – so that no one is left behind," said Ingrid Macdonald, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the occasion.
This important jubilee for BiH's membership in the UN is marked in a year when visible focus can be seen in efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, especially Climate action (SDG 13), Peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16) and Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). Climate action and work on green policies were presented by Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the BiH Parliament, and the Green Club of the House of Representatives, as well as youth activists.
"Despite the limited capacities and great challenges ahead, I believe that in the coming years Bosnia and Herzegovina will be among the leaders in regional and international action in the fight against climate change. This is not only a right, but also a smart decision", said Safet Softić, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the BiH Parliament House of Representatives.
"We are grateful to the United Nations for the opportunity to represent at COP26, because we came back inspired and ready to contribute to the climate action in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When asked what to do next, we answer that real change comes from within and that we are counting on political representatives to put this topic in focus. We invite everyone to more active cooperation with international organizations and institutions that are really trying to make this topic a priority in public discourse. We invite you to hear our voice - the voice of young people and to continue to respect and support our ideas. Small steps have already been made, but now is the time for a big step forward", said Anastasia Đorđa Bosančić and Armela Mehdin, youth representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina at last year's COP26 conference in Glasgow.
"Obligations stemming from The Glasgow Climate Pact are still on the margins of all political actors. It is a high time for concrete action, and I give my full support and call on the Council of Ministers and all other actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen their commitment to achieving the set goals," said Jasmin Emrić, BiH Parliament House of Representatives Delegate, inviting young people to join the actions like Anastasia and Armela did.
Current and former diplomatic representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassadors Sven Alkalaj, Miloš Prica, Mirsada Čolaković and Ivan Barbalić, shared their experiences of participating in the work of the United Nations, emphasizing the progress that the country has achieved in the past 30 years and especially the milestone mandate as the non-permanent member of the Security Council. They also commented on the immeasurable importance of UN support and action in the country, including on practical contributions to advancing strategies and policies, and support on the path to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
The second iteration of the #ImagineChange Festival continued the mission of promoting culture, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, equality and diversity, heritage, art, and climate action, and presented partners of UN programs and agencies in BiH who are actively working on positive change in their local communities and wider.
The program and exhibition space of the Festival were enriched by: IOM Fashion Corner with No Nation Fashion clothing and accessories designed and made by people on the move, as well as participants in UNFPA Centers for women and girls, and boys and young men, the IT Girls initiative, Center for Healthy Aging Novo Sarajevo, Voćar doo, Zelena sredina, Butteria doo, Sumensko Soaps, Fondacija 787, BHWI i Vaša prava, Geppetto playroom, Studio theater from Zenica, Frtutma kids duet, Marleti theater, Kike Budalike, Rock solid band Birač from Srebrenica and numerous visitors of the Festival.
A video of the official ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of BiH's membership at the UN is available here.