The Sustainable Development Goals in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
07 July 2023
Call for applications within the project “Supporting local agricultural and rural development planning”
Background The call for application is implemented under the project titled “Supporting local agricultural and rural development planning” (TCP/BIH/3804) and is funded by the Technical Cooperation Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The aim of the project is to support the enhancement of institutional capacities in rural development and community development planning, programming, coordination and implementation at cantonal and municipal levels in the Republika Srpska and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rationale for intervention Under the TCP/BIH/3804 project seven Agriculture and Rural Development Plans are under formulation in the Republika Srpska and two in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the Plans sustainable development of rural communities are vital for creating lasting positive change in the country. Sound planning and strategizing at the local level results in more targeted public sector interventions and expenditures related to rural development and agriculture, which leads to improved sustainable management of natural resources and better economic well-being of the rural communities in the long-run. The project is implemented in Una-Sana Canton and city of Bihac in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the municipalities of Gacko, Rogatica, Rudo, Visegrad, Osmaci, Foca and the City of Zvornik in Republika Srpska – all of these local authorities have committed to developing and later adopting the Local Agriculture and Rural Development Plans following the guidance and support of FAO. Agriculture has a strategic role in providing employment, nutrition and food security in the target municipalities. On farm processing and direct sale to intermediaries are the main marketing channels for the agriculture producers in the project areas, and in order to strengthen the market position of primary producers, a number of interventions are needed in the value chains of the priority agricultural products in the project areas. In Republika Srpska this call for application is aimed for piloting funding of a few small-scale demonstration projects, corresponding with the strategic priorities defined by the Local Agriculture and Rural Development Plans of the municipalities listed below: Osmaci: The municipality covers an area of 78,10 km². The municipality of Osmaci is located in the eastern part of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina in a region that is regionally known as Srednje Podrinje or the Birač region. Using data from the 2013 Census, it was determined that the total number of inhabitants is 5,546. According to statistical records, 1,675 households live in the territory of the municipality, of which all households, as already mentioned, are located in an area classified as rural. The average age of the owner of an agricultural holding determined by survey research is 58 years. Agriculture of the region mainly includes subsistence and semi-subsistence farming. Land fragmentation, lack of agricultural machinery and technologies, abandoned lands, outmigration from the rural area and negative demographic trends are the main obstacles to agricultural development. As priority value chains for development in Osmaci were selected raspberry production and distribution, beekeeping and honey production. City of Zvornik: Zvornik is located in the eastern part of the Republika Srpska. The town of Zvornik lies on the eastern slopes of the Majevica mountain at an altitude of 146 m. The area of the city of Zvornik is 382 km2. Using data from the 2013 Census, 54,407 inhabitants live in the territory of the city of Zvornik. According to statistical records, 17,690 households live in the city area, of which we can assume that 80% are rural households. The average age of the owner of an agricultural holding determined by survey research is 59 years. The food sector in this city is one of the strongest in the project area. Despite the relatively high production, small and medium farmers are facing similar constraints as in small municipalities: a strong focus on primary production and challenges related to the storage and marketing of the produce. As a priority value chain for development in the city of Zvornik was selected fruit production and processing, both organic and conventional. Višegrad is located in the eastern part of the Republika Srpska. The area of Višegrad is 448 km2. Using data from the 2013 Census, 10.118 inhabitants live in Višegrad. The total rural population is 5,289, or 49.6%. Despite the accelerated development of urban tourism in the area of this municipality, this growth did not spread to rural areas and agricultural development, and the main reason is migration from rural areas and negative demographic trends. As priority value chains for development in Višegrad were selected raspberry production and processing, greenhouse production, honey production and beekeeping. Rogatica: The municipality of Rogatica is located in the middle of the eastern part of the Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, on an area of 645.92 km2. According to the results of the last population census in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), the total number of inhabitants in the Municipality of Rogatica was 10,302. About 40% of the population lives in the rural part of the municipality. This is the largest agricultural area within the project site in terms of resources and production intensity. However, despite a good resource base, there is a low degree of product finalization and added value. As priority value chains for development in Rogatica were selected production and geographic identity protection of rogatic potatoes, meat production and processing in the cow-calf system, and milk production and processing. Rudo: The territory of the municipality of Rudo is located on the triple border of Republika Srpska, Serbia and Montenegro. The area is distinctly hilly and mountainous, with villages scattered and intersected by mountain passes on an area of 344 km2. According to the results of the last population census in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), the total number of inhabitants in Rudo Municipality was 7,578 inhabitants in 89 associated settlements. The rural population numbers 6,203 people or 77.9% of the total. Despite the modest resource base, the small number of farms and low economic development, the municipality is distinguished by a strong agricultural cooperative and good projects of established value chains in raspberry production and milk processing, which should be further developed. As priority value chains for development in Rudo were selected, raspberry production and distribution, milk production and processing, and rural tourism. Foča: The municipality of Foča is located in the southeastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the Republika Srpska entity. Foča is located on the banks of the Drina River. The municipality of Foča covers an area of 1,115 km2. According to the 2013 census, the municipality had 18,288 inhabitants. 7,051, or 38.6% of the population, live in rural areas. The municipality, which lies in the heart of the national park and which does not sufficiently take advantage of the links that can be developed between agriculture and tourism, needs to strengthen value chains in fruit growing and meat and milk production through the improvement of production and processing technology. As priority value chains for development in Foča were selected meat and milk production and processing, plum and raspberry production and processing, and beekeeping and honey production. Gacko: The municipality of Gacko is located in the southeast of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In terms of altitude, it is the highest mountain part of Herzegovina, with an average altitude above 1000 meters above sea level. The altitude of the Gacko settlement is 956 meters above sea level. The surface area of the municipality is 736 km². According to the results of the last census in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), the total number of inhabitants in the Municipality of Gacko was 8,710 inhabitants in 71 associated settlements. Of the total number of inhabitants, 40% live in rural parts of the municipality. Gacko is a typical mountain municipality with recognizable animal products that easily find their place on the market but which should be branded and protected so that the added value and benefit for the producer would be greater. As priority value chains for development in Gacko were selected, Gacko cream (kajmak) production, beekeeping and honey production. In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this call for application is aimed for piloting funding of a few small-scale demonstration projects, corresponding with the strategic priorities defined by the Strategy of Agriculture and Rural Development for the Period 2023 -2027 for Una-Sana Canton and by the Local Plan of Agriculture and Rural Development for the Period 2023-2027 of City of Bihać: Una-Sana Canton: The Una-Sana Canton is located in the extreme north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, bordering the southern and south-eastern parts of the Republic of Croatia. It is one of the ten cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with an area of 4,125 km2 it covers 15.8% of the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. 8.1% of the total territory of BiH. In the territorial-political system this Canton is organized by eight local self-government units (municipalities/cities): Bihać, Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Petrovac, Bužim, Cazin, Ključ, Sanski Most and Velika Kladuša. In 2021 the Canton area was populated with 264,248 inhabitants, out of which 13.42% are under 14 years old and 14.35% are over 65 years old. According to the 2013 Census, a total of 78,255 households live in the area of the Una-Sana Canton, of which 60.98% or 47,718 households are located in rural settlements and 39.02% or 30,537 households in the urban part of the Canton. Favourable climatic conditions and available land resources enable a greater number of agricultural productions, but as in most of the BiH, the agricultural sector faces numerous problems such as small holdings, poor equipment and low technical-technological levels of production. As priority value chains for development in Una-Sana Canton were selected beekeeping and honey production, meat production and processing. City of Bihać: The city of Bihać is located in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, administratively belongs to the entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is the administrative, economic, cultural, university and sports centre of the Una-Sana Canton. The city of Bihać covers an area of 900 km2, which is 21.8% of the territory of the Una-Sana Canton and 1.7% of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The average altitude is 224 meters; most of the territory of the City is located on terrains up to 600 meters above sea level, while its smaller part is located in the mountain and hill-mountain zone at an altitude of over 900 meters. In 2021, a total of 55,291 inhabitants lived in the City of Bihać. According to the data from the Census, in 2013, a total of 18,293 households lived in the area of the City of Bihać, out of which 26.66% or 4,877 households were located in rural settlements, and 73.34% or 13,416 households in the urban part of the City. Agricultural production is an important part of the City's economy, especially vegetable and milk production, and recently honey production has experienced a special expansion. As priority value chains for development in the City of Bihać were selected vegetable production and distribution. All these municipalities and cities, to a greater or lesser extent, are characterized by large spatial dispersal, lack of organization of agricultural production and poorly developed value chains. In terms of value chain improvement, two directions were identified. One direction refers to production, which is characterised by the low level of production technology, low yields, lack of equipment and mechanization, and lack of access to knowledge and information. The second direction refers to the processing, which in most cases takes place on the farm and is performed by women, where there is a lack of quality and safety checks lack of adequate packaging, resulting to the exclusion of traditional products from formal marketing channels. Women’s high involvement in manual activities, as well as unpaid housework, including care work, leads to their economic dependency and invisibility of their work. The lack of opportunities for youth to be employed in rural areas is another challenge due to the limited number of full-time jobs in these rural areas. It leads the young generation to move to the towns and cities and leaves them uncertain about their future. This leaves elderly households with no labour force for the extension of agriculture production and larger agriculture households with a lack of seasonal workers to be hired, which creates great need in automation and digitalisation of the production process. These crucial factors create the necessity to encourage and support those most marginalized groups to participate in and benefit from the intervention. Specifically, it is needed to support youth, women, people with disabilities and others in the key relevant areas (relevant to the grant measure) where they already figure prominently. Sustainable development of rural areas cannot be achieved successfully without improvement of competitiveness of the agricultural sector, including technical-technological renewal, support of valuable economic initiatives, support of agricultural holdings, smallholders and family farms and local population through rural development grant programmes. During the implementation of this project and preparation of LARDs, FAO national consultants, in cooperation with the private sector and representatives of local self-government, defined activities for the improvement of value chains at each of the communities within the project area which should contribute to the improvement of competitiveness of producers and producer organisation, but also to the improvement of quality of life in rural areas. Scope and actions According to the local Agriculture and Rural Development Plans formulated in each of the target municipalities, existing production in the communities is limited to primary products, whereas to increase income of the local population, it is crucial to develop the value chains. The current technological and equipment levels of the agricultural sector in the communities necessitate their further support, which will largely contribute to the improvement of competitiveness and income generation in the communities. Therefore, the measure targets the support of the following direction through two sub-measures: Measure 1: Investments in tools and equipment for value adding to agricultural products: Agricultural processing equipment; small agriculture machines. Equipment and tools for marketing, sorting and packaging. Measure 2: Investments in infrastructure related to primary agricultural production: Irrigation equipment, greenhouses, etc. Each applicant can apply to only one measure. Territorial scope Eligible grant projects may only be implemented in Una-Sana Canton and city of Bihać in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and municipalities of Gacko, Rogatica, Rudo, Visegrad, Osmaci, Foca and the City of Zvornik in the Republika Srpska that are the project sites which have been pre-identified and recommended by the state and entity-level governments during the development of the Technical Cooperation Project TCP/BIH/3804 – “Supporting local agricultural and rural development planning”. Applicants: Who may apply? The aim of the small-scale investment intervention is to make a benefit for the maximum of local people, not only the individual. Therefore, those interventions will be found eligible, which bring benefits to the majority of the community directly or indirectly. Producers’ or farmers’ associations, organizations and unions; cooperatives, for which agriculture is either the main or additional field of activity and other types of membership-based organizations, which among other things, are involved in agriculture that are legally registered and operating in one of the locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina mentioned under section 3, have a bank account, are not in the state of bankruptcy and have not received the same type of tool/equipment under another grant support during the last 1 year are eligible to apply on this call. Duration of the projects The deadline for the realization of the grant project activities is 31st December 2023. Deadline for submission of the applications: The deadline for submission of applications is 21st July 2023, at 17:00. Further information related to the administration and submission procedure can be found in the documents below.
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05 July 2023
Presenting the joint United Nations project "Women Driving Resilience in Agriculture and Rural Areas"
Women make up as much as 49.8% of the population in rural areas, and only 38.3% of women are owners or co-owners of agricultural land. Of the actively employed women in BiH, 20.5% of them work in agriculture, while only 18.3% of agricultural farms are run by women. The joint project of UN Women BiH and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), financed by Sweden, aims to remove the structural barriers faced by women in rural areas through the introduction of technologies that would save time and make their work easier, as well as to present innovative sources of financing. Through training women in rural areas to better cope with the specific challenges of doing business in agriculture, the project will improve living standards, as well as the socio-economic position of families in rural areas. "It is a great honor for us that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina will take part in the Steering Committee of this project, and that we will provide our expertise in its implementation. We are also glad that we will have the opportunity to expand cooperation with entity ministries in the creation of strategies for agriculture that will especially focus on gender equality," said Slobodan Cvijanović, Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. „Today the UN team in Bosnia and Herzegovina is strengthening our support to the critical role of women in agriculture and rural development. Whilst just over 20 percent of women in BiH work in agricultural activities in rural areas, according to the Sarajevo Economic Institute (2018), many are engaged in the lower value chain activities with less decision-making authority and profitability. Women in rural areas therefore represent an important, yet still untapped, resource for the country. The UN is looking forward to working with all stakeholders, especially rural communities, agricultural producers, government counterparts and the women themselves, to improve the lives of women in rural areas across BiH, which will in turn benefit the broader social and economic development of the country,“ said Ingrid Macdonald, UN BiH Resident Coordinator. “Equal opportunities for all, including gender equality, is important to Sweden and is an integral part of everything we support. That is why we are pleased to fund this project that will empower women in agriculture and rural areas to better manage challenges they are facing. The aim of the project is an improved environment for women and girls engaged in agricultural activities supporting them in advancing their socio-economic position,” said Eva Gibson Smedberg, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo. A meeting of the project’s Steering Committee was also held today, consisting of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, Agency for Gender Equality of BiH, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of FBiH, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of RS, as well as representatives of Sweden and UN agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These activities are part of continuous work of UN Women on economic empowerment of women in BiH, as well as continuous support to women in agriculture and in rural areas, supported by Sweden. Since 2021, UN Women has been working to establish cooperation in this area with municipalities and cities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina from both entities.
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05 July 2023
WHO 75: 75 Years in Service of Improving Public Health
The first half of the 20th century saw some of the most tragic and destructive global events in human history. Societies have suffered a devastating loss of lives, food scarcity, destroyed public health services, and an unprecedented number of displaced persons. There were legitimate concerns that epidemic outbreaks would rapidly spread throughout the population, such as the one known as the Spanish flu at the end of the World War I, with estimated deaths ranging from 17 – to 50 million people. In April 1945, leaders from around the world gathered in San Francisco, United States of America, to establish the United Nations. At the meeting, they also agreed on the creation of another global organisation, specifically devoted to global health rather than global politics, an organisation that would prevent and control disease so that everyone could attain health and wellbeing at the highest possible level. The World Health Organization (WHO) was established three years later, with its constitution coming into effect on 7 April 1948, marked from then on as World Health Day. The WHO Charter, or its constitution, states that health is a fundamental human right that every human being is entitled to "without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition" and that "the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security." Public health has changed dramatically in the 75 years since the launch of the World Health Organization. Over the past seven and a half decades, there has been extraordinary progress in protecting people from diseases and destruction, including smallpox eradication, reducing the incidence of polio by 99%, saving millions of lives through childhood immunisation, declines in maternal mortality, and improvement of health and well-being for millions more. However, the successes so far do not mean that WHO’s work is finished. There are new, critical health threats, such as COVID-19 or climate change- related events, and these are expected to become more frequent and more severe. That is one of the reasons WHO is urging Member States to take action to place health high on the political and development agenda and increase investments in health. The health workforce is critical. Continuous and increasing investments in education, skills, and decent jobs for health need to be prioritised to meet the rapidly growing demand for health and addressing changing health needs. Without drastic change, a shortage of 10 million health workers is projected by 2030, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. "We have to work hard at coming together to confront these health threats. This means thinking beyond nationalistic priorities, it means coming together around joint priorities, and most importantly, it means supporting organisations like WHO that work for the collective good," stated Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. One of the actions WHO has achieved, in collaboration with Member States, is taking action to promote health by preventing disease and addressing the root causes of ill health. This resulted that between 2017 and 2022, 133 governments increased an existing or introduced a new tax on products that harm health, such as tobacco and sugary drinks. What’s in the future for WHO? At this year’s Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, the UN agency’s decision-making body, Dr Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, warned that the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat, urging countries to prioritise primary healthcare as the foundation of universal health coverage. "The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that protecting health is fundamental to our economies, societies, security and stability," said the WHO Director-General. Learning from the worst pandemic in recent history, WHO stands ready to support the world's countries as they negotiate a pandemic accord, the revision of the International Health Regulations (2005), and other financial, governance, and operational initiatives to prepare the world for future pandemics. Over the past five years, WHO has invested in science and digital health, creating a science division. The investment has come at the time when science is under sustained attack every day. Disseminating evidence-based and scientifically underpinned information is of the utmost importance. Countries must protect the public from misinformation and disinformation, the results of such actions are still alive in our minds and even in our lives still. The future of health depends on how well all of us, together, power health through science, research, innovation, data, digital technologies and partnerships. "The history of WHO demonstrates what is possible when nations come together for a common purpose," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has led the organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic.
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13 June 2023
LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers must feel safe and accepted
Local community as a whole must send a message to LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers that they are welcome in BiH, safe and accepted. Even though BiH government, civil sector and local community are giving their best to welcome LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers, there are still some challenges that we are all facing as a community. “In the year when the humankind is marking the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, when we think that a lot has been done, we are still facing certain challenges. For example, among asylum-seekers, same sex couples are not recognized as families, and are often put in different accommodations far away from each other,” said Gabrijela Rubić, Project Manager at UNHCR’s partner Bosnia and Herzegovina Women’s Initiative (BHWI), during a panel discussion organized by BiH Pride March with support from UNHCR. The discussion followed a screening of a Mexican film Luciernagas (Fireflies), which depicts a deeply human story about a young gay man who fled from persecution in Iran and ended up living in the limbo of exile, far from everything he knows, in the tropical port town of Veracruz, Mexico. While dealing with the distance between himself and his loved ones, he began to discover a new life, and started to integrate into the new community. “Throughout our long-term experience working with refugees and asylum-seekers, including with LGBTIQ+ persons, we have seen many similar cases like in the film. Some scenes from the film reminded me of situations we had with refugees who thought us how to dance Salsa while we thought them how to dance Bosnian ‘kolo’,” said Rubić. LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers feel alone in often homophobic environments. They often fear for their safety, fear from rape threats and are additionally isolated. “We need to invest in constant education of a wider community,” said Marija Šarić, Project Manager at NGO Wings of Hope, concluding that all parts of our community have responsibility to provide hospitality to all refugees. “The workshop that we had last year with LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers and local community, with support from UNHCR, had provided a safe environment for those people and an environment where they felt accepted. Many of them felt uncomfortable going back to their temporary accommodations afterwards. This shows that civil sector and donor community should invest additional efforts in similar activities and projects that will ensure that these people feel physically safe and accepted,” said Mirjana Gavrić, psychotherapist.
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30 June 2023
Macdonald: Media freedom is of central importance for UN in BiH and the world
The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ingrid Macdonald, noted Monday at the conference 'Media Innovation and Trends - Media Freedom and Shaping the Future of Media' organized by the FBiH News Agency (FENA) in Sarajevo that media freedoms are a topic that is of central importance for the United Nations not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina but around the world. “This is something we're working on and support, not only as representatives of the UN Secretary-General in BiH but also UNESCO, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and others,” said Macdonald, who was the keynote speaker of the first panel at the conference. Concerned about the situation in which the media and journalists are at the global level, she stated that the UN has established a comprehensive Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists to end impunity for crimes committed against them. “We're not just talking about physical attacks, but also online, economic and legal attacks. There are many ways to attack and threaten journalists,” Macdonald said. In recent statements during World Press Freedom Day, she recalled, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the need to address attacks on journalists and stressed the importance of halting attacks on those who speak the truth. “Unfortunately, we didn't notice that the situation at the global level has improved. Journalists and truth are still and to an increasing extent victims,” she said. As an example, she cited the Covid-19 pandemic campaign, where there is great concern that facts are being misinterpreted, used and abused. “This is often seen here on the political side, but also in other areas, such as climate change. Not only are journalists attacked, but also scientists, doctors, technicians and others. This causes great concern of the UN,” said Macdonald. Speaking about Bosnia, she said that the latest developments on the political scene, especially the proposed criminalization of insult and slander, cause concern, and that this could be used to suppress critical voices in the media and among journalists. She added that the comments of UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion, expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, especially the criminalization of insults, are definitive and explicit in terms of democratic standards, and freedom of expression is very important, and it is necessary to achieve that balance. “It is important that the authorities withdraw the proposed draft amendments and the criminalization of defamation and insults because they are contrary to the standards,” Macdonald noted. The UN office in BiH, she said, published a comprehensive report on the safety of journalists, and does so continuously in order to highlight the importance of the topic. “Many will say that there are numerous challenges that journalists face in performing their work. Not only are there political pressures on the media that are noticeable, but also economic pressures, verbal attacks, threats, online and judicial harassment, limiting the right to access information,” she stressed. She concluded by saying that the UN is fully dedicated to providing support and facilitating journalists’ work in BiH, ensuring better protection of journalists in a more favourable environment for the media.
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