The Second SDG Week places focus on smart choices for a sustainable future in the period of crisis
19 October 2022
The second SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, held from October 7 to 14, 2022 with the aim of promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through local actions, consultations, and discussions with representatives of public, economic, academic, and civil society, concluded. The rich program included 15 events where local and international experts shared their experiences, analyzes and perspectives for inclusive, green, and fairer development of the country with more than 500 participants.
To tackle the interconnected risks, faced in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well, the country's institutions, businesses and people must make smart choices that will pave the way for the effective implementation of the country's sustainable agenda, while increasing resilience, improving competitiveness and security for all – the messages delivered during the week outlined. Given that 2030 is only seven years away, the focus of the SDG Week 2022 was on accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
„Bosnia and Herzegovina began serious work at the beginning of 2017, when a working group was formed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. We started with the localization of the process, because without local communities and their full participation in this and on the ground of citizens, there can hardly be success in the implementation of the goals, and we also realized that it is impossible to achieve the goals by 2030 only from public budgets”, emphasized Ambassador Miloš Prica on behalf of the Council for the implementation of the SDGs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The first event "Towards sustainable development financing - the time for smart choices is now!", presented the Roadmap for financing the Sustainable Development Goals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as sustainable development financing models, practical examples from countries that have advanced financing models in the fields of energy, innovation and green economy, and the importance of optimizing public spending through gender-responsive budgeting (GRB). The goal was to highlight the importance of making smart decisions in a timely manner and building a sustainable, crisis-resistant future.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, dr. Ingrid Macdonald, stated that “we live in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world where the climate crisis and pandemics do not respect borders. Only by working together - across communities and countries, can we face these challenges. Yet, we also have new opportunities with rapidly evolving financial, digital and communications systems. The SDGs week in Bosnia and Herzegovina provides a platform to raise awareness and create new partnerships in support of the 2030 Agenda - for the people, their health, prosperity, education, environment, equality, and overall quality of life. This week is an opportunity to share ideas, and invest in actions to promote a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future for all. We also want to thank our partners, Embassy of Sweden in BiH, for continued support to the implementation of SDGs in BiH. We have come a long way, however we have less than ten years to reach the goals we committed to in 2015. The time for smart choices is now.”
During the Round Table Discussion on Global Compact on Migration (GCM), the implementation of the GCM and the opportunities that migration provides for the advancement of sustainable development, both for countries of origin and for countries of destination, were discussed. The GCM is the first intergovernmental agreement that covers all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
The SDG Council in BiH organized a session in cooperation with local self-government units (LGUs) from the Sarajevo region to discuss the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda, priorities, and challenges. The Sarajevo city administration established a special city service that will actively deal with issues of sustainable urban mobility, sustainable development in the creative industry, complete urban transformation of the city and other areas that contribute to sustainable development. At the same time, the SDG Council organized a webinar with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on the importance of civil society participation in the preparation of key documents, including the Voluntary National Review (VNR).
“Sweden is a strong advocate for the global implementation of the 2030 agenda and we will remain a trusted part of the countries across the globe. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are happy that we are able to collaborate with the UN agencies, as well as the local authorities, to support the development of the endorsed SDGs Framework. It is worth noting that the SDGs work and Sweden’s support includes a system-wide transformation that incorporates more areas such as energy efficiency, gender equality and poverty reduction, all coming together to build a sustainable future that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina deserve, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration. This an excellent opportunity for us to have a proper look at what we can do in these remaining 7 years with the right financing and smart choices", said John Skoglund, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The joint workshop of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the Regional Program for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2), on the "Contribution of volunteerism o advancing SDGs at local level" brought together 25 representatives, volunteers, and activists of civil society organizations. Through the introductory discussion, the participants shared their own experiences and motivation for volunteering and discussed the contribution of volunteerism to improving the quality of life in the local community.
As part of three thematic SDG events, discussions were held on: i) key issues related to social protection and the improvement of the social protection system in BiH, ii) experiences and needs to reach SDG number 4 - Quality education, with a special focus on the digital transformation of education, and iii) education about healthy lifestyles to enable young people to protect and advocate for their health, well-being, and dignity.
The Ministry of Programming organized a workshop with SDG mentors where, together with this year's winners of the SDG Business Pioneers awards, they wrote down their promises related to sustainable development, which they plan to fulfill by 2023. The Kakanj Cement Factory hosted a mentoring session where they shared insights into their vision of the decarbonization process and plans to actively reduce their environmental footprint, as well as how they purposefully and continuously contribute to the improvement of their value chains and the development of their communities.
To mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, October 13th, a round table event on „Sendai Framework mid-term review in Bosnia and Herzegovina – accomplishments & way forward“ was held, where the key findings of the Sendai Framework assessment for Bosnia and Herzegovina were discussed. A special focus was given on four priority areas of action and necessary steps in the upcoming period - understanding the risk of disasters; strengthening disaster risk management; investing in disaster risk reduction to increase resilience; and strengthening disaster preparedness for effective response and improved rebuilding during the processes of recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
The Section for Local Economic Development and European Integration of the City of Bijeljina held a training session for employees of the City Administration on the topic of localization and promotion of SDG goals, where the results and realized projects were presented. After the training, representatives of the City Administration of Bijeljina talked to the citizens about the Sustainable Development Goals and showed them a virtual journey to 2030 through virtual reality, which took place on the new promenade. All activities were attended by Ambassador Miloš Prica, Chairman of the Council for the implementation of the SDGs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who pointed out that without local communities there is no SDG implementation, as well as that Bijeljina is a leader in the localization of sustainable development goals in BiH, and that it represents an example of good practice in the region as well.
For the last day of the SDG Week, two events were organized, the first being "Future Talks: Circular Future(s) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Beyond", which focused on the transition of the economy towards circularity, through the vision set in the draft Roadmap for a Circular Economy for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The second event focused on the comprehensive education of young people about healthy lifestyles.
"The transition to a circular economy can succeed in countries that are at different stages of development and that have different economic profiles. BiH has the perspective of being closer to the EU, and the EU is a global leader in the circular economy. The Roadmap for a Circular Economy for Bosnia and Herzegovina defines which economic sectors should be a priority in the process of transition to a green economy and is a good basis for identifying concrete methods and resources needed for its implementation. BiH can become completely circular, if society as a whole accepts this transition, including users and producers", said Steliana Nedera, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the closing.
The United Nations agencies will plant tree seedlings for all participants of the SDGs week, which will offset the CO2 emissions that occurred during the preparation and implementation of 15 events. This campaign was joined by a private company Mibral, whose employees organized reforestation action on Igman mountain.
The SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina is supported by the “Translating the SDGs Framework in BiH into Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (SDG2BiH)” initiative financed by Sweden and implemented by UNDP in partnership with UNICEF and UN Women, under the overall support of the United Nations in BiH.
About the SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina
SDG Week in BiH is a platform with the comprehensive support program for the Council for the implementation of the SDGs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, raising awareness and involving key audiences in discussions about current trends that lead to the implementation of thee 2030 Agenda and the advancement of the SDGs in BiH.
To make the world a better place to live, which is one of the priority tasks of the 2030 Agenda, it is important to harmonize local policies with the Sustainable Development Goals through the partnership of local communities and their institutional partners.