The EU and Sarajevo Canton Government promote cleaner air in Sarajevo

The Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler, the Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto and the Sarajevo Canton Minister of Communal Economy, Infrastructure, Physical Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection Enver Hadžiahmetović visited the Student Dormitory in Nedžarići today to promote projects which will lead to cleaner air in Sarajevo.

The Student Dormitory in Nedžarići is one of 40 public buildings in Sarajevo (kindergartens, schools, dormitories and health facilities) that will be part of the Green City Action Plan for Sarajevo Canton, which includes work on thermal insulation of facades, replacement of dilapidated windows and doors, installation of energy efficient lighting and improvement of heating systems. The project has received 2 million euros in grants from the European Union, 8 million euros in loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 500,000 euros in grants from the Republic of Austria  and is implemented in cooperation with the government of Sarajevo Canton.

During the visit to Nedžarići, Ambassador Sattler, Prime Minister Forto and Minister Hadžiahmetović drew attention to the problem of air quality in Sarajevo Canton and other cities in BiH and presented some of the projects implemented to solve this problem as part of the ‘New Day, Better Air’ campaign.

The EU is pleased to support the government of Sarajevo Canton to reduce air pollution, but also to increase awareness of the role we, as inhabitants of Sarajevo, can play in ensuring cleaner air. The change is possible.  We have seen another cities of the world who have made this change. What it needs for that is a plan,  dedication, financial resources and then implementation. These are the important ingredients you need to have in order to move forward“, said Ambassador Sattler.

The Government of Sarajevo Canton, in cooperation with the EU Delegation to BiH as well as other partners from the international community, is implementing several projects to reduce air pollution in the Canton. “We are working on projects that will bring benefits to this city in the long run, a healthier and safer life for the inhabitants of our Canton and the generations to come. We will not stop at this. As I have always pointed out, this is not just a financial investment, but an investment in health, sustainability and the future, “said Prime Minister Forto.

Minister Hadžiahmetović pointed out that the Government of Sarajevo Canton and the Ministry are implementing a number of measures aimed at improving air quality such as works on thermal insulation of public buildings, subsidising the replacement of coal stoves and other solid fuels with new certified stoves in households and greening public areas in the Canton. “Through these projects, significant savings in energy consumption reduce emissions of harmful pollutants. Furthermore, planting new trees will help improve air quality. For better air in our Canton, citizens must take an active part, but the responsibility lies with the authorities to change our policies and find solutions, and we expect the support of our friends in the EU in order to improve the existing situation, “said Minister Hadžiahmetović.

All 27 EU member states have committed themselves to contribute to the transformation of Europe into the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. An agreement on an Action Plan for a Green Agenda for the Western Balkans within the EU Green Deal was agreed at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia. This will lead to concrete measures to implement the Green Agenda, paving the way for the use of the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the region, worth 9 billion euros in grants.

For more information on the Economic Investment Plan and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, visit the link.