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The third SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized: Inclusion, Green Development, and Empowerment of Women in the Spotlight

The third SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), an annual event aimed at promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in BiH, has successfully concluded. This year, the number of activities has increased, and the comprehensive program included numerous events during which both domestic and foreign experts shared their experiences, analyses, and perspectives for inclusive, green, and fairer development of the country. 

The opening event of SDG Week in BiH was “SDG Localization in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Turning Great Ideas into Action,” during which various initiatives and strategies for achieving sustainable development goals at the local level were presented. Representatives from Sweden, Albania, Serbia, and Italy shared good practices in localizing the SDGs in their respective countries. 

Ms. Helena Lagerlöf, the Designated Ambassador of Sweden to BiH, expressed, “The EU accession progress and Agenda 2030 are, in many aspects, complementary and mutually reinforcing. Sweden is committed to both and will continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in succeeding on both fronts.” 

Continuing with events in Sarajevo, UNICEF in BiH, under the SDG2BIH Program, organized a three-day workshop with local partners on the importance of social inclusion in planning social services at the local level. The third notable event took place at the Medical Faculty in Zenica, titled “Healthy Aging,” organized in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in BiH. Zdena Šarić, one of the 50 Healthy Aging UN leaders transforming the world to make it a better place for aging, emphasized the challenges faced by older people and the need for a stronger support network. 

On the second day of SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in collaboration with OHCHR, consultations were held on the assessment of the human rights situation for persons with disabilities in BiH. The Human Rights Team at the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in BiH brought together key stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing people with disabilities throughout the country. The conference presented findings and recommendations from the draft Assessment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Numerous relevant actors, institutions, and associations of persons with disabilities had the opportunity to provide their perspectives, ensuring a holistic approach to the consideration of this vital document. 

In addition to presenting the findings, the focus was on introducing associations of persons with disabilities to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their role in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and empowering them and their associations, promoting their active participation in decision-making processes. 

On the third day of the SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three conferences took place in Sarajevo: 

  • “SDG Financing Instruments in BiH – Strategic Investment Fund(s): Perspectives and Opportunities to Accelerate SDGs in BiH”: This conference brought together key figures from the BiH government and international organizations to discuss the potential and opportunities for strategic financing in support of sustainable development. 
  • A meeting of government representatives in BiH and the international community focused on “The Transition Towards Circular Economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Establishment of a Green Transition Engagement Platform.” During this gathering, UNDP introduced its upcoming Green Transition program and extended an invitation to key stakeholders to join this initiative. 
  • “CirculARISE: Unleashing Sustainable Futures for SMEs” took place at the Foreign Trade Chamber in BiH. This event emphasized the importance of the circular economy for small and medium-sized enterprises and encouraged collaboration between the private and public sectors to transition toward a circular economy. 

In Doboj, a conference titled “Partnering for Real Impact in Communities” was organized by WHO. This event brought together partners from various health sectors to exchange best practices, promote collaboration, and stimulate dialogue on providing health services to vulnerable groups. 

On the fourth day of the SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo hosted four significant events that reaffirmed the country’s commitment to sustainable development principles and the empowerment of women in society: 

  • The conference “Strengthening the Position of Women at Work and their Ability to Participate Equally in Current Labour Markets in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” organized by UNDP and UN Women, brought together leading experts and decision-makers to discuss strategies and initiatives for the economic empowerment of women. 
  • This was followed by the “Dialogue on SDG5 with women’s civil society organizations,” an event organized by UN Women, which provided a platform for discussing key priorities for promoting gender equality and empowering women in BiH. 
  • An independent event within the SDG Week in BiH was hosted by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) on the topic of “Local Approaches to the Prevention and Combat Against Family Violence with a Focus on Violence Against Women in BiH.” This event emphasized the importance of local initiatives and strategies to combat this serious issue in our society. 
  • The day concluded with a community of practitioners meeting in the field of digital transformation in the public sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This event presented the latest initiatives and achievements related to digital transformation in the public sector, with a focus on UNDP’s “Digital Transformation in the Public Sector in BiH” project.On the last day of the SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, significant events were held to emphasize our commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and improving various aspects of society. 

The event “Fusion Fiesta Sports 4 Peace: Breaking Barriers, Amplifying Voices,” organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) project “Moving Us Closer,” united the community to promote inclusion and combat hate speech through sports. The Fusion Fiesta celebration, a part of the Inclusive Fusion Fiesta Festival, took place in Tuzla, the third of seven inclusive games. This initiative will continue its mission to promote social inclusion, peace, and unity in Brčko and East Sarajevo, concluding the tour in Banja Luka on November 1, 2023. 

UNDP organized the Climate Action Academy in Bihać, with a focus on educating selected officials about critical climate change issues. This program underscored the significance of intergovernmental collaboration on green policies at all levels to enhance preparedness and responses to climate change challenges. 

Dr. Ingrid Macdonald, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in BiH, commented, “Last month’s SDG summit in New York confirmed that the environment and humanity are facing an unprecedented planetary crisis. The world is at a precipice with the climate crisis, we are seeing the hottest year on record. There is renewed conflict around the world, escalating inflation, and the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic are negatively impacting those who have the least.” 

UNHCR presented the children’s book “Magic Sight” in Velika Kladuša and Bihać to promote understanding of refugee children and their families. This story of hope and courage aimed to raise awareness of the refugee population and the need for support and understanding. 

WHO organized the event “Emergency Situations and the Environment” in Livno to foster a dialogue among healthcare sector partners. The event emphasized the necessity of collaboration and mutual support to better address healthcare challenges, especially within the context of vulnerable groups such as migrants, the long-term unemployed, families with young children, and ethnic minorities. 

The conclusion of the SDG Week featured a concert on Vilsonovo šetalište, showcasing a well-known Bosnian artist and singer, Laka. The concert aimed to further raise awareness about recycling, and the concert tickets had a special ecological theme.  

UN agencies that organized events during the SDG Week in BiH will plant tree seedlings for all participants through the TvojCO2 platform to offset the CO2 emissions generated during the preparation and implementation of the 17 events. 

About the SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina 

The SDG Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina provides a platform for meetings, consultations, and discussions to promote the SDGs in the country. This is a UN instrument to support the SDG Council in BiH in raising awareness and involving key stakeholders in discussions about successful stories, new trends, and lessons learned that lead to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in BiH. 

The SDG Week in BiH is supported by the initiative “Translating the SDGs Framework in BiH into Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (SDG2BiH)”, funded by Sweden and implemented by UNDP in partnership with UNICEF and UN Women, as part of the overall United Nations program to support the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in coordination with the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in BiH.