United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Steliana Nedera dedicated her most recent blogpost to the issue of air pollution in the country.

Nedera noted that 30-year-olds living in Sarajevo, Zenica or almost any other city or town in Bosnia and Herzegovina are permanently exposed to polluted air. “Statistics say your life span will be shorter by at least a year just because of the air you breathe”, she wrote.

The UNDP Resident Representative explained that the poor air quality throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina was always the consequence of combustion of different fossil fuels, “which the country has been dependent on for so long that even this dependence is considered as its natural resource”.

According to Nedera, this practice can and needs to change in two ways: by changing the sources of energy and by reducing energy consumption.

She underlined that the UNDP had capacity, willingness and determination to assist countries throughout the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, to implement both of these processes.

Nedera emphasized the need for decarbonization - in other words, reduction of reliance on fossil fuels - and stressed that climate crisis and the crisis of public health, caused by long-lasting exposure to air pollution in many parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, demanded concrete action.  

UNDP is ready to help those in charge of creating and implementing policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina to start systematically implementing their international obligations and local plans in the field of air and climate protection, for their citizens and together with their citizens”, wrote Nedera, and conveyed three concrete messages to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Be informed and take care of your health (…) by adjusting your daily activities to quality of air”, she wrote. Nedera added that economy had to be the leader in decarbonization process, and concluded that attitude towards public transportation and personal vehicles needed to change. “The impact of a technically defective vehicle on the health is enormous both for the driver and his environment”, she wrote.

The UNDP Resident Representative concluded that countries and cities of the 21st century could not hope for sustainable development if they had based their development on dependence on fossil fuels and practices from previous centuries.