The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, as secretariat of the Themis Network, organised a national training in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), the management of protected areas, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Partner institutions, ministries, NGOs, public institutions for the management of protected areas, and high-level representatives from both entities and Brčko District gathered at the Hotel Mostar on May 10-12, 2016.
The main objective was to present existing legislation and to further support law enforcement by developing the skills and capacities of representatives of institutions dealing with SEA/EIA/the management of protected areas and CITES, while strengthening cooperation and identifying future objectives. The training was also an opportunity to learn about the experiences and main achievements of Croatia as an EU member state.
The training was chaired by Ms. Lejla Šuman, director of REC Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was opened by Mr. Igor Jevtić, Themis focal point and senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Welcoming remarks were delivered by Mr. Zejnil Trešnjo, minister assistant at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Environmental Protection of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton.
On the first day of the training, six sessions focused on SEA and EIA issues. A detailed overview of the SEA and EIA Directives was presented, and ministry representatives then outlined the legal framework for EIA and SEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the status of implementation. Representatives of NGOs shared their experiences related to NGO responsibility in the SEA and EIA processes, after which Croatian participants spoke about their experiences of SEA in different situations and projects.
The second day of the training was devoted to nature protection and the management of protected areas. A presentation delivered by representatives from the State Institute for Nature Protection of Croatia covered management documents, acts on the conservation and protection of nature, and the main threats to protected areas in Croatia. The day ended with a visit to the Vjetrenica Cave, allowing participants to see for themselves a positive example of the management of a protected area in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The third day of the training focused on CITES. Representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the current status of implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after which representatives of the Directorate for Inspection Affairs of Croatia spoke about related EU-funded projects in which they have participated, as well as the results of the application of the convention in Croatia.
The event also provided a broad forum for discussion and exchange on the obstacles and challenges to be addressed, in terms of both the legal framework and the institutional set-up and the respective resources.