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Multi-stakeholder dialogue on sustainable development of Renewable Energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Drina River Basin applying a Nexus Approach

04 - 05 December 2018
Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

Renewable energy can help achieving a variety of sustainable development objectives and various synergies could facilitate their deployment. Due to this reason, but also because of potential trade-offs related to the environment and human health both at country and transboundary level, accounting for different interests and issues early in planning and identifying strategic directions is crucial.

On 4 and 5 December 2018 in Sarajevo, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNECE (Sustainable Energy and Environment Divisions) jointly organised a multi-stakeholder dialogue entitled “Hard Talk: New Possibilities for Developing Renewable Energy Sustainably in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.  The event - supported by the Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection of Italy - aimed to uncover the most pressing barriers to the deployment of renewables in the country and featured a session on intersectoral synergies and trade-offs. The Renewable Energy Hard Talks in UNECE countries in general explore new possibilities for developing sustainable energy and promoting renewable energy investments, and lead to development of related recommendations. The intersectoral or ‘nexus” perspective in the Hard Talks in the Drina riparian countries is a feature developed with the Water Convention and the Hard Talks are part of the work of the Group of Experts on Renewable Energy (GERE).

Over 50 participants took part in the event, including policy and decision-makers, project developers, investors, technology providers and NGOs as well as international donors and financial institutions. Notably, representatives from areas of water management and environment protection were also among the participants.

Ensuring the long-term sustainability was identified as a key aspect requiring attention and measures. Spatial planning, environmental permitting, public participation, and guidelines for developers (of hydropower in particular) emerged as crucial considerations for sustainable renewable energy development. The participants recognized the value of improving the quality of environmental impact assessments required for projects and strategic assessment of policies early on, in line with the principles of the Espoo Convention and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, improving permitting and strengthening the necessary capacities within authorities, and achieving wider acceptance of renewables by developing further public participation, in line with the Aarhus Convention.

An important aspect of the discussion was the need to view the sustainable deployment of renewable energy from an inter-sectoral point of view that takes into account its impact on the water, agriculture, forestry and environmental sectors. By planning future renewables deployment holistically and across borders, through this ‘nexus’ approach, many positive synergies and benefits can be realised. Examples of such concrete opportunities for synergies are e.g. those between hydropower operation and flood protection, and using renewable energy to power rural development and sustainable tourism, illustrated in a nexus assessment of the Drina River Basin (carried out under the Water Convention in 2016-2017).

As a side event to the Hard Talks, the UNECE held a consultation on a follow up project to the nexus assessment of the Drina River Basin, which will feature a modelling exercise to explore potential scenarios of renewable energy development in the three riparian countries, and the role that the basin’s resources play in achieving national goals. This activity is funded by the Austrian Development Agency in the framework of the project “Promoting the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Southeastern Europe, through the use of the Nexus approach” and implemented by UNECE in partnership with the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean. The project uses the Water Convention’s methodological experience on the transboundary nexus and the modelling expertise of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.

Key documents

Key documents ENG BOS
Pre-meeting Discussion paper 3 December 2018 PDF  
Agenda Hard Talk 4-5 December 2018 PDF  
Agenda Side meeting on Drina analysis 5 December 2018 PDF  
List of Participants PDF  
Conclusions  PDF


The speakers have made their presentations available for download:

Hard Talk 4 December 2018 (Day 1) ENG BOS
Renewable Energy Hard Talk in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gianluca Sambucini, Secretary of the Group of Experts on Renewable Energy, UN Economic Commission for Europe
Ciljevi za obnovljive izvore energije u Bosni i Hercegovini 2020-2030, 
Sanja Kapetina, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Hard Talk: New possibilities for developing renewable energy sustainability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
Marcin Scigan, International Renewable Energy Agency 
RES Directive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
Smaranda Miron, Energy Community Secretariat 
Fostering RES through enhanced regional cooperation, 
Peter Canciani, Central European Initiative 
Hard Talk 5 December 2018 (Day 2) ENG BOS
RES development challenges in the Drina basin
Biljana Rajic, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Postupak izdavanja okolišne dozvole i učešće javnosti za elektroenergetske projekte iz obnovljivih izvora energije
Maja Bevanda, Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism 
Hydropower in the alpine Region: Figures, small hydropower and main concerns
Andrea Bianchini, Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italian Delegation to the Alpine Convention 
The nexus and transboundary dimensions of renewable energy development: trade-offs and synergies
Lucia de Strasser, UN Economic Commission for Europe 
Side meeting on the ADA Nexus project ENG BOS
The Nexus Project: Promoting the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Southeastern Europe, through the use of the Nexus approach
Annukka Lipponen, UN Economic Commission for Europe 
Proposal for a follow-up project to the Drina River Basin nexus assessment. Potential and impact of RE in the basin
Lucia de Strasser, UN Economic Commission for Europe 
Drina nexus assessment-Phase II: Proposal for quantification analysis and discussion on scenario development
Lucia de Strasser, UN Economic Commission for Europe & Vignesh Sridharan, Royal Institute of Technology