June 13, 2018
The German development organization GIZ, marked the World Environment Day on June 05 with parallel activities in Sarajevo, Subotica and Belgrade. The focus of this year’s event was on biodiversity, with special focus on protection of bees and pollination, sustainable urban mobility, climate protection, and sustainable use of natural resources, also from the perspective of renewable energy sources, creation of new jobs, and youth self-employment.
The event had a regional character and was organized by GIZ Open Regional Funds for South-East Europe – Biodiversity (ORF-BD) and Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE), in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Environment Improvement Centre Green Fest, Belgrade Youth Centre, including bilateral and regional GIZ projects from Serbia: Youth Employment Promotion, Private Sector Development in Serbia, Renewable Energy in Serbia, Biodiversity Protection at Palic and Ludas Lakes, Regional project on strengthening the cross-border tourism at the Middle and Lower Danube through the Danube Competence Center (DCC), and with the support from local and regional partner organizations.
Movie Night in Sarajevo
In Sarajevo, a Movie Night was organized at the local movie theatre Cinema City and entrance to the screenings was free for the general public, considering that the main aim of the event was public awareness raising on the topic of environmental and climate protection. Two documentary films were screened in all three cities of the two neighbouring countries. The first titled “More than Honey”, as directed by Markus Imhoof, covers the topic of bees, which have become an indispensable factor for human existence. The second movie shown was “Bikes vs. Cars”, dedicated to the topic of human obsession with cars as the dominant means of transportation worldwide, its negative effects on the environment and climate, including the need to transform the society through alternative „green“ transport modes, such as bikes.
The audience also enjoyed an exhibition of photographs on biodiversity, organized in cooperation with the NGO sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the presentation of the “Air Quality in BiH Cities’” application, developed by NGO Eko Akcija.
The opening speeches were given by representatives of the GIZ organization Azra Velagić-Hajrudinović and Jasmina Alispahić, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation Director, Marion Kraske.
On the occasion of the World Environment Day, Kraske pointed out that the marking of the day represents an important opportunity for bringing attention to environmental issues, but also to the potential of the environment. She stressed that the Heinrich Böll Foundation is active in more than 60 countries worldwide, among others, working on nature protection, decarbonization, promotion of use of renewable energy sources, promotion of energy efficiency, and particularly on creating “green” jobs.“ Kraske added “we see great potential on this subject overall, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Emina Durmo, ORF-EE Advisor for PR emphasized that action aimed at environmental and climate change protection implied the need for change in people’s mobility habits, or in the narrower sense transportation habits, through promotion of alternative means of transport, including bicycles and environmentally friendly vehicles. She stressed that special accent in South-East Europe should be on sustainable urban planning, focusing on the improvement of quality of live.
“Bio-sustainable World” in Serbia
Marking of the World Environment Day in Serbia, i.e. in Belgrade and Subotica, was organized under the motto “Bio-sustainable world”. In addition to the movie screenings, several activities were implemented, targeting the broader audience. In an authentic and attractive way potentials of new business opportunities in line with sustainable use of natural resources were presented. Furthermore, a panel discussion was held at the Belgrade Youth Centre, highlighting the importance of beekeeping, for which biodiversity, preserved habitats and organic production are extremely important factors. It encouraged the GIZ, its partners, and other participants to think of new business opportunities and ideas for future activities regarding environmental protection. At the same time, an interactive exhibition with installations titled “Life in a Hive” and “Hotel for Insects” took place.
“The exhibition offered an insight into the life and habitat of bees an insects, and encouraged public awareness raising about the economic and social roles of bees, especially through their contribution to the functionality of the ecosystem and ecosystem services, or the role of bees in pollination, quality and production of food, etc.”, Kristina Kujundžić, ORF-BD Senior Project Manager said.
The exhibition was held as part of the “Green Square”, where residents could taste various local organic products, take a virtual tour of a factory, experiencing the process of pellet production from biomass for use in power plants. Furthermore, the virtual tour enabled people to virtually examine their readiness for cycling ventures along the Danube cycle route EuroVelo 6, and routes from Subotica to the Palić and Ludaš Lakes.
According to Ivana Jovičić from the Environment Improvement Centre Green Fest “A combination of successful partnership and great program quality resulted in an excellent atmosphere, interesting topics addressed and significant interest of the public for the event.” She also stressed that the partnership between Green Fest and GIZ is a best practice example and a platform for further development of similar activities, which would, for the entire region, provide a future with access to interesting high quality information on environmental protection.
The event in Subotica started with a cycling tour through the city. After the movie screenings, a discussion on challenges of modern beekeeping, in line with sustainable use of natural resources, was held. Along with these events, visitors of the Open University Gallery of Subotica had the opportunity to get acquainted with the history of Palić and Ludaš lake through photographs made by Michel Rohman and Nikola Tumbas.
“Bio-sustainable World in Subotica attracted media attention, and was marked by great interests for environmental documentaries. On this occasion, cyclists of the “Spartak” Club, together with citizens of Subotica, took a short cycle route through the heart of Subotica, sending the message that people could at least occasionally replace their cars with bicycles and contribute to lowering air pollution, less traffic jams and certainly a cleaner city”, Snježa Mitrović, from the Open University in Subotica, stated.
The events in all three cities carried a strong message that the fight for environmental protection needs to be intensified if humans intend to continue enjoying the benefits of the planet they live on. Another important conclusion was that the fight for the environment and climate protection does not only represent an expenditure, but also an opportunity for new jobs, and certainly improvement of the quality of life.