Mayors from Bosnia and Herzegovina are learning from the Czechs
In the middle of July, representatives of the Laktashi, Maglaj, Livno and Jezero municipalities visited the Czech Republic for almost a week. Waste sorting, recycling, and sustainable energy sources were issues that they were interested in the most. They were inspired by what they saw in the Czech municipalities, which have been successfully dealing with problems similar to those in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina can learn from the Czech Republic – e.g. how to improve good governance, how to go about waste management and how to involve citizens in the development of municipalities.
First, the mayors went to Prague where they met Mr. Aleš Dresler from the National Network of Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic. The KOKOZA association provided the mayors with valuable information about composting.
After that, the mayors visited Kněžice, which has the status of the first energy self-sufficient municipality in the Czech Republic. Milan Kazda, the Mayor of Knežice, talked about utilizing bio-waste from pits so that no separate sewage system has to be built. This is useful information, as sewage systems are not very common in small Bosnian towns, nor are district heating systems. Thanks to its smart solution, Kněžice saves up to 11 thousand tons of CO2 emissions every year, which would otherwise be produced by coal.
The Bosnian mayors had the opportunity to see both biogas plants and pellet machines. Fifty percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina is covered with forests, so sharing experiences about how to use wood chips effectively is crucial for the further economic growth of Bosnian towns.
After Kněžice, the mayors visited Šumperk and Zlín where they learned about Czech standards pertaining to waste management, European initiatives of local action groups (LAGs) and current trends in water management.
“We have been focusing on the sharing of experience in the field of sustainable development. Czech and Bosnian officials can learn from each other, therefore we arranged an opportunity for them to meet. Our principal objective is to improve organization and working methods of local authorities, but also to support international collaboration between the two countries,“ explains Iva Svobodová, PIN’s Project Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnian mayors learned that even small municipalities could take part in big development projects. Their plans are quite bold: Laktashi wants to build an efficient waste management system; Maglaj has been working on a district heating system; Livno would like to enhance its waste sorting activities and Jezero is in the process of planning projects utilizing water energy.
This project was organized by People in Need and the Association of Local Authorities. It was funded by the Czech Republic under the Experts Exchange Programme and administered by the Czech Development Agency.