USAID: Big step forward
The USAID Energy Policy Assistance Project in BiH (EPA) as well as previous USAID activities, together with the BiH authorities, have been for the long time conducting the permitting procedures for the construction of energy facilities.
The aim of these activities is to simplify the procedures and make it easier for the investors to invest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the same time respecting the highest standards of the environmental protection and sustainable development.
The conducted analyzes pointed out to numerous shortcomings in the existing legislative framework governing the field of environmental protection, which result in a dissatisfaction of both investors (at one side) and citizens on the other, and significantly complicate the work of the competent authorities.
The adoption of the new FBiH Law on the Environment would be a major step forward in the EU integration process and, at the same time, the advancement in the energy sector reform process.
“This situation results in an unfavorable environment for the investors, but also in a high degree of opposition from the local communities and citizens when it comes to project implementation.
Therefore, it is clear that it is necessary to innovate the legal framework in this area and harmonize it with the highest standards of the environmental protection, which is the obligation of Bosnia and Herzegovina arising from EU directives,” concluded Mak Kamenica, USAID EPA Chief of Party.
The new FBiH Law on Environment would determine clearer and simpler procedures for obtaining decisions and permits, shorter deadlines for decision and resolution making, while more frequent inspections, stricter penalties for the Law violators and greater responsibility for the environmental damage would raise the protection of the environment to a new level.
“By passing the new law, after seventeen years, we would make a big step towards harmonizing the legal framework in this area with the EU requirements. The benefits for the BiH citizens and the economy are numerous, but I would like to emphasize that this act will enable the better environmental protection and more comprehensive public participation in the environmental issues, informing and involving the public in the decision-making process and ensuring the right of access to judiciary,” stated Edita Djapo, Minister of Tourism and Environment of FBiH.