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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


The Bosnian territory is divided into 42% mountains, 29% karst area, 24% hills and 5% lowlands. Protected areas cover only 0.65% of the territory, distributed between 155 sites, while forests cover about 50 % of the territory. Although no complete inventory has yet been completed, species diversity is one of the highest of the European countries due to the presence of heterogeneous habitats developed under the conditions of Mediterranean, mountainous sub-Mediterranean, and continental climates. It is estimated that 30% of the total endemic flora of the Balkans is contained within the flora of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). According to the World Resource Institute, most taxonomic groups have few threatened species, with the exception of fishes, for which 25 of the 77 species are threatened. The major threats to biodiversity include damages caused by war and minefields, water drainage of habitats and introduction of new species.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

B&H is preparing a protection program for 15-20% of the territory and is aligning its natural heritage protection standards with those of the IUCN. Programs are also being prepared for the sustainable use of forests, endemic species, refuge centers, high-mountain areas and mountain lakes. The creation of a national gene bank for domesticated plants and animals is planned as well as a systematic inventory of invasive species. Finally, there is preparation of a program for the stabilization and gradual diminishing of acid and green house gasses. It is worth mentioning that war activities in Bosnia started in the period of creation of the Convention on biodiversity and the World Summit. In the post war period, following the consolidation of capacities, processes to promote the significance of biodiversity in sustainable development started.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

In recent years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has undertaken activities aimed at establishing new protected areas. Feasibility studies for the Una National Park, which includes the Una River basin, and two other Areas of Significant Importance are under way. There is also the integrated river basin management project for the Sava River, which is currently undergoing the implementation phase. This project is aimed at identifying wetlands in Posavina to be introduced in a network of protected areas. Finally, B&H is currently in the accession phase into the Pan-European ecological network for the establishment of the Emerald network in the country. One of the major obstacles to the creation of new and management of existing protected areas is that financial means have not yet been systematically ensured.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Actions in relation to capacity building and involvement of indigenous and local communities have not been taken to the extent required. Mechanisms that provide involvement of and financial support to local and indigenous communities have not been adequately elaborated. Hence, the outcomes in implementation of the respective Articles of the Convention are not appropriate.

Cantonal action plans (KEAP) are being initiated in which biodiversity, natural and cultural heritage issues are treated. These plans include the assessment of the current state of biodiversity and measures for sustainable use of natural heritage. Both cantonal and local action plans are based on public accession into decision-making process. Impending actions to be taken in B&H are in respect to collection, conservation and use of traditional knowledge, capacity building and involvement of local and indigenous communities in implementation of the Convention.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme