Engaging the community: Breza municipality's “Vision 2050”

Engaging the community: Breza municipality's “Vision 2050” Leaving No One Behind. Photo: BiH SuTra.

On 11 October 2023, the municipality of Breza hosted a forum to shape the collective "Vision 2050," a pivotal component of the "Sustainable transition of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH SuTra)" programme.

The "Vision 2050" event marked the initiation of the first programme activity following the official launch of BiH SuTra and the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in late September 2023. The MoU brought together mayors and representatives from four pilot municipalities/cities – Breza, Banovići, Ugljevik, and Živinice – alongside delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency - Sida).

Empowering communities for a sustainable tomorrow

BiH SuTra advocates for a grassroots approach, encouraging local communities to devise transition plans and implement comprehensive policies in coal regions across Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The four pilot areas – Banovići, Breza, Ugljevik, and Živinice – with a combined population of approximately 105,000 residents, will serve as inspiration and role models for other coal regions in BiH.

In August of this year, the BiH SuTra programme team presented the generic "Vision 2050" to representatives of the pilot municipalities/cities and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH. To tailor the generic vision to the unique needs of each local community, forums for the common vision "Vision 2050" are scheduled in each pilot municipality/city. Breza municipality pioneered this effort, organizing a forum that brought together citizens and stakeholders.

Vedad Jusić, Mayor of Breza municipality, expressed, "Breza, as a local community, is at the heart of numerous energy transition projects aiming to familiarize the population and relevant stakeholders with the upcoming changes. We are committed to following guidelines to ensure a fair transition by 2050, safeguarding jobs, local economic development, and the residents' presence in our area. Collaborating with our partners and international organizations, we are learning how to transform our existing resources into a promising, eco-friendly, and economically sustainable future that ensures the well-being of everyone residing here."

Vedad Jusić, Mayor of Breza Municipality. Photo: BiH SuTra.

A just transition: leaving no one behind

Central to "Vision 2050" is active community engagement and a participatory approach that leaves no one behind. The Breza forum brought together representatives from the municipality of Breza, public and educational institutions, the business community, non-governmental organizations, and the media. Through creative exercises, participants identified current challenges and answered fundamental questions: "Where do we want to be, and how do we want to live in the future?"

Visioning event in Breza. Photo: BiH SuTra.

Adna Jusić, an employee at Breza coal mine, shared, "A just transition involves everyone, from all age groups, institutions, to various organizations. Events like these give us the opportunity to shape our future collectively."

Adna Jusić, employee at Breza coal mine. Photo: BiH SuTra.

Ranko Makijević, representing the Association of persons with disabilities in the municipality of Breza, emphasized the importance of the voice of vulnerable groups, stating, "Persons with disabilities are often overlooked. Today, I am here to contribute to shaping Breza's future, ensuring that the voices of disabled individuals are heard."

For those unable to attend the forum, active participation is still possible through an online survey within the BiH SuTra programme, allowing citizens and stakeholders to share their visions for Breza municipality.

Vision 2050: a dynamic document shaped by the community

Input gathered from participants will influence the development of "Vision 2050," accessible on the municipality of Breza's website in the upcoming period. This dynamic document will undergo continuous updates until the municipality of Breza's Transition Plan is adopted, anticipated in the summer of 2024. The proposals and visions generated are instrumental in defining concrete measures and activities aligned with the Green Plan for the Western Balkans. Additionally, a financial analysis will identify funding sources for proposed measures, supported by the programme over the next 1.5 years.

Throughout October and November 2023, similar forums for defining the common "Vision 2050" will be held in other pilot municipalities/cities: Ugljevik (12 October 2023), Živinice (17 October  2023), and Banovići (1 November 2023).


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