Shaping the future together: Municipality of Ugljevik's “Vision 2050“

Shaping the future together: Municipality of Ugljevik's “Vision 2050“ Individuals coming together for a common goal. Photo: Ema Midžić.

In a significant stride toward a greener, more sustainable future, the Municipality of Ugljevik hosted the "Vision 2050" event on 12 October 2023, as part of the BiH SuTra programme.

Building on the success of a similar initiative in the Municipality of Breza, this event brought together a diverse array of citizens and stakeholders, including government officials, non-governmental organizations, private sector representatives, academics, and media, all unified in their commitment to shaping a better tomorrow for Ugljevik and its people.

Vanja Zekić, deputy mayor of the Municipality of Ugljevik, shared the municipality's unique challenges and hopes for the future, saying: “We live in a municipality rich in coal, which is vital for our community's livelihood. However, we face ecological concerns related to pollution and the eventual depletion of our coal reserves. The BiH SuTra programme aims to offer innovative ideas to ensure a sustainable and prosperous life for our citizens in the years to come."

Vanja Zekić, Deputy Mayor of Ugljevik Municipality. Photo: Darko Đuračić.

A locally based approach

Central to the BiH SuTra programme is a locally based approach, urging communities like Ugljevik to craft transition plans and implement comprehensive policies in coal regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Ugljevik, alongside Banovići, Breza and Živinice, serves as a pilot Municipality, with these areas collectively inspiring and modeling transitions for other coal regions in the nation.

Empowering citizen participation

The event provided a platform for active citizen involvement. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions, reconciling the challenges and opportunities unique to Ugljevik. Milorad Jovičić, head of the office of the mayor of the Municipality of Ugljevik, expressed his optimism about the event's outcomes, emphasizing the importance of the community's input in shaping Ugljevik's independent future: "I'm pleased with the active engagement of my colleagues who joined us today to establish and develop our vision. The methodology we employed was incredibly interesting. I'm hopeful that the efforts we made today will serve as an initial stepping stone in the creation of the Transition Plan for the Municipality of Ugljevik. This plan is essential in guiding us effectively, ensuring that Ugljevik will have its unique perspective, thus paving the way for our independent and sustainable future."

Visioning team. Photo: Darko Đuračić.

Building a collective vision

Slavica Ristić, representing the public institution sports and recreational center “Ugljevik“, underscored the event's significance. “It not only offered educational opportunities but also paved the way for progress, survival, and a better life for the current and future population of Ugljevik“, said Ristić.

Citizen engagement remains crucial, and for those unable to attend the forum, active participation is still possible through an online survey.

A living document for a sustainable tomorrow

The insights and suggestions gathered from participants will directly influence the creation of "Vision 2050," a dynamic document continuously updated until the Transition Plan of the Municipality of Ugljevik is adopted, expected in late summer 2024. This document will serve as a foundation, guiding concrete measures and activities aligned with the Green Plan for the Western Balkans. Financial analysis will identify funding sources for proposed measures, further supported by the BiH SuTra programme over the next 1.5 years.

Looking Ahead

Following the success of the events in Breza and Ugljevik, similar forums are slated for Živinice on 17 October 2023, and Banovići on 1 November 2023. These gatherings underscore the collective commitment of these communities to charting a sustainable course toward 2050 and beyond.

BiH SuTra is implemented by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) with the support of the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency - Sida).

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