Economic Basis for Cooperation in the Sava River Basin

According to the Labor Force Survey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the structure of employees by activity in 2011 shows that 51,5 % were employed in services, 28,9% in non-agricultural sectors (industries), and 19,6% in agriculture. The number of unemployed persons in 2011 was 310.947. The percentage of unemployed in 2011 compared with 2010 increased by 0,4% and thus the unemployment rate in 2011 was 27, 6%. The highest unemployment rate of 39,0% was in Brčko District, than in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was 29,2%, and the lowest unemployment rate of 24,5% was in Republika Srpska

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Legal Framework for Cooperation in the Sava Basin

The establishment of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe (SP) in 1999, provided a solid basis for the cooperation in the region. Mutual negotiations of the Sava countries, conducted under the auspices of the SP, resulted in the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB) and the Protocol of Navigation, on December 3rd 2002, in Kranjska Gora (Slovenia), between Republic of Slovenia, Republic of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the later State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and than only the Republic of Serbia).

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Regional Cooperation within the Sava Commission for Sustainable Development of Bosnia&Herzegovina

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Regional cooperation between countries of South-Eastern Europe has made a qualitative shift from externally guided actions towards the active and responsible engagement, with the aim of the sustainable development of the region. This change was accompanied with transformation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe into the Regional Cooperation Council. The formation of the Regional Cooperation Council, with the Secretariat in Sarajevo, marks a major shift in policy towards the region of the international community. These countries began a new phase of “regional ownership and responsibility” for regional cooperation. In this regard, the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin, concluded between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Serbia, is of particular importance. Therefore, this agreement includes all the functions of water resources management – the establishment of an international regime of navigation on the Sava River and its tributaries, the establishment of sustainable water management and prevention or limitation of the hazards in the basin effects of floods, ice, droughts and incidents substances that are harmful to water. International Sava River Basin Commission (Sava Commission) was formed as a permanent body in charge of implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin, development of the Action Plan for the Sava River Basin and the adoption of necessary legal acts and the Protocols. Cooperation in the Sava Commission is based on the application of EU directives in the field of water and harmonization of the legislation with the EU legislation.

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National Climate Change Strategies Should Target the Roots of the Problem

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It is crucial to harmonize climate policy with key national policies – such as sustainable development, energy, transport, agriculture and rural development, forestry, biodiversity, water and spatial planning – and so creating a strong, coherent and holistic environmental policy framework, which is able to identify and effectively tackle the drivers behind systemic problems. In order to really target the drivers, an economic paradigm shift is needed, resulting in new socio-economic macro-structure with lower demand for natural resources and space.

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CEEweb’s recommendations on climate change – Nature Conservation

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In CEEweb’s view, the most important goal of conservation strategies should be to maintain and if possible, strengthen the natural adaptation capacity of ecosystems. To achieve that, all kinds of anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity loss need to be decreased by targeting their common drivers. If the drivers remain untouched, we do nothing more than eliminate one pressure but at the same time enhance another one, leaving the challenge of biodiversity loss unsolved. This was exactly the case with the European Union’s efforts to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, which failed because its numerous measures were no more than end-of-pipe solutions.

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CEEweb’s recommendations on climate change – Forestry

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European forests will also be seriously challenged by climate change. Maintaining healthy, well managed forests are essential not only in tropical countries but in Europe too: they are home to thousands of species, and protect soils and watersheds from erosion. They act as carbon stores, absorbing greenhouse gases and preventing their release into the atmosphere. The natural area of several European tree species will be likely to shift as a response to climate change, and therefore there will probably be changes in species composition of many forests. Migration of species will be enhanced; however it is often difficult due to intensive forest management as well as natural and anthropogenic barriers. The resilience and adaptation capacity of forests against climate change largely depends on their natural dynamics as well as biological (i.e. diversity of micro-habitats, species and genetic variables within species) and structural diversity (i.e. age distribution of trees as well as mosaic-structures with large trees, openings, young groups, deadwood and in certain habitat types, patches of grasslands and wetlands).

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CEEweb’s recommendations on climate change – Water

Vodopad Frenka Lojda Rajta

One of the most important concerns in the face of climate change is that of water, as it is severely impacted and brings significant pressures for adaptation. Water is already effected in many different ways: rainfall patterns are being changed, run-off generation mechanisms modified, and extreme hydrological events (water scarcity and heavy floods) are becoming more frequent and severe with large regional variation, causing increased damages. At the same time, our water use practices are also being changed. In spite of advanced technologies, human pressure on freshwater resources is increasing, leading to overexploitation of renewable water availability in several regions, which is aggravated with additional pressures such as pollution, urbanization, deforestation, land use change and development in flood prone areas (e.g. intensive agriculture, settlements or major new users of water). These pressures result in biodiversity loss and degradation of water based ecosystems, with increased spread of invasive alien species.

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CEEweb’s recommendations on climate change – Agriculture

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Agriculture is multifunctional: yield is just one piece of the agricultural system’s outputs. There are several other direct products such as fibres and compost, but also services such as maintaining soil biodiversity, water supply and carbon sequestration, many of which are critically important for long-term sustainability. There are several possibilities in agricultural management to enhance the efficiency of these services at marginal costs, provided that the right management techniques are recognized and implemented. Yet yield receives unbalanced big priority in today’s agriculture allowing intensive techniques to maximize production, while soil biodiversity is not considered to be a productive factor.

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The Necessity of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change at National Level

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The global climate system is determined by the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere, and is extremely complex with a lot of non-linear connections, the understanding of which requires system-thinking. In spite of that, climate policy in most cases deals solely with the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, although alteration of biogeochemical cycles through excessive use of natural resources and decrease of natural surface cover due to degradation of ecosystems are, though very hard to tackle, just as determining causes of climate change.

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