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Bosnia doubles protected area and opens parks for free! #withnature

Bosnia and Herzegovina is doubling the proportion of land area to be classified as protected from 2% of its territory to at least 4%, in a political commitment ensuring citizens can connect with nature in the spirit of World Environment Day.


From mountain peaks to the Adriatic Sea, bubbling thermal springs and crawling beetles, plants or fish unique to the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina is truly rich in nature.


Under the move to increase the country’s protected area, the ‘Mediteranetum’ Botanical reserve in Neum, the Miljacka river spring and Govještica caves, the Livanjsko polje Ramsar site, the Rakitnica river canyon, Tišina and Mt. Orjen - Mt. Bijela Gora are all sites where development is to be strictly controlled and measures introduced to protect wildlife. New areas are shown on this map in yellow and orange while existing ones are in grey.


This major initiative is part of a project run by UN Environment and the Global Environment Facility and will allow people to connect even more nature and enjoy the benefits it brings.


Local government representatives and NGOs from each of the areas set to be reclassified were among the 150 people gathering in Sarajevo on 5 June in the Botanical Garden of the country’s National Museum.  


There, they highlighted the benefits brought by protecting nature and attended a musical and ballet performance with performers dressed ‘in nature’. A panel discussion was held with managers of protected areas, experts and researchers.


In order to celebrate World Environment Day, national parks in the Canton of Sarajevo were also opened for free across Bosnia on 5 June – handing citizens the opportunity to explore such natural wonders.


Citizens were invited to get out of the city for a day to visit natural sites including the gushing Skakavac Waterfalls, Bijambare Cave, Mt. Trebević and River Bosna’s natural spring. Some 1200 people visited the Vrelo Bosne spring alone, while more than 30 schools also held lessons outdoors to celebrate the Day.


Meanwhile, we all know that witnessing nature’s beauty can require a little patience or digging – whether waiting for an elusive bird to reappear or searching for worms or fungi underfoot.


In the same way, in order to support journalists digging for stories, a media workshop was organised by UN Environment and partners at the Šabiæi School in Nature near Mt. Bjelašnica – one of the new areas to be protected - on 31 May.


There, conservation professionals, NGO representatives and academia presented journalists with information on environmental issues rarely reported on, together with the human stories behind them.


The Botanical Garden event was organized by the Environmental Protection Fund of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is supported by UN Environment and facilitated by McCann Sarajevo.


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