Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is implementing a three-year project in BiH worth € 3.8 million to fight air pollution – “IMPAQ”
Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to improve its air quality and air quality management before it can meet requirements for entry to the EU. According to the WHO, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of Europe’s most polluted countries and has some of the worst air quality in the world. A WHO study shows that the country faces 79.8 premature deaths per 100 000 population due to poor air quality. In other countries, for example in Sweden, the death rate is much lower, with a corresponding figure of 7.2 premature deaths per 100 000 people.
With the aim to help BiH to fight air pollution and improve air quality assessment and management systems in accordance with EU standards, since 2019 the Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), with financial support from Embassy of Sweden, is implementing a three-year project “Improving air quality and air quality management in Bosnia and Herzegovina – IMPAQ”.
This year, as part of the IMPAQ project, the beta version of the latest generation of the European Environment Association’s (EEA)’s air quality data management and reporting system, Raven, was installed in BiH. The system is developed by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) with the help from the IMPAQ project partner the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The system includes, among other things, a central database for air quality measurements and functions for reporting data to the EEA.
“By the end of this month, Bosniaand Herzegovina will prepare an annual report for 2019 for the EEAusing the new version of Raven. The difference compared to the previous versions is that it can also be used as a database, data visualizations have been improved, and some other operations used in data management have been facilitated”, saysEnis Omerčić Senior Associate in Environmental sector of Hydro-meteorological Institute of Federation of BiH.
After this reporting round, Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide feedback to NILU and SMHI regarding how the system can be further developed to meet their needs. A new round of development will occur in late 2020 and early 2021, so that a more advanced version can be installed ahead of the next reporting round in 2021.
“The new version of Raven has been significantly improved over the previous one, and with its new development, the existing reporting system in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be significantly improved. Bosnia and Herzegovina has the status of a pre-accession country for the European Union (EU), and improving cooperation with EEA and the EEA reporting process is certainly a step forward in the EU accession process”, says Ranka Radić, Head of the Department of Environmental Protection, Republic Hydro-meteorological Service of Republic of Srpska.
“With a total budget of € 3.8 million, IMPAQ project, financed by the Embassy of Sweden, aims to prepare Bosnia and Herzegovina for entry to the EU, improve overall capabilities for air quality related work, and provide the country with health benefits. It includes both short and long-term solutions to improve air quality, such as: to create harmonized emissions inventories, to establish harmonized data hosting capacity in Entity institutions that are in line with air quality protection regulations, to improve data hosting infrastructure and capacity and make available to the public in real-time a comprehensive and trusted air quality data, to develop comprehensive and harmonized reference laboratory capacity and staff training, to implement air quality improvement activities aimed at sustainable urban mobility, transport planning and regulation, hire and train inspectors to oversee industrial, and other, compliance with air quality legislation”.