H.E. Dr. Dragan Mikerevic
Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina

at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
3 September 2002

Heads of States, 
Ladies and Gentlemen

In 1992, when the historic Conference was taking place in Rio, a tragic conflict started in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a conflict that not only prevented us from taking part in the work of the conference but also, during more than three years, caused huge human casualties and material destruction that practically held up the general development and BiH participation in international development processes.

After signing the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995, great efforts have been invested into reconstruction and rehabilitation with a view of building a modem country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to international support, for which we are very grateful, we have managed to reconstruct an important part of infrastructure and settlements, but we are still facing a serious work on democratic processes development, further organization of the country and stimulating its development.

Due to three events citizens of BiH as well as businessmen have not got enough knowledge about the idea of sustainable development. It is only that the preparation of this conference Rio + 10 has contributed, though the national assessment of the sustainable development in BiH and the held workshops and meetings, to speak about the sustainable development more loudly. These activities were followed by the establishment of the Steering Committee for sustainable development at the beginning of this year, made up of state administration representatives, businessmen, scientists, non governmental organizations and the others concerned. Bosnia and Herzegovina is doing now some serious catch-up with the rest of the world.

One of the main BiH Foreign Policy priorities is the complete inclusion into the European integration processes with the final goal of the accession to the European Union. Efforts have been continuously invested into harmonization of the legal system with the European standards and ratification of major international environment agreements as well as their active implementation. In the year 2000 BiH accomplished the ratification of the Convention on Climate Changes. Recently, we have sent the instruments of accession for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Land Desertification to the BiH UN Mission in New York. The procedure of accession and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is to follow in BiH. Many threats are our common threats - that represents an unavoidable effect of globalization - and can only be effectively dealt with by the concerted efforts. It is the responsibility of every country to devote itself to eradication of poverty and sustainable development. However, it is important to say that rich countries should take the leading role in sustainable development progress. It is the responsibility of the international community to meet the goals of the Millennium Declaration and expectation that the OECD States shall provide 0,70% of GNP for the support of the undeveloped.

Poorer countries are doing their best in a very difficult situation. They may succeed only if the rich countries seriously support market liberalization that includes reforms or cancellation of certain forms of subventions and to contribute to the decrease of global pollution (specially in regard to air pollution and Kyoto Convention).

Sustainable development is closely linked to the emergence of the private entrepreneurship and access to markets, education, health protection as well as to the natural resources management. Bosnia and Herzegovina strives to reach the balance between the three elements of sustainable development: economy, social goals and the environmental protection. Less developed countries face a number of problems which they try to solve by unification of a) internal stability/good governance, b) creation of appropriate environment to secure the balanced and fair sharing of the benefits of globalization, c) international cooperation.

Bosnia and Herzegovina experiences the deep social and economic transition. Many countries, due to the inaction of the existing systems (organizational, technological) hardly accept the new forms of development. BiH is in a situation in which many events have lead to the need of more significant changes of those systems, so that BiH is in a way predisposed and takes advantage in regard to the sustainable development, advantage that should be used.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country which however may play an important role in Europe in the sphere of biodiversity, it is rich in water resources, and it has a highly qualified population. Iits efforts towards EU integration, and its huge human potential, will signify that it will have a role to play that will be more important than the size of the country or the quantity of the population could indicate.