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Members of Zelena mreža BiH are marking Earth Day 2022 with cleaning and afforestation activities in seven cities

During the period 20 April to 23 April 2022, on the occasion of Earth Day,  more than 350 young people of the Zelena mreža will take part in cleaning and afforestation actions in Bijeljina, Kladanj, Bihać, Čitluk, Mostar, Konjic and Vareš , in partnership with and with the financial support of the United Nations Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNDP BiH) and the Italian Embassy in Sarajevo.

Earth Day has become a major opportunity to showcase and encourage the engagement and mobilization of civil society worldwide to protect our planet. This year, during the campaign, young activists from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, gathered around Zelena mreža BiH, engage in environmental and nature protection through cleaning up and tree planting activities

The Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to BiH, H.E. Marco Di Ruzza, expressing support for these actions, emphasizing that “For the second year in a row, the Italian Embassy is celebrating the Earth Day with more than 300 young volunteers and environmental activists from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to our partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the cooperation established with Italian NGOs such as CISP and local organizations. We promoted this initiative last year in the framework of the Italian co-chairmanship of Cop26 and called this group of dedicated and passionate friends the “Zelena mreža”, to stress the intent of building and strengthening a network of young committed people in the whole country. The enthusiasm, dedication and energy that we have been witnessing are the reasons that brought us to continue and strengthen this project. Through this project, Italy also intends to promote exchanges and internal mobility of groups of young people from different communities within the country.”

As an integral component of its  programming, and in partnership with the Government of Italy, UNDP BiH remains committed to support environmental protection, as well as to promote stronger young people’s involvement in the protection of the environment and addressing climate change. Engaging youth in cross-community dialogue and actions, with young people of different backgrounds, is also essential for preparing a stable, peaceful, and prosperous future in BiH.

„The climate change we are now all facing requires that we all work towards the same goal,  the preservation of our planet, without any further delay. It is particularly encouraging and inspiring to see young activists of Zelena mreža across Bosnia and Herzegovina organize a series of actions to combat the effects of climate change at their level and where they are. While this action needs to be continued tirelessly throught the year, working together for the protection of the environment on Earth Day sends a powerful and symbolic message of urgency to everyone.“ said the acting Resident Representative  of the UNDP in BiH, Mr. Stephen Kinloch Pichat.

One of the organizers of the action in Bihać, Emir Delić, from the Center for Sustainable Development, said for his part: “We are particularly proud and pleased that with the volunteer support of students of the primary school ‘Harmani II’ and the help of Zelena mreža BiH, the school yard will be refurbished and decorated with numerous decorative tree seedlings. Trees are the most effective and natural way to remove harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, one of the main causes of climate change. Trees act as an excellent biological filter, routinely removing hundreds of tons of harmful, polluted particles that we would otherwise breathe every day. Pollution of the air is among the main reasons for the increase in asthma and other respiratory diseases in people across the planet! Trees, while contributing to the purity of the air and the quality of the soil on which they grows, serve as a shelter and home to birds, squirrels and many insects. Trees are also the best symbol of what we, young people, want to say to everyone: that we need to protect our Planet Earth, because it is our common home, no matter what language we speak or where we are on the planet.”

Zelena mreža, which for now brings together 22 civil society associations, two (2) informal groups and 11 individuals, aims to encourage activism and connect young people from different communities around environmental and nature protection. Through their involvement in such activities, and jointly gathering in Zelena mreža to reduce the negative effects of climate change,  young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina show their common aspiration to better quality of life and improved health.