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on the environment

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Country profile (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

What distinguishes the country?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Geography, size

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a total surface area of 51 209.2 km², composed of 51 197 km² of land and 12.2 km2 of sea (Source: Agency for Statistics of BiH, According to its geographical position on the Balkan Peninsula, it belongs to the Adriatic basin and the Black Sea basin. Therefore, Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs to the Danubian countries group as well as to the Mediterranean countries.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has common frontiers with the Republic of Croatia (931 km), the Republic of Serbia (375 km) and the Republic of Montenegro (249 km). To the north, BiH has access to the Sava River, and to the south to the Adriatic Sea (23.5 km of sea border). The land is mainly hilly to mountainous, with an average altitude of 500 meters, (0 m at the seacoast and 2 387 m at the highest peak, Maglić mountain). Of the total land area, 5 % is lowlands, 24 % hills, 42 % mountains, and 29 % karst region. Forest lands cover about 2.5 million ha, or 49 % of the total land area, which is among the highest forest coverage in Europe. Forest ecosystems cover 41 % of the territory, and a relatively high number of species are endemic. Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks among the territories with the highest level of biological diversity in Europe. Therefore, forestry in BiH is a very important industrial sector, and the sustainable management of forest resources is a significant factor in environmental, climate and biodiversity protection.

There are seven river basins (Una, Vrbas, Bosna, Drina, Sava, Neretva with Trebišnjica and Cetina), of which 75.5 % belong to the Black Sea catchment region and 24.3 % to the Adriatic Sea catchment. The source fields of surface and ground water are particularly valuable natural resources. There are also numerous river lakes (on the Pliva and Una Rivers) and mountain lakes (in the Dinarides range), as well as thermal and geothermal groundwater resources. Bosnia and Herzegovina is rich in thermal, mineral and thermal-mineral waters.


Climate Characteristics

General climate characteristics of Bosnia and Herzegovina are greatly influenced by characteristics of the Adriatic Sea, local topography - especially the Dinarides Mountains, which are located along the coast and run from the northwest to the southeast parallel to the coast - and atmospheric circulation on a macro scale.

For the reasons mentioned above, the climate varies from a temperate continental climate in the northern Pannonian lowlands along the Sava River and in the foothill zone, to an alpine climate in the mountain regions, and a Mediterranean climate in the coastal and lowland areas of the Herzegovina region in the south and southeast.

Regarding its location and distinct geological and climatic regions, BiH has a particularly rich biodiversity. It has some of the greatest diversity of species of plants and animals in Europe, and it has an extremely high level of diversity of biotopes (habitats), i.e., geodiversity.

It has been predicted that climate change will strongly affect the countries of southern and southeastern Europe (SEE). There is more and more scientific evidence indicating a constant increase of negative climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, meaning that threats caused by climate change are present in Bosnia and Herzegovina too.

Although the impact of climate change on global biodiversity has been treated in many studies, there are not enough studies that address regional and local impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Few studies on climate change impacts on agriculture and forestry in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been published, while the areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina which are the most sensitive to global climate change are defined by the Strategy for the protection of biodiversity, including the action plan. But models that could be used for the assessment of possible habitat changes within the plant and animal communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not yet exist.

Based on existing research findings, the following main types of climate change effects on biodiversity that could be expected in BiH, are the following:  

1. Shift of vegetation zones (layers) in a horizontal and vertical direction,

2. Shift and changes in habitats of individual plant and animal types,

3. Extinction of individual species,

4. Changes in the quality and quantity of the composition of biocenoses,

5. Fragmentation of habitats,

6. Changes in ecosystem function.

Average annual precipitation in BiH is about 1 250 mm which, given that the surface area of BiH is 51 209 km2, amounts to 64 x 109 m3 of water, or 2,030 m3/s. The outflow from the territory of BiH is 1 155 m3/s, or 57 % of total precipitation. However, these volumes of water are not evenly distributed, neither spatially nor temporally. For example, the average annual outflow from the Sava River basin, which has a surface area of 38 719 km2 (75.7 %) in BiH, amounts to 722 m3/s, or 62.5 %, while the outflow from the Adriatic Sea basin, which has a surface area of 12 410 km2 (24.3 %) in BiH, is 433 m3/s, or 37.5 %.



According to the most recent census, which was conducted in 1991, the total population was 4 377 033, and GDP per capita was approximately USD 2 500, placing BiH among medium-income countries. Currently, the population of BiH is estimated at 3 842 942 (as of 30 June 2007; Source: Agency for Statistics of BiH).

At the end of 2000, according to estimates from the statistical institutions, the population of BiH was 3 683 665. In 1991, the age structure of the population of BiH was of the type known as 'verging on stationary-regressive' with an insignificantly narrowed demographic pyramid. According to the same source, the current age structure of the population is similar to that of 1991, but in 2000, the population was of the regressive biological type. Urban population is estimated at 80 % of the total population as a result of mass war-time migration from rural to urban areas. There has been an observable rise in the proportion of people aged over 65 (from 6.4 % to almost 11 % of the total population) and a significant drop in the active working population in the 20-40 age group.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007, 33 235 babies were born, which indicates a 2.34 % decrease in the birth rate compared to 2006. 33 832 people died, which indicates a 1.84 % increase in mortality compared to 2006. The natural increase in 2007 is negative and amounts to -597, which means that 597 more people died than were born. This is the first time since 1996 that the natural increase is negative (Source: Agency for Statistics of BiH).


Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the 1991 census

Economic Structure

Besides the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most undeveloped republic in former Yugoslavia. The centrally planned economy has resulted in some legacies in the economy. Agriculture was mostly in the private sector, with small and unprofitable agricultural holdings, so most food was imported. Industry was greatly overstaffed, reflecting the rigidity of the planned economy. It hosted a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants for military reasons, and in that sense, it was in the center of former Yugoslavia.

Three years of the recent war (1992-1995) destroyed the economy and infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, causing production to plummet by 80 %, unemployment to soar, and the death of about 100 000 people and displacement of half the population.

Bosnia has been facing a dual challenge: not only to recover from the war but also to complete the transition from socialism to capitalism.

With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-1999 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-2002. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-2005.

Unfortunately, economic data are of limited use because, although both entities issue figures, national-level statistics are not available. Moreover, official data do not capture the large share of activity that occurs on the black market. The grey market is a notable source of income for Bosnian traders.

The 'konvertibilna marka-KM'[1] (convertible mark or BAM) - the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro, and confidence in the currency and the banking sector has increased. Implementation of privatisation, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions.

The Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established in late 1997, successful debt negotiations were held with the London Club in December 1997, and with the Paris Club in October 1998, and a new currency, the Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark, was introduced in mid-1998. In 1999, the Convertible Mark gained wider acceptance, and the Central Bank dramatically increased its reserve holdings.

Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as the payment bureaus from former pre-war Bosnia and Herzegovina were shut down; foreign banks, primarily from western Europe, now control most of the banking sector.

But a sizeable current account deficit and a high unemployment rate remain the two most serious economic problems.

Despite major international aid efforts, the pace of post-war economic recovery has been much slower than expected. GDP by expenditure is estimated at KM 24 161 million in 2007, representing a nominal increase of 14.23 % from 2006 to 2007. Since the war ended, BiH has attracted only around KM 2.1 billion in foreign investment. Economic data are scarce.



The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina is an integral part of the Dayton Peace Agreement from 1995 and has created a specific state comprised of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) and the Republic of Srpska (RS). Under this constitutional construction, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a sovereign state with a decentralised political and administrative structure.

In accordance with the Dayton Peace Agreement, the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) constitutes two administrative parts, i.e. the two autonomous entities: the Republic of Srpska (RS) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H). In addition, a separate Brcko District (BD) was established within Bosnia and Herzegovina borders.

The region of Brčko, which remained contested after the Dayton Peace Agreement, was settled through international arbitration. Brcko District (BD) was established in March 2000 with powers largely similar to those of the entities. The State of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a central authority, but it has only limited and specific powers, whereas the two entities and BD are politically, administratively, and legally autonomous.

The two entities are asymmetrical in their institutional organisation. FB&H is composed of ten cantons subdivided into 84 municipalities, whereas RS is composed of 64 municipalities and has no cantons.

Since the Dayton Peace Agreement, environmental issues in B&H have been under the responsibility of entity governments. The competent authorities are the Federal Ministry for Tourism and Environment in FB&H, the Ministry for Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology in RS, and the Department for Communal Works in Government of Brcko District.

At the State level, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) is responsible for the environment-related activities. This Ministry is responsible for carrying out the tasks related to defining policies and basic principles, coordinating activities and harmonising plans of the entity authorities and bodies at the international level for, among other topics, conservation of the environment, development and use of natural resources.


Transformation from communist to democratic system

Bosnia and Herzegovina was created by dissolution of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992, and became a member of UN in May 1992. It is a well known fact that former socialist block countries had extensive industry with great waste of resources and pollution as well as relatively low per capita income. Former Yugoslavia had, to a certain degree, a better developed market and somewhat more efficient use of resources compared to other European socialist countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the other hand, was a republic with basic industry and energy sectors within the Yugoslavian framework (i.e. with increased resource exploitation and pollution), and was considered undeveloped. Before the Yugoslavian breakdown Bosnia and Herzegovina exported over 50 % of its production to other Yugoslav republics and over 30 % abroad. Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered from four major blows:

(1)     collapse of the socialist system which had a firm grip on Bosnia and Herzegovina,

(2)     loss of market (Bosnia and Herzegovina was a major exporter to Yugoslav republics and other countries)

(3)     the war itself (great destruction and over 50 % of population displaced).

(4)     lack of any international experience and tradition, caused by its central position inside former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only former Yugoslav Republic with no international borders).

Apart from having to recover from these shocks, the country has a very unfavourable heritage from former Yugoslavia:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (1990 data) is at the top of the list of energy intensity (amount of energy spent by unit of mass product) and SO2 emissions per capita, two of the basic indicators of development and effects on the environment.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina had a considerably weaker organisation of environmental protection compared to republics such as Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

It is necessary to emphasise the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina (before the war Socialist Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a centralised republic, with adequate organisation of the state and institutions competent for the implementation of rules. Entities are a completely new category in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the establishment of a governmental structure is still ongoing, a sometimes very painful process in all areas of life, including the process of transformation from communism to democracy.   

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a state comprised of two entities – Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) and Republic of Srpska (RS), and one district - Brcko District. The entities have considerable authority and responsibilities for their development. On the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. at state level, there is the Council of Ministers with six ministries, as well as a couple of expert state institutions such as the Agency for Statistics, Institute for Standardization, Measurements and Patents, Agency for Telecommunications, etc.

In the environmental sector the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MOFTER) has responsibilities for the coordination of activities and international relations.

Since the Dayton Peace Agreement, environmental issues in B&H have been under the responsibility of entity governments. The corresponding authorities are the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology in the Republic of Srpska, and the Department for Utility Services in the Brcko District. The work of both entity Ministries and the Brcko District Department is governed by the set of environmental laws.



[1] 1 EUR=1.95583 KM

What have been the major societal developments?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Environmental Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina

From 1974, environmental issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina were treated by the Law on Physical Planning. Issues around urbanism and physical planning, environment, planning of settlements, as well as building, were all dealt with under the above mentioned law. Environmental protection and improvement were regulated as an integral component of all functions. This law was in effect in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the recent war, and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina until 2002.

After the war in 1992-1995, there were many problems in the environmental sector, but there was also a growing wish in the local population and government, strongly supported by the international community, to improve the situation, which contributed significantly to the general progress of the environmental sector.

According to the Dayton Peace Agreement, management of environmental development is on the entity level, so both entity governments have their own ministries in charge of environment protection. Entity authorities have responsibility to ensure environmental protection in their fields (legislation, permitting, monitoring, inspection, and enforcement).

Concerning issues of common interest in the environment, especially related to international cooperation, the entity governments were coordinated through the Environmental Steering Committee B&H (ESC), established in 1998, and which was transformed in 2003 into an Inter-entity Body in accordance with the Law on Environment Protection that was enacted in 2003.

At the State level, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) is responsible for environment-related activities. This Ministry is responsible for carrying out tasks related to defining policies and basic principles, coordinating activities and harmonising plans of the Entity authorities and bodies at the international level for, among other topics, protection of the environment, development and use of natural resources.

The work of both entity ministries and the Brcko District Department for Utility Services is governed by the following set of environmental laws:

  •  Law on Environment Protection,
  • Law on Air Protection,
  • Law on Nature Protection,
  • Law on Waste,
  • Law on Water Protection.

This set of laws was put into effect in 2003.

With the adoption of the above mentioned set of laws, Bosnia and Herzegovina has unified all legal aspects of environmental protection. Environmental laws mandate the adoption of a number of sub-laws and define the responsibilities of different bodies.

The document of particular importance for the environment protection, improvement and environmental management in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), adopted in 2003 by the entities. The NEAP provides the basic framework for the future and, for the first time, on the principles of sustainable development, compehensively develops the structure for environment protection and guidelines for overall development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The NEAP is based on the Rio Agenda 21, the Sixth European Environment Action Programme 2001-2010, as well as on the eight national sustainable development priorities. These NEAP priorities are:

  • Water resources/wastewaters,
  • Sustainable development of rural areas,
  • Environmental management (information systems/integral planning/education),
  • Protection of biological and landscape diversity,
  • Waste/waste management,
  • Economy/sustainable development of economy,
  • Public health,
  • Demining.

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has become, through succession of former Yugoslavia or ratification, a party to major international environmental agreements and conventions, and it is fully committed to meeting the requirements stipulated in these agreements.

What are the main drivers of environmental pressures?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Industrial production

The industrial sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently characterised by low productivity and poor competitiveness. There are serious infrastructure problems, and financial markets are also underdeveloped and inefficient. Exports cover only around 30 % of imports. The present difficult situation of industry is certainly caused by devastation from the war and the loss of pre-war markets, but the legacy of the socialist command economy and previous orientation on heavy industries are also important causes.

In 1997, the share of industrial production in GDP stood at about 30 %, and it was estimated to have risen to 37-38 % in 2003. Assuming the consistent implementation of reforms, it is expected that the share of industry may have risen to close to 40 % of GDP in 2007, but the industrial sector in BiH is currently characterised by low productivity and poor competitiveness.

There are serious infrastructure problems, and financial markets are also underdeveloped and inefficient. Exports cover only around 30 % of imports.

Despite major international aid efforts, the pace of post-war economic recovery has been much slower than expected.

The situation of domestic industry indicates that B&H cannot base its development on the same foundations as in the previous period, but that a radical change in the development concept is essential.

The structure and dynamics of economic development in B&H have had a significant impact on the environment. In the pre-war period, B&H industry was based on the centralised development policy of former Yugoslavia with heavy industry predominating. Its presence, as well as presence of energy, mining, large landfills, slag, ashes etc., made Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the most polluted areas in the former state.

Although the war resulted in the destruction of many of these polluting industries and a significant reduction in the operating capacities, the legacy of the pre-war period still remained. Despite the lower level of environmental pollution in the post-war period, approximately 30-35 % of the pre-war level, the negative pressures on environment are still very much present. This situation is a consequence of B&H still being the source for many local and other markets primarily for lumber and coal-based power production that results in inefficient exploitation of natural resources.


Out of the total land area in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 2.6 million ha is suitable for agriculture, of which only 0.65 % is irrigated. This small percent is the result of an undeveloped irrigation infrastructure. Fertile lowlands comprise 16 % of agricultural land in BiH, 62 % are less fertile hilly and mountainous areas, and the Mediterranean area accounts for 22 %.

Table 1. Structure of land use in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sorce: NEAP B&H 2002)





Federation of B&H

Republic of Srpska

Federation of B&H

Republic of Srpska





Forest and mountainous terrain

1 348 783

1 206 681



Agricultural land

1 258 796

1 298 619



Arable land

508 062

671 599



Crop yields

461 360

616 548




41 395

54 358




5 307





248 291

236 922



Grass land

502 443

358 734



Agricultural land per capita





Arable land per capita






Over 30 % of the sub-Mediterranean area is classified as highland pastures on which small animals could be raised (goats, sheep, cattle). It would be important to intensify agricultural farming in BiH, more so if it is taken into account that the agricultural sector is currently producing less than half the food that the domestic population needs, so that presently the main item on the list of imports is foodstuffs, which account for more than half of the total value of imports.

Erosion and flooding of farmlands in BiH endanger the harvests and sustainable use of soil. Lijevce polje, Semberija and fertile farmlands along Drina, Bosna, Vrbas, Sana, Una, Sava, Neretve and Trbisnjica Rivers are endangered.


The geographical position of B&H is important within the European transportation system; the shortest routes linking central Europe with the Adriatic run through BiH.

According to data collected from responsible institutions in 2008, the length of the road network in Bosnia and Herzegovina is presented in Table 2. 

Table 2. Length of road network in B&H




Federation of B&H

Republic of Srpska

Brcko District







Roads reserved for motor vehicle traffic





Main road

2 046.50

1 781.00


3 864.50

Regional road

2 542.29

2 183.00


4 762.09

Local road

data not available



14 200.00*


4 644.19*

4 200.00


22 890.99*

* incomplete data


The total coverage of the road network in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 45 km/100 km2, while the coverage of main roads is 7.6 km/100 km2.

The European roads that cross BiH in many sections do not permit desirable traffic flow speeds. Between 1996 and 2003, extensive rehabilitation work and repairs of the damages sustained during the war were conducted, with repairs to the main roads, bridges and tunnels. The rehabilitation of the war damage to the infrastructure proceeded with donor assistance. Under the 'Emergency Transport Rehabilitation Project', approximately 2 200 km of roads and 58 bridges have been repaired, at a cost of around EUR 190 million. The Stabilisation Force (SFOR) also provided significant funds for rehabilitation of the road infrastructure.

The rail network of BiH consists of 1 031 km of railways, of which 425 km are in the RS and 616 in FBiH. Of this, 87 km are twin-track railways and 776 km are electrified. Although the density of the railway network in BiH is comparable with that of western European countries, the volume of transport of goods and passengers per kilometer of railways is far below the European average. The current volume of transport is insufficient to generate enough revenues to cover costs. The volume of goods and passenger traffic in 2002 was about 15 % compared to 1990. The current state of rail infrastructure is such that normal traffic is impossible without major investments.

BiH has four airports: Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Tuzla. All four are registered for international air traffic. The annual number of passengers is around 450 000 for Sarajevo airport, while Banja Luka, Mostar and Tuzla have relatively small but continuously increasing numbers of passengers. Air transport and infrastructures have assumed a more significant role than before the war. The four airports registered for international air traffic are at the stage of being brought up to the level prescribed for their categories under ICAO standards.

In BiH, the Sava River is the main navigable river, and its 333 km length in BiH is also the border between BiH on one side and Croatia and Serbia on the other. Because the Sava is a tributary of the Danube, water transport along the Sava is linked with the Danube, and the latter is considered as Trans-European Transport Corridor VII. BiH is in this way part of the network of European waterways, and this form of transport is significant for the geo-communications position of BiH. In view of its comparative advantages, water transport should also be provided with development opportunities comparable to those in the EU.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has no seaport, but it uses the Adriatic ports in Croatia, primarily the port of Ploče.


The operation of the energy market also determines the commercial environment and therefore affects the overall reconstruction of economy. Under the SAA (Stability and Association Agreement), cooperation in the energy sector will reflect the principles of market economy and the European Energy Charter Agreement, and will develop in the direction of gradual integration into the European energy market. Cooperation is likely to focus on the formulation of energy policy, improvement of infrastructure and development of energy resources, and energy savings. From the standpoint of the SAA, the Power III Project is of particular importance.

Energy consumption is a significant indicator of the living standard. In 2000, the average consumption of energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina was about 45 GJ per capita, which is clearly below average.

Power consumption per capita in BiH is also lower than the world average and in 2000 it amounted to 1 915 kWh/capita; the world average was 2 343 kWh/capita, and the average for OECD countries amounted to 8 089 kWh/capita. This is another clear indication that some BiH inhabitants live below the general poverty line.

One of the indicators of the efficiency of energy use is the energy intensity ratio, which represents the ratio of energy consumed per unit of GDP. In 2000, BiH used 30.1 GJ of energy to produce USD 1000 of GDP (compared to a global average of 10.14 GJ). Energy efficiency in BiH is low in relation to to high-income countries, as is the use of renewable energy sources, with the exception of hydropower.

The basic sources of primary energy in BiH are coal and hydropower. In 2001, annual production of energy from those sources in BiH amounted to about 62 % of the total consumption of primary energy, which indicates that BiH is dependent on imports, as certain energy sources cannot be replaced with domestic energy sources at present.

Table 3. Installed energy production capacity in BiH.




Number of units


% capacity









Natural gas

















The main consumers of the final forms of energy are households and the commercial sector (often considered as one consumer category), industry, and the transport sector. The share of individual consumer groups varies depending on a number of factors, climate being one of the most important. In EU countries with similar climate conditions, the corresponding distribution is as follows: households and the commercial sector account for 40.7 %, the transport sector for 31 % and industry for 28.3 %. According to estimates for the year 2000, households and the commercial sector in BiH accounted for 50 % of consumption, industry for 25 % and transport for 25 %. Therefore, the share of households and the commercial sector in the consumption of energy is the highest. Considering that the largest share of energy is used for heating, and that the relative consumption of energy for heating in BiH is much higher than in EU countries, there is obviously significant potential to reduce energy consumption in this sector. The methodology for designing energy performance indicators in buildings used in Bosnia and Herzegovina is mostly outdated, and the revision of methodology would both achieve energy savings in buildings and reduce the investments needed for energy infrastructure in newly constructed buildings.

The possibilities for energy savings in industry are also considerable. Most industries treat energy as a fixed cost and include the energy cost in the final price of the product, which does not promote energy savings. The cost of energy should be considered separately and benchmarked with the energy costs in the same activities in more developed economies, and measures should be taken to rationalise consumption.

Energy efficiency in Bosnia and Herzegovina is low in relation to developed economies. Energy production in BiH is based on technologies developed approximately thirty years ago. In the case of construction of new plants and in major reconstructions of existing facilities, new technologies should be introduced whenever possible.

Energy facilities have a significant impact on the environment. Improvements in efficiency, the application of new technologies, and the expanded use of renewable energy sources could achieve significant results in mitigating environmental impacts.

Water/Water management

The water sector was considered as an activity which in many ways was a predecessor of overall development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina possesses considerable water resources, and in the future, water may become one of the foundations of the general economic development in many areas. However, the damage inflicted during the war, insufficient maintenance and inadequate regulatory frameworks, have brought water management, just like other sectors of the economy, into a difficult situation. The quality of potable water from the water supply system has been deteriorating steadily, the existing infrastructure is in poor condition, and water resources are increasingly polluted.

The unfavourable spatial and temporal distribution of water outflows requires the construction of water management facilities of considerable scale and complexity to permit the rational exploitation of waters, preservation of water quality and quantity, and protection from the damaging effects of water.

The condition of flood control facilities is very poor as a result of war damage, many years without maintenance, and minefields laid around some facilities.

In January 2008, a new Law on Waters took effect. According to this law, new agencies for water catchment areas have been established replacing the previous public enterprises. Two agencies have been established for FBH: the Agency for Water catchment area for Sava River basin, and the Agency for Water Catchment area for the Adriatic Sea. In RS, water agencies have not yet been established, and currently the Republic Directorate for Waters of RS is the responsible body for water management in RS. However, the Directorate for Waters in RS will soon be transformed into two water agencies, one for Sava River basin and another for the Adriatic Sea basin.

Human health

Public expenditure for health care accounts for 7.6 % of GDP, and all health care expenditures including informal payments and private payments total 12.3 % of GDP. The state of health of the population of BiH has been deteriorating steadily since the war due to socio-economic circumstances, unemployment, migration, the large number of displaced persons, lack of health insurance, and unhealthy lifestyles. Road accidents, physical disabilities, and mental ailments are also a major problem for public health care. Available data indicate that more than 47 000 people were disabled by the war, and landmine risks are still an important public health issue. The systemic health laws proclaim the principle of universal health insurance coverage for the population.


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100