Water and environmental protection sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has not been given the deserved priority. For the most part, challenges in the sector are resulting from the transition process in BiH and decentralisation of the water and environmental protection sector, which has resulted in breaking of connections between relevant actors at all levels
Association for Water and Environmental Protection Sector „Aquasan Network in BiH“ was established in response to challenges in the water and environmental protection sector in BiH with the aim of strengthening cooperation amongst relevant stakeholders in the sector, promoting and advocating for common interests in the sector and enabling capacity development through exchange of experiences, knowledge, information and best practices.
There are good practices in implementing infrastructure development projects and water, environment and communal affairs management projects. However, these achievements and experiences have not been adequately presented and promoted across BiH so their dissemination, exchange and replication has been limited. Moreover, experts from BiH entities have been focused on cooperation within the entities and opportunities for joint cooperation have been limited.
Hence, from October to November 2010, activities for establishing an informal Aquasan Network in BiH were initiated. 40 consultative meetings were organised throughout BiH to ensure that all stakeholders are transparently informed and unbiasedly offered the participation in the work of Aquasan. In the period 2010 – 2014 when Aquasan worked as an informal network, a series of thematic workshops and trainings were organised throughout BiH. Participants had the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and exchange opinion, share experiences and replicate good practices of their colleagues from other parts of BiH. The fact that the average number of participants in 16 workshops organised in this period was 50 was a clear signal that the status of Aquasan should be formalised and that, in addition to thematic workshops and trainings, participants should be offered capacity development programs and projects.
Aquasan was formally registered in 2014. Since then, Aquasan actively works to achieve goals defined by its Statute. Through developing and implementing national and regional projects, we continue to develop our capacities. These projects are the opportunity for building new partnership, cooperation and coordination with relevant actors in South-East Europe (SEE) as well as for institutional networking and strengthening. In addition to regional activities, Aquasan organises and proactively participates in events aimed to improve legislative – legal framework in the water and environmental protection sector at all levels in BiH.
Hence, Aquasan has become a recognisable actor not only in BiH but throughout the entire SEE region.