Agreement lends 'added value' to dual partnership
On September 28, 2012, Mirko Sarovic, Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed the international agreement on the legal status of the REC at a signing ceremony held at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the fifth state to become party to the agreement.
Considering the added value of the REC as an international organisation operating on its territory, Bosnia and Herzegovina has played an active role in supporting the development of this international agreement. The REC concluded a bilateral host country agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999. Based on this agreement, the REC has been granted international legal status in the country, including privileges and immunities according to the 1947 Convention on Privileges and Immunities of Specialised Agencies.
REC operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been up-scaled since then, with activities implemented through a REC country office in Sarajevo, a REC field office in Banja Luka, and a REC project office in Mostar. In close cooperation with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the REC has been promoting increased dialogue between different stakeholders (government, scientific-research organisations, businesses, NGOs, media etc.) involved in environmental affairs, the main goal being to provide adequate support for addressing environmental protection, conservation and improvement in the country.
By signing the international agreement during his official visit to Hungary, Minister Sarovic reaffirmed the relevance and position of the REC as an international organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina that advances national debates in areas of emerging importance on the public agenda and those that require both particular expertise and diplomatic engagement.
After the signing ceremony, Minister Sarovic and Zeljko Janjetovic, Ambasador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Hungary, visited the REC head office in Szentendre, where they were accompanied by REC Deputy Executive Director Radoje Lausevic and REC Regional Director for South Eastern Europe Gordana Kozuharova. The visit was an opportunity to inform the delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina about REC activities in the region, and to provide details about activities and projects implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Environmental priorities, future challenges and support for the sustainable development of Bosnia and Herzegovina were also discussed, in the understanding that the signed international agreement will provide added value where these topics are concerned.