UNDP Administrator Paid a Visit to Mostar

06 Jul 2013

UNDP Administrator and Chairwoman of the UN Development Group, Miss Helen Clark met with the Mayor of Mostar, Mr. Ljubo Bešlić who showed her the Old Bridge and the Old Town that are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and as such present the symbols of not only the Mostar City but also of the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They visited the Spanish Square, place which was once the borderline between parties in conflict and today it is the symbol of the united and healing community. The rehabilitation of the Spanish Square, high school and Pedestrian Street were financed by the UNDP and other UN agencies thanks to the support of MDG Fund and Spanish Government.

After sightseeing, Administrator Clark discussed the need for stronger participation of civil society in decision making processes, peace building and reconciliation with the Head of EU Delegation to BiH/EU Special Representative in BiH Peter Sorensen and representatives of 9 Civil Society Organizations. The CSO representatives talked about obstacles and challenges they face, as well as what sort of support they need to enhance the capacities to implement their individual initiatives and thus contribute to the normalization of the lives of all citizens of Mostar.

“Political blockades, difficult economic situation and other kinds of problems Mostar is facing are obviously present in the entire country, and should be solved altogether”. Referring to EU accession  Administrator Clark added: “I think that this is the right time for B-H to look around and seriously consider its future. Montenegro will soon follow the example of Croatia, Serbia started with structural dialogue and I think it is final time for B-H too to think and decide which its road is”.

Administrator Clark and Ambassador Sorensen encouraged CSOs to remain persistent in their endeavors related to peace building and reconciliation process in Mostar and in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The same day Administrator Helen Clark visited Livno Municipality that holds two treasures: the largest wetland in the country (Livanjsko Polje), which is habitat to endangered animal and plant species; and the cheese, famous for its taste and quality.

Miss Clark met with the Association of Livno Cheese Producers. This famous cheese is more than excellent food. Its traditional production is part of the cultural heritage of all the people living there. It is the brand that is a synonym for pure and natural product.

“My father taught me how to do it, gave me the recipe, and so did his father, and his father before him…” said the Head of the Association, Mr. Jozo Bakovic explaining the traditional process of cheese crafting is maintained for centuries.

Still, failure of Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt EU-I standards will make Livno cheese export to the EU countries impossible. Most recent EU member country Croatia was the biggest export market for Livno cheese producers. The choice before Bosnia-Herzegovina cheese producers is clear, but difficult: to cut down the production to quantity that domestic production can absorb or switch to automated cheese production, which would also mean turning back on their cultural heritage and the Livno cheese as is today.

UNDP is helping the local producers to overcome this problem by using its experience from Croatia.

“It is extremely important that the organization with proven development experience assist and provide alternative solutions to the cheese producers leveraging experience from the region”, said the Mayor of Livno, Mr. Luka Celan thanking Miss Clark for her visit and UNDP’s support.

During the visit Ms Clark saw the Livanjsko Polje which is a unique natural habitat in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNDP GEF CARST project helped integrate protection of biodiversity in its sustainable development plans, to ensure future generations can enjoy the unique beauty of the nature.

Contact Information

UNDP Communications Unit
Zmaja od Bosne bb
71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: + 387 33 293 400
Fax: + 387 33 552 330
communications.ba@undp.org