ECO UP START WEEKENDS: Utilizing communities' strengths for environmental protection and climate change

„IOM recognizes that a healthy environment is intrinsically linked to the well-being and resilience of migrants and host communities. In 2017, IOM launched its institutional Environmental Sustainability Programme. It made an institutional commitment to improve the sustainability of its operations at the strategic, programmatic and facility levels, focusing on three key areas: (a) greenhouse gas emissions; (b) water and (c) waste management.“
(IOM's Engagement in Migration Environment and Climate Change, IOM, 2019)

As the leading intergovernmental agency working on migration, IOM is institutionally committed to work towards the highest possible level of environmental sustainability in its programs, facilities and operation. 

IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina is enhancing efforts to contribute to the fight against climate change and to tackle the issues of environmental degradation, particularly in its youth-focused initiatives.

In one of sunch endevours, IOM BiH has organized Eco UP start weekends in three local communities: Bihać, Bijeljina and Jablanica. 
Eco UP brought together people of different ages and backgrounds with a common interest in stepping up environmental protection. The programme aimed at promoting creative approaches to environmental protection, providing opportunities for skill and knowledge improvement, raising awareness about climate change and its impact on youth mobility and internal displacement, and enabling networking and sustainable partnerships.

Participants had the chance to learn about circular economy, sustainable fashion, waste management, and sustainable initiatives through carefully crafted presentations and carefully selected lecturers and speakers. In addition, participants got the option to refine their concepts through mentoring and they received feedback on how to present their ideas. 

The topic of the Eco UP, "Innovative approaches to environmental protection and prevention of climate change-induced displacement", brought fruitful discussions and ideas that are not only innovative, but also comprehensive in terms of engaging local communities. 

IOM will support five of the fifteen ideas presented, allocating 27,000.00 BAM to their implementation. 


Some of the ideas, such as, for example water purification with hazelnut bark or green facades, although not supported within this initiative, will be advocated for and supported through networking and promotion.

"We live in a city where environmental protection is rarely discussed and implemented. I am really satisfied with the outcomes of Eco UP. I saw that Bijeljina is waking up, and we made a huge step in the field of environmental protection. We had eight great teams and three winners. I cannot wait to see the implementation of these ideas and how this will look in the end." 
(Helena, mentor, Bijeljina) 

The Eco UP start weekends are implemented within the framework of the project Bosnia and Herzegovina: Engaging Youth in Environmentally And Socio-Economically Sustainable Initiatives, supported by the IOM Development Fund.


Youth discussing environmental issues