Gender inequality and social inequity – understood in terms of access to and control over assets, participation in decision-making and knowledge, which are all dimensions of poverty – are deeply intertwined with environmental change.

This discussion brief aims to inform and support the integration of gender equality, social equity and poverty reduction considerations into the development of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Environmental Strategy and Action Plan and further environmental policy developments in BiH.

It summarizes the findings from a review of secondary literature and publicly available databases on environment, health, natural resources, gender equality, social equity and poverty in BiH.

Key messages

  • Due to its geographical location, limited adaptive capacity and economic reliance on the agricultural and forestry sectors, BiH is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
  • Children, elders, disabled persons, migrants, war returnees and members of the Roma minority are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, because they are more likely to live in hazard-prone areas and often lack the information and resources needed to cope with these impacts.
  • Gender can also affect vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards, because of gender-based differences in time use (concerning housework, employment and caring activities), differentiated access to assets and credit, and limited access to policymaking spaces.
  • Awareness-raising and capacity-building programmes targeting and tailored to disadvantaged groups can help increase their preparedness and adaptive capacity. At the same time, the involvement of disadvantaged groups in climate and disaster risk reduction policymaking is essential to develop policies that address their needs and harness their potential to help tackle climate change related issues.
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation policies can have detrimental impacts on disadvantaged populations. It is therefore important to assess these implications and implement strategies to mitigate the detrimental effects
    of climate policy on these groups.