On April 28, 2022, Sarajevo was designated as one of the successful applicants to join the 100 Horizon Europe Mission initiative, which aims to create 100 smart and climate-neutral cities within a decade, and use them as hubs for experimentation and innovation to guide other European cities towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Out of over 800 interested EU cities, 377 submitted applications, representing more than 18% of the EU’s population. The application for Sarajevo was spearheaded by Edin Forto, Prime Minister of Canton Sarajevo, and co-signed by Benjamina Karić, Mayor of the City of Sarajevo, Ljubiša Ćosić, Mayor of the City of East Sarajevo, and all the municipalities within the Sarajevo Functional Urban area.

Sarajevo faces numerous challenges in becoming carbon-neutral, including alarmingly high winter pollution levels, a reliance on fossil fuels for its economy, and steadily increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The city’s fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 2.7% per year for at least a decade, while diesel consumption in the transportation sector has increased by 400%. Additionally, each citizen of Sarajevo produces approximately 5.5 tonnes of CO2 annually, mainly from heating and transportation (while average annual consumption of the EU citizen was 6,9 tons CO2 in 2019, according to European Environment Agency).

However, solutions exist for these challenges, such as renewable energy district heating, heat pumps, net-zero energy buildings, e-buses and e-cars, bio-diverse green city planning initiatives, circular economy systems, and promoting walking and cycling. Implementation of these solutions is feasible within a decade, as Sarajevo’s population of fewer than 500,000 citizens is compact enough to make it practical.

The Net Zero Coalition, including organizations such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the EU Delegation to BiH, the Embassy of France, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the Embassy of Switzerland in BiH, the Embassy of the United States of America/USAID, the World Bank, the International Financial Corporation, the Kfw Development Bank, and Swiss Development Cooperation, explicitly supports Sarajevo’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.


Sarajevo Film Festival’s Commitment to Sustainability


The Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) is committed to promoting social change through film, cultural exchange, and supporting humanitarian projects in line with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a leader in the film industry of Southeast Europe, SFF takes a proactive approach to promoting conscious environmental business practices.

As an important social hub, SFF wishes to use its resources and capacity to promote awareness of environmental issues and inspire individual and societal change. SFF’s activities designed for more sustainable operation are limited to the resources available, but they will serve as the basis for the long-term practices to be implemented.

In 2021, SFF initiated the three-year program, “Greening of the SFF,” to improve the festival’s operation by making it more energy-efficient, reducing its use of resources, and employing sustainable approaches to doing business. This includes greening procurement procedures, introducing bicycles and electric or hybrid vehicles to transport festival guests, ensuring the use of efficient lighting in festival venues, distributing recycling bins on all festival locations, and using recycled paper. The SFF has engaged a green consultant to assist in the implementation of the sustainability action plan and has conducted a full greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory study in 2022. With data-driven information, SFF can make smart decisions and implement eco-measures that progressively reduce atmospheric emissions that will result in with net-zero emissions for all its pop-up screening locations by 2025.