Environmental protection laws in Kosovo progressive but not implemented

Release date: 16.06.2017.
19243586_10213467359747305_2024054381_o.jpg Even though the legal framework on environmental protection in Kosovo is progressive, there is no law with more than 15 percent enforcement, and not even one percent of the Government of Kosovo’s total budget is allocated for this area. Accumulated problems must be addressed systematically, which is a general conclusion of the conference in Pristina, where the Institute for Territorial Economic Development (InTER) presented the study “Environmental protection and economic development in Kosovo”.

“The objective of this project is to contribute to understanding of public policies for environmental protection, and how those policies affect sustainable socio-economic development in the North Kosovo municipalities. During the project, we managed to initiate the dialogue between the representatives of the civil society and local and central governments by organising four round tables in North Kosovo, as well as three conferences, of which two in Mitrovica North and one here in Pristina”, says Marija Milenkovic, Project Manager at InTER.

She added that the project team will contribute to work on advocating for recommendations from the study, in order to initiate progress in environmental protection.

Even though environmental protection laws are harmonised with European directives, their implementation is missing, as concluded by Iljir Morina from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“More than 60% of legislation on environmental protection is related to municipalities and other institutions which do not perform their jobs well, as prescribed by the law. We do not have a sufficient number of inspections and the public awareness should be raised, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or age. Even politicians which receive votes and have positions in the parliament and the ministries are not properly informed about the situations in environmental protection”, says Morina.

Illegal landfills and waste are some of the challenges faced by Kosovo, says Enver Tahiri from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Spatial Planning.
“If we do not have appropriate waste management, forests and rivers will be polluted, and the pollution reaches the food chain”, says Tahiri.

Miran Vatovec from the EU Office in Kosovo says that the focus must be on law enforcement, including penalties and sanctions for disobedient citizens.
“A very important element is youth education in schools, and maybe the Ministry of Education should have a more important role there”, says Vatovec.

The study was developed within the project “Policy Dialogue for Environmental Protection and Development Action” financed by the European Union Office in Kosovo within the grant scheme for support to NGOs in North Kosovo.

The Study is available at InTER’s website in Serbian, Albanian and English

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