Obligations related to environmental protection at the local level are numerous and very demanding for local authorities. It is estimated that in towns and municipalities in Serbia the most financially demanding aspect of the process of harmonization with EU standards will come within the field of environmental protection.

So far, Serbia has adopted the National Sustainable Development Strategy and a set of system laws in the area of environmental protection in line with EU standards that created a regulatory framework in this area. With these acts, local self-governments have received a significant role and are facing the complex task of defining adequate control mechanisms. This task is not only related to the development of appropriate institutional capacity and specific measures, but also to the development of partnerships with other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, citizens and businesses. Experience to date indicates the slowness and inefficiency in implementation of these objectives, primarily in the field of implementation of adopted legislation. It is only partially caused by systemic causes such as financial (for environmental protection only 0.3% of GDP was allocated at the national level, and at the local communities level the obligation of opening relevant funds entered into force), legislative (the missing by-laws), and institutional (a great diversity in the organizational structure of local authorities in the field of environmental responsibility). This slowness and inefficiency in implementation of mentioned objectives is also caused by lack of awareness about environmental problems in relation to other issues from the local self-governments area, as well as insufficient information to relevant stakeholders about the problems in this area and lack of specific knowledge.

The National Sustainable Development Strategy emphasizes that a key precondition for realizing the concept of sustainability in all dimensions, even in the field of environmental protection, is appropriate management and broad support of all stakeholders, both political and economic, experts, public opinion, with special emphasis on public involvement in decisions about solving environmental problems. For this, however, it is not enough to emphasize principles of participation; it is also necessary to take actions to encourage, inform and train the public so that citizens could be able to influence problems resolving that affect their quality of life.

Given the situation outlined in the program "Support to Local Governments in Serbia in the European Integration Process" our intention is to confront identified problems through three groups of activities:

  • The first group of activities is related to the analysis of law enforcement in the field of environmental protection at the local level, as well as to formulation of recommendations and training to improve the situation in this regard. In addition, under this subcomponent the preparatory activities for the networking of local officials who deal with environmental issues will be implemented.
  • Another set of activities will be conducted in thematic clusters within which the representatives of the Swedish municipalities will transfer to Serbian colleagues their experience in various fields, such as waste management, energy management, air protection and noise protection.
  • The third group of activities will focus on topics related to raising citizens' awareness and cooperation of local entities, and citizens' participation in planning and decision-making in the field of environmental protection.

Our expectation is that the implementation of this program will help towns and municipalities to be ready to successfully implement activities in the field of environmental protection, provide specialization for local officials on specific topics in the area, raise awareness of both local decision-makers and entire public about the importance of issues that are related to environmental protection etc.

Contact person: Miodrag Gluščevic, component coordinator, miodrag.gluscevic@skgo.org


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