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Round table on „Challenges in the implementation of the EU regulations related to the environmental sector”

Okrugli sto_Implementacija EU propisa u oblasti zastite zivotne sredine28 May 2013 – The round table on „Challenges in the implementation of the EU regulations related to the environmental sector” was organized by the Union of Municipalities and the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism on 27 May 2013 in Podgorica.

It is assessed that role of local self-governments is very important in the environmental protection, and every municipality needs to give its maximum contribution to the goal. Full implementation of the EU regulatory framework related to the environmental protection represents one of the most complex tasks faced by national and local authorities.

Panelists at the Round Table were Mr. Ivan Saveljić, Vice-President of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, Mr. Milivoje Jurišić, Secretary of the Negotiation Group for accession of Montenegro to the EU, Mrs. Daliborka Pejović, State Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Mr. Rajko Golubović, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro, Mrs. Ivana Vojinović, General Director for the Environmental Sector in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and Chief of the Working Group for Negotiation Chapter 27 and Mr. Siniša Stanković, General Director for Waste Management and Communal Development.

Panelist said that ¾ of all EU regulations were implemented at local level. So, in order to improve the business environment at municipal level, it is important to start as soon as possible with the reconsideration of challenges put before us by EU integration process. A continues and open dialogue have to be conducted on these issues and we have to learn each from others, to follow experiences of partner countries and to make efforts to find synergistic resources that can be drawn from the EU for solution of open issues and for arranging this complex sector consisted of waste management, water quality – drinking water, sewerage water, soil protection, urban area protection, air quality, protection against the noise. Adequate capacities of local self-governments, clear definition of their roles and existence of vertical and horizontal coordination’s mechanisms are basic prerequisites for solving the environmental issues. In that sense and besides so-far efforts, improvement of the local administrations capacities still needed so they can be ready for obligations generated in the EU accession process.

Related to the waste management, it is needed that Montenegro made huge efforts to reach transition from conventional method of waste management to the EU standardized method. Activities of local self-governments are also related to the environmental impact assessment and the strategic environmental impact assessment. Local self-governments have also obligation to conduct acoustic zoning with the purpose of protection against the noise. Related to civil protection, local authorities need to be actively involved in preparation of amendments to the regulation related to protection and safety, and to transportation of hazardous substances. The environmental monitoring also requires additional capacities building at local level.

In order to foster the implementation of regulations and other enactments, it is needed to strengthen the ecology inspection and to create legal preconditions for establishment of the ecology inspections at local level, which is in compliance with the suggestions from the EU.

Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities Mr. Rajko Golubović stated that the issue of the environmental protection affected all spheres of economic and social development. Involvement of local authorities in the EU integration process requires capability and possibility of their organs to implement regulatory framework related to issues from their competences. Decentralization challenges in the decision making processes introduced the affirmation of negotiation, harmonization of opposed interests, cooperation and coordinated actions of central and local authorities and with the involvement of other social stakeholders.

Municipal representatives pointed at numerous problems encountered in the environmental protection sector, mostly related to the waste management. They highlighted the need for the establishment of the Eco-Fund similar to those established in the neighboring countries. It would collect funds for the implementation of projects related to the preservation and sustainable use of the environment.