MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION BETWEEN ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY AND NGO GREEN HOME HAS BEEN SIGNED

Representatives of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and NGO Green Home signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for improvement of the legislative framework and its implementation in the field of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Signing of the memorandum aims to improve and strengthen the cooperation between the Agency and NGO Green Home in terms of contributing to the improvement of the legislative framework and its implementation when it comes to environmental impact assessments.

„Taking into consideration the fact that with regard to the protection and improvement of the environment, the NGO sector has a key role in addition to the decision-makers, I believe that such a project (CO SEED) represents a confirmation of the good cooperation so far and a step further in developing a partnership between the EPA and NGO Green Home, in the next period. Cooperation with the NGO sector, as an important partner, represents a strong starting point in solving existing environmental problems. Through their projects and initiatives NGOs contribute to solving environmental problems, awareness raising  and public informing and they have imprortant role in in the decision-making processes. Bearing in mind the importance of the mechanisms of strategic environmental assessment and the environmental impact assessment, I believe that joint action in further improving the implementation of the legislative framework in these two areas is of paramount importance. Thanks, among other things, to the previous joint cooperation, at this moment, it can be concluded that great progress has been made in improving the quality of the procedure itself, as well as the SEA Reports and the EIA Studies. Considering that in practice we continue to encounter examples that show that there are still shortcomings at some levels, it is clear that further engagement of all actors involved in the implementation of these procedures is necessary. How adequate application and co-ordination of these two very important mechanisms depends on a large number of factors, by signing such a memorandum, we express our readiness to contribute to the improvement of the implementation of these two Laws through joint cooperation, and therefore their basic goals“ - said Nikola Medinica, director of the Environmental Protection Agency

“Since 2008, when the Laws on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) entered into force, a large number of development plans, programmes and projects which have (or will have) significant environmental impacts have been adopted in Montenegro. Based on previous experience, the question arises as to whether impact assessments as important environmental protection instruments are fully applied in accordance with legal acts. The impression is that environmental protection support is of a more declarative nature than there is real willingness to consistently implement advanced legal solutions and strategies that are often adopted in the process of aligning domestic with EU policies and international standards. In the spirit of EU directives, effective public participation should enable individuals and organizations to express their opinions and concerns, and make decision makers take into account what may be relevant to the decision itself. In this way, accountability and transparency in the decision-making process is increased, and at the same time it contributes to raising awareness of environmental issues and supporting decision-making. By comparing this approach to EU directives and practice in Montenegrin impact assessments, it can be said that the least progress has been made in this part of the process and that the processes of informing, participation and consultation of the public in impact assessments remain far from this outcome. In conclusion, it can be said that different actors have different views, the level of understanding and expectations related to the application of impact assessment procedures, and in order to raise the level of transparency, public involvement and trust development, additional efforts should be made, primarily through adequate information exchange and capacity development. We believe that the realization of the activities defined in the signed Memorandum will improve the situation in this area "- said Natasa Kovacevic, executive director of NGO Green Home

 

The Memorandum was signed within the project "Civil Society Advocates for Environmentally Sound Socio - Economic Development of CO - SEED" which is supported by the EU. The goal of the project is to contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources through the improvement of the legislative framework regulating the area of SEA and EIA and ensuring that the decision making process in the field of environmental impact assessments is more participatory and transparent.

Environmental Protection Agency

NGO Green Home