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Coalition 27: Kosovo* institutions to take immediate steps to improve environmental conditions

The shadow report "Ecological breakdown – It’s time to act" published this week in Pristina, urges the institutions of Kosovo to act immediately with concrete steps towards improving the environmental situation and improving public health. It has been recommended to take decisions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy sources, limiting or completely banning the use of plastic bags, rigorous protection of reservoirs that are used for drinking water, as well as for climate change management.

The report first-of-its-kind was prepared for the first time by Coalition 27, the group of civil society organizations working the field of the environment. The findings reveal that environmental protection has never been a priority for any of the Governments, in addition to numerous challenges and grave stagnation in each field.

"As Kosovo aspires to full membership in the European Union and is a signatory of the Stabilization Association Agreement and the European Green Deal, it should also assume the obligations arising from such agreements. These criteria are mainly related to reforms and alignment of domestic legislation with EU acquis, and also the undertaking of measures to enhance the capacities of the institutions responsible for environmental protection” said Krenare Salihu during the conference on behalf of Coalition 27.

The report analyzes the general situation, legislation and its implementation, strategies and plans, main problems, institutional capacity and gives some recommendations to address the problems.

In the chapter on water pollution, it is emphasized that there is a lack of adequate protection of artificial lakes, Kosovo's unprotected rivers are in a deplorable state due to pollution caused mainly by sewage, industrial and solid waste discharges.

In the chapter on air pollution, it is said that Kosovo suffers the effects of heavy air pollution, especially during the winter, presenting a health problem for citizens. The dependence on fossil fuels of the energy and transport sector in Kosovo contributes to this problem. Successive governments have not prioritized this issue and consequently have taken slow or no steps at all to improve air quality.

In the chapter on nature protection, it is stated that Kosovo’s biodiversity is rich in flora, vegetation and fauna. Despite legally declaring a large portion of the country (11.53% of its territory), their protection and diversity of living organisms they host, remains an ongoing challenge.

In the chapter on forestry, it is said that although according to the law, forests are considered as national assets with an important vital role, in practice they are not considered as such, where as a result we have enormous damages. Some of the main problems of this sector are illegal logging, lack of institutional capacities to protect forests, lack of cooperation and coordination between responsible institutions, insufficient enforcement/ implementation of legal acts and by-laws, strategies and programs, insufficient and non-prioritized investments in the forestry sector, as well as the absence of a vocational upper secondary school.

In the chapter on climate change, it is emphasized that the path to achieving the goals set by the European Union for reducing greenhouse gas emissions seems very challenging for a country that lacks institutional capacities, the Strategy on Energy and the Law on Climate Change. The lack of institutional capacities and the failure to adopt these two strategic documents leaves Kosovo in a limbo, because it is still not clear whether Kosovo will be ready to finally give up the use of coal, or in another scenario, which would be the alternatives to diversify its energy sources.

To see the full report, click on the link.

The organizations participating in the Coalition contributed to its publication, such as GLPS (Water Pollution), INDEP (Air Pollution), Active Citizens (Nature Protection), CNVP (Forestry), and WWF Adria (Climate Change). The report was published with the support of the regional project "Protected Areas for Nature and People II", implemented by WWF Adria and financed by the Swedish Agency for International Development and Cooperation - SIDA.

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Kosovo shadow report

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