Project KnowHow2Act, currently in its 3rd consecutive year of implementation with the defined long-term development goal continues to foster proactive CSOs participation in environmental decision making process, both on central and local level, as well as in the upcoming accession negotiations in Chapters 27 and 15. Project makes a significant step further by building new activities based on the results from the previous two years (participative development of municipal environmental programmes, local advocacy campaigns for protection and improvement of natural resources, contribution to environmental legislative process in line with NPAA and recommendation for the Serbia’s negotiation position in Chapter 27, 15 and 11).
In the final year of the project implementation the ratio is to engage all developed outputs, networks and partnerships so as to: 1) secure that developed structures for CSOs participation policy process (Green Councils) actively participate in local environmental policy making; 2) support CSOs to utilise knowledge and skills in previous phases of the project in solving concrete environmental problems on the local level, 3) feed environmental legislative process and accession negotiation in chapters 27, 15 and 11 with concrete recommendations.
Following priorities and issues were taken into account in development of the project activities: (a) environment priorities in Serbia for 2014-2015, as stated in the NPAA; (b) obstacles for public participation in decision making which may have impact on environment; (c) significantly slowed pace of transposition of EU environmental Acquis, growing legal gaps and discrepancies in the quality of implementation of already transposed Acquis, and (d) lack of financial resources for implementation of environmental policy.
Project is focused on several very highly prioritised topics:
- Protection and enhancement of natural resources;
- Implementation of Aarhus Convention and EU horizontal legislation which secures public participation in environmental decision making;
- sustainable financing of environmental policies through programme budgeting on local level;
- CSOs participation in environmental legislative activities and accession negotiation process in Chapters 27, 15 and 11.
The main goal of the project:
Improving and increasing the participation of civil society organizations in decision-making processes in the field of environmental protection at the local level in the European integration process.
Using outputs from previous 2 years of the project, project partners will:
- work on inclusive and transparent environmental programming in municipalities where the Green Councils were established in 2nd year of the project;
- advocate for the establishment of 3 new Green Councils;
- support policy advocacy campaigns for protection and enhancement of natural resources in 3 municipalities (with CSOs involved in first two years of the project and on the basis of the recommendations developed in the previous phase);
- feed with recommendations legislative process in line with NPAA and accession negotiation process in chapters 27, 15 and 11. These activities are in line with NPAA legislative activities and priorities for the period June 2014 – June 2015, National Environmental Approximation Strategy (sectorial approximation and financing of funding gaps) and priority objectives of the EU 7th Environment Action Programme to be achieved by 2020.
The structure of the activities for the 3rd year of implementation of the KnowHow2Act project:
- Workshops for evidence-based advocacy in environmental policy management – workshop will be organised for representatives of 20 CSOs, selected amongst CSOs involved in capacity building activities in previous 2 years of project implementation. Priority will be given to grass-root CSOs which produced policy briefs with recommendations for concrete changes in local environmental policy and with experience in advocacy activities. Within the scope of the workshop implementing partners will help selected CSOs to develop Advocacy Policy Framework (APF) practical, multidimensional mapping and planning tool for effective evidence based advocacy.
- Policy advocacy campaign for sustainable management of natural resources – this activity will be implemented in three local municipalities Subotica, Valjevo, and Veliko Gradiste with CSOs who produced policy briefs in 2nd year of the Project with recommendations on how to protect and enhance the natural resources in three above mentioned local communities. Implemetning partners assisted these organisations to develop recommendations for advocacy change so the next logical step for the implementing partners is to support CSOs activities in developing and utilise APFs in their own advocacy campaigns. Focus of the campaigns will be fighting illegal sand exploitation in Subotica, inadequate energy efficiency management in Valjevo, and improving of the system for management of water quality in Srebrno jezero.
- CSOs hub for environmental policy development – this activity combines: a) advocacy efforts aiming to improve local institutional framework which secures CSOs participation in environmental decision making; b) activities aiming at improving municipal environmental programmes as pillar documents for local environmental planning on annual basis, and c) concrete efforts made by CSOs to contribute to the environmental legislative process. This activity consists of following sub-activities:
- Establishment of 3 Green Councils – Implementing partners will continue to advocate for establishing of Green Councils (in previous phase 5 Green Councils were established) as innovative institutional frameworks securing CSOs and multi-stakeholder participation in decision making which can have impact on local environment. BOS and EMinS will conduct this sub-activity in Sabac, Vrsac, and Ljubovija – municipalities where this initiative was already launched in the 2nd year of the project.
- Participative development of municipal environmental programmes – this activity will be implemented in 5 municipalities where Green Councils were established in the framework of this project (Vranje, Paracin, Kraljevo, Batocina and Trstenik). Implementing partners will work with Green Councils (particularly CSOs appointed in these Councils) so as to secure Councils’ full participation in development and subsequently monitoring of annual environmental programmes as key documents which secure strategic environmental planning in policy making process and represent basis for disbursement plan of environmental related local budgets.
- Support to legislative process in accordance with NPAA – This activity emerged at that time as an added value from the networking and joined work of BOS, EMinS and CSOs within capacity building component in the previous year of project implementation. Having this in mind it was then organised in a rather partisan way an somewhat successfully, project partners will pursue this activity in a more strategically based manner in 2014-2015 following the priorities of the NPAA as overarching document for legislative process in environment in this period. Consultations with CSOs will be organised so as to produce recommendations for the Action Plan for implementation of National Plan for Protection of Environment, amendments and supplements to the Law on Environmental Protection, Law on Nature Protection.
- Working group Environment (WG) of the National Convention on the EU (NCEU) will continue its work in the 3rd year of the project. NCEU Working Group Environment will be consisted of CSOs, national administration, local authorities, business community, professional organizations, and media dealing with the environmental protectition and will have 10 sessions (Belgrade: 4, local municipalities: 6). It will focuse on concrete contributions of CSOs in development of Serbia’s negotiation position in following sectors: envirnement (Ch. 27), energy (Ch. 15) and agriculture (Ch. 11). Discussion within the WG will be based on the previously prepared background papers by expert analysts circulated to the WG members before the session. After each NCEU session, the recommendations based on the inputs and discussions will be widely disseminated to all stakeholders in relevant sector. Publication in volume of 300 copies containing recomandations from all NCEU session will be printed and widely disseminated at the end of year 3 of the Project.
The time frame of the project:
The third year of the project implementation will run from December 2014 to Decemeber 2015.The project is implemented by the European Movement in Serbia, Belgrade Open School, Centre for Civil Society PROTECTA and UNECOOP.
The project is funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.