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Opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation

Forum on Enviromental Protection

Riinvest Institute, in cooperation with other partner organizations "Development Group" and "Community Development Institute" part of the project “Strengthen Strategic Development and Cross Municipal/Community Cooperation and Partnership”, organized the Forum on Environmental Protection, on the occasion of which it was published Riinvest’s study “Environmental Protection in 16 municipalities – Opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation.”

The project is part of the program Advancing Kosovo Together – Local Solutions program funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Community Development Fund (CDF), and it includes 16 municipalities of: Gracanica, Kllokot, Novobërdë, Partesh, Ranillugë, Shtërpce, Gjilan, Istog, Klinë, Obiliq, Pejë, Vushtrri, Mitrovica North, Leposaviq, Zubin Potok, and Zveçan. The overall objective of the project is to encourage municipalities to establish partnerships and regional networks to address issues of common concern, consolidate and improve good governance standards, and develop new approaches to current and future challenges in local governance.

The forum was opened by Mr. Alban Hashani, research director at Riinvest Institute, who on his opening remarks mentioned the most important points of the project. A key point mentioned by Mr. Hashani was raising the level of inter-municipal cooperation in order to solve joint problems. After presenting key points of the project, Mr. Hashani also shortly presented the report on environmental protection, emphasizing that the report shows the actual condition in the 16 municipalities, joint problems, regional practices in creating inter-municipal cooperation, and opportunities on inter-municipal cooperation in waste management.

Ms. Perihane Ymeri - Ustaibo, project management specialist at USAID discussed regarding the importance of the project, and the importance that USAID gives to inter-municipal cooperation, including the financial support of this project. Ms. Ymeri once more confirmed the support of US government for such projects, with high importance for environmental protection which according to her result in an increased inter-municipal cooperation and efficiency. In her closing remarks, Ms. Ymeri declared that the activities of the program “Advancing Kosovo Together – Local Solutions” will be focused in engaging people to think, talk, participate and cooperate together with members of other communities, and at the same time engage in discussion and generate creative ideas for inter-municipal cooperation.

The report published from Riinvest Institute “Environmental Protection in 16 Municipalities – Opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation” was presented by advanced researcher at Riinvest Institute, Diellza Gashi. Ms. Gashi presented the joint problems and challenges that these municipalities face with environmental protection and practices used from neighboring countries in protecting the environment through inter-municipal cooperation’s. Ms. Gashi also presented some ideas for inter-municipal cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning Mr. Ferid Agani, thanked Riinvest Institute and other partner organizations in the project for their commitment and work conducted in environmental protection. According to Mr. Agani, the analysis and identification of joint environmental problems, presents a very important contribute for raising environmental quality. “Our right is to have a clear environmental development, and this is our objective and vision”. - declared Mr. Agani. According to him environmental protection in Kosovo has been neglected very much due to heavy socio-economic circumstances. Mr. Agani also mentioned the difficulties which the country faces. According to him the implementation of EU’s legislation has been accompanied with many difficulties. Also the objective of the government for environmental protection has a huge discrepancy with the government’s actual budget, since according to him only 0.5% of the actual budget is allocated for the environment. Mr. Agani also mentioned as an important difficulty the lack of environmental departments and officials on municipal level. On his closing remarks, Mr. Agani emphasized once more that the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning is committed to work in protecting the environment, stressing that it is highly important to have cooperation among central and local governments. as well as increased commitment and responsibility from all the involved parties.

 

Mr. Avdullah Nishori from Regional Center of Environment discussed regarding the Local Action Plan for Environment, drafted for the majority of the municipalities in Kosovo. Mr. Avdullahu also discussed regarding joint problems which municipalities face regarding the environment and also for opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation.

 

The forum was closed with the discussion if the 16 municipal officials, that discussed on challenges and opportunities of cooperation. Meanwhile, Mr. Alban Hashani in his concluding remark, noted that from this joint discussion, the joint municipal problems were once again reconfirmed, that also came out from Riinvest Institute’s report; thus he encouraged municipalities to cooperate more with each other.

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