KNOW HOW TO ACT 2012/2013


The European Council has confirmed the status of candidate for Serbian EU membership in March 2012, and it is expected for Serbia to get a date for starting accession negotiations. This brings new set of challenges in various areas before state and society. In process of satisfying all requirements, environmental protection and climate change, which is achievable only in the long term, has been left beyond all categories. So far, Serbia has adopted a great number of legal and strategic documents in the field of environmental protection and climate change. National Strategy for Approximation of Environmental Protection was adopted in November 2011 and has set a framework for the implementation and enforcement of EU legislation (EU Acquis) after obtaining the candidate status. Although significant progress has been made through the establishment of a legal framework based on the standards of the EU, Serbia still has a lot of work left in this area. The European Commission Progress Report states that the national public awareness on environmental protection and climate change increased, but that the public participation in decision-making and access to information in this area is still at a very low level.

This is especially true for public participation in the assessment of environmental impacts, projects regarding energy efficiency and the use of funds intended for environmental protection system. Civil society organizations are generally not recognized as equal partners to the authorities at central and local levels. Consequently, this leads to unsustainable and a less responsible environmental policy, which is unable to produce a positive impact and effects on society. Therefore it is necessary to invest additional efforts in order to build a strong partnership between the stakeholders in the community at all levels. Civil society organizations have a mission to strengthen advocacy campaigns and to develop proposals for public policy to overcome the negative trend.

The project has been harmonized with the recommendations of the EU and the Council of Europe regarding public participation, the Aarhus Convention and other legal documents aimed at strengthening the competence of civil society to provide a critical review of the situation in the field of environmental protection, and provide feedback and suggestions for solving the problems. Strengthened civil society will be able to contribute to the sustainable community development and successful implementation of the EU standards and policies in the field of the environmental protection.

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 through training programs aimed at building the capacity of civil society organizations.
Project activities:

Given the results of the project in the first year of implementation (the research that estimated the capacity of local actors responsible for environmental protection, the recommendation session of the National Convention on EU advocacy and two series of training), this year's project activities are primarily focused on local energy planning, climate change adaptation at the local level, the application of Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the management of public funding for the environment protection and the participation of civil society organizations in the negotiations with the EU.
• Training program in which regional trainings for representatives of CSOs that are focused on activities in the field of environmental protection will be continued. The training program will be designed for strengthening of the knowledge of environmental protection in the European integration process, presenting examples in the region and strengthen the skills of CSO representatives needed for writing policy papers and advocacy in this area, especially in the programming and monitoring of planning and use of financial resources in the field of environmental protection. In the second year of the project three regional training will be organized.

 Organization of the regional meetings of the National Convent on EU. The sessions of NC EU will be themed and dedicated to participation of civil society organizations in the EU accession negotiations, in chapters relating to the protection of the environment and energy, financing the system of environmental protection, climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water management and cross-border cooperation. By organizing meetings of NC EU the process of public debate among the relevant actors in the field will be strengthen in order to improve cooperation. The sessions will be organized in Belgrade, Nis and Paracin.

• Advocacy campaigns aimed at strengthening the participation of local CSOs in the decision-making process in the field of environmental protection.

• Administrating project web site and networking of CSOs through the social networks.

The time frame of the project:

The second year of the project implementation will run from June 2013 to June 2014.

The project is implemented by the European Movement in Serbia.

Project partners are Belgrade Open School, Centre for Civil Society PROTECTA and UNECOOP.

The project is funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.













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