Impact of sector strategies on the environment

Pristine, 31 March 2021 – Levizja FOL  with the support of the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS) has published the report “Impact of sector strategies on the environment”.

The report reveals the fact that Kosovo is facing major environmental damage as a result of bureaucratic legislation that ultimately ends up unimplemented, as a result of lack of inter-institutional cooperation, abuse of permits and licenses for use, unbridled ambition of EOs to maximize profits to the detriment of the environment and the failure of institutions to monitor and sanction such actions harmful to the environment and the common good. Often, institutions choose to do nothing on the grounds of lack of budget. Thus, they fail to prevent the even greater budget flow that is caused as a result of endangering the health of citizens and further degradation of the environment.

The biggest challenge that Kosovo faces in this regard is balancing current development with preserving the environment for future generations. The policy orientation of each sector is done through long-term strategies which usually do not aim only at development, but aim at sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development basically has the utilization of resources. Given that resources are exhausted and not evenly distributed. Therefore, they must be managed within the limits provided by applicable law and other strategic documents that guide public policy.

This report examines the environmental impact of five strategies:

  1. Mining Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo 2012–2025,
  2. Forestry Development Strategy 2010–2020,
  3. Energy Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo 2017–2026,
  4. Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo for Waste Management 2013–2022, and
  5. Air Quality Strategy 2013–2022.

Every strategy has at least one specific objective that addresses environmental protection. The commitment to environmental protection, however, begins and ends only on paper. In certain areas (eg air quality or waste management) the situation is getting worse. The costs of implementing or not implementing the Strategies are always just financial calculations. Given the nature of the sectors that are subject to these Strategies, the cost of the impact of the sector (eg energy, or mining and minerals) on the environment and the health of citizens is neglected. As such, the real cost of the ‘do nothing’ option is even higher than the cost of interventions.

Most of the times, monitoring raports on the implementation of these Strategies are not documents published on the website, and as such are not easily accessible to the public. The final and clear version of the Strategies should be published on the website of the responsible institutions, together with the relevant Annexes and implementation monitoring reports. In the absence of such transparency, citizens are deprived of information on whether such Strategies have been implemented. Strategy monitoring is treated as a bureaucratic issue of compliance with a report, and not as a continuing institutional obligation. In light of the deteriorating situation in some sectors, the responsible institutions have failed to take appropriate action either to punish the perpetrators, or to improve inter-institutional cooperation between them.

The largest investments in environmental protection have occurred not from the state budget, but from development assistance. The perception that environmental protection is only an international requirement has largely caused dependence on the financing of such projects mainly from donors. Local ownership and taking the environment seriously will be measured by the allocation of own funds from the Kosovo budget for such projects aimed at protecting the environment.

This activity is supported by the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS).