Environmental protection most important factor for economic development

Release date: 26.05.2017.
IMG_3796.JPG Environmental protection is one of the most important topics in the context of sustainable economic development, which is the general conclusion of the debate organised by the Institute for Territorial Economic Development at the International Business College in Mitrovica North. The conference is organized within the project "Policy Dialogue for Environmental Protection and Development Action" supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo.

Problems concerning the environmental protection need to be solved systematically, as agreed by the participants of three panel discussions where they addressed the issues of municipal waste, forests and agriculture.

When it comes to municipal waste, the lack of involvement of the private sector was underlined, particularly in North Kosovo, where there are no partnerships between private and public companies.
"In rural areas, there is still no organised way of collecting waste by the competent authorities, so there is a chance to involve the private sector. It is important to raise awareness of the fact that municipal waste is not seen purely as waste but as a valuable resource for economic development" says Marija Milenkovic, Project Manager at InTER.

Illegal landfills, lack of staff, lack of awareness of citizens are highlighted as some of the most important problems in waste management. The panelists also pointed out the necessity of paying for utility services in a sustainable way - a higher price should be paid by those who produce waste.

Conference participants consider that in order to establish efficient collection service, it is necessary to strengthen supervision of the relevant institutions.

"Municipalities should be responsible for this waste. They should send inspections to see how waste is managed regardless of whether they are public or private companies, "said Enver Tahiri from the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.

The situation regarding forests in Kosovo was the topic of the second panel discussion where the problem of illegal logging was underlined. Panelists believe it is necessary to have a greater involvement of the inspections and police, to increase investment in this area, as well as to have economic empowerment of the population in the villages. However, the participants believe that political will is crucial in order for this systemic problem to be solved.

According to the participants of the third panel discussion, problems in agriculture are related to the lack of strategic planning, lack of proper production management and uncontrolled use of pesticides. Lack of infrastructure and proper production management are also obstacles to the development of agriculture.

"Solving these problems must include state authorities, governance bodies, primarily professional services. We need to develop a strategy because agriculture cannot develop spontaneously, it is not done that way anywhere" says a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture in Lesak, Aleksandar Đikić.

InTER's recommendations for improving the water situation in Kosovo are related to the necessity of strengthening the water supply of drinking and technical water, the completion of the regional water supply, protection of watercourses from sewage and illegal landfills.

The Project "Policy Dialogue for Environmental Protection and Development Action" is financially supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo. Conference topics have also been discussed at the four round tables organized in the municipalities of Mitrovica North, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic.


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