Environmental Problems of East Central Europe

By F. W. Carter; David Turnock | Go to book overview
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company) after the need arose during the Kosovo War when the army hospital in Skopje was overwhelmed by medical waste. These early initiatives have developed into a Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (SPSEE) which comprises an official international body established to address the damage arising both from the Kosovo War and previous neglect and to bring the countries of the region into the EU enlargement exercise. This arrangement for former non-candidate countries (though the list includes Bulgaria and Romania while excluding Yugoslavia from full membership prior to the demise of the Milošević presidency) provides for a Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme (RERP), launched in January 2000 with E28mln of funding for environmental rehabilitation following wars and previous neglect. This is an initiative taken by the countries of the region themselves and it has now been endorsed by the environment ministers. The purpose of RERP is to restore an environment damaged by war, as well as by the severe drought which also occurred during 2000. With 'quick start' projects followed by longer term programmes, the resources will be used for priority local and national projects to strengthen EIA procedures, improve environmental monitoring and project preparation and enhance regional cooperation of the kind currently evident at Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. The reopening of the Danube shipping lane should be achieved during 2002 now that the Pact's Economic Development Working Group has approved the RERP. The EU will pay up to 85 per cent of the cost of the project agreed by the Danube Commission in Vienna (which does not include the rebuilding of bridges). More generally there will be an emphasis on strengthening institutions and policy development and on raising awareness among civil society so that ENGO/civil society networks will exert an influence. In addition to the war damage there are non-ferrous metallurgical smelters which are major hazards. Kosovo's Zvecan lead factory near Mitrovica (within the run-down Trepča mining complex) needs a fully compliant waste management system to remove the hazards posed to local people and the peace-keeping troops deployed there. But there are other serious problems in Macedonia.


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