Environmental Problems of East Central Europe

By F. W. Carter; David Turnock | Go to book overview

18

Yugoslavia

Richard Clarke

Introduction

Present-day Yugoslavia covers the territory of what was left of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Socialistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija (SFRJ) following the secession, from late 1991, first of Slovenia, then, successively, of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and finally, Macedonia. This 'rump' - the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Savezna Republika Jugoslavija (SRJ) - consists constitutionally of two sovereign republics, Serbia and Montenegro (Figure 18.1). Each has a separate government, legal and administrative system within the Federal constitution. They are often separately represented at international fora: within SRJ their relationship is uneasy and its future uncertain. Serbia today includes the former (SFRJ) 'autonomous provinces' of Vojvodina to the north and Kosovo to the south. Since 1987, both were progressively assimilated - administratively and politically - into the Republic of Serbia and were formally stripped of their autonomy under a new constitution adopted by Serbia in September 1990. Both SRJ and its constituent entities have uncertain status in international law. The declaration in April 1992 by Serbia and Montenegro that SRJ was the legal successor of the SFRJ was a de facto recognition of the secession of the other four republics. However, the United Nations ruled in September of that year that this could not automatically be the case and excluded SRJ from the General Assembly; subsequently the recognition of SRJ by other nations has been uncertain. Kosovo is presently under military control of NATO (and Russian) armed forces (KFOR), its administration in the hands of a United Nations mission (UNMIK); its future can only be a matter of conjecture.

Examination of environmental issues in Yugoslavia must be informed by two principal considerations: (1) the physical and ecological characteristics of the region, and its social and economic development up to and including the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in 1991; and (2) events since 1991, including socioeconomic changes, the effect of external sanctions consequent on Yugoslavia's involvement in the civil war in neighbouring Bosnia and Hercegovina (1992-95) and, most recently, the civil war in Kosovo and the intervention of NATO. The latter, in particular, cast a shadow over any analysis of Yugoslavia and its future, including the matters dealt with in this chapter, which therefore includes

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