The main developments in the field of the environment in Montenegro continue to be of a legislative nature aimed at fulfilling international obligations from ratified conventions and agreements. The single most important piece of legislation is a new Law on Environment (Official Gazette of Montenegro, No. 052/16). Its provisions align with the obligations stemming from numerous international conventions that Montenegro ratified after the adoption of the previous Law on Environment in 2008 (the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention); the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context; the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context; the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents; and so on) as well as from previously ratified conventions. Furthermore, it encompasses some of the main ideas of the newly adopted strategic documents in the field of sustainable development and the environment (the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Montenegro, adopted in 2016; the Strategy on Climate Change; the Strategy of Low Carbon Development; the Plan to Adapt to Climate Change; the National Plan to Combat Desertification; the Strategy for the Protection of the Marine Environment; the National Strategy for Integrated Coastal Zone Management; and so on) (<http://www.skupstina.me/zakoni/web/dokumenta/zakoni-i-drugi-akti/892/930-5520-27-1-15-1.PDF>). In regard to new ratifications, the Parliament of Montenegro has adopted the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities. Regarding strategic documents, the most important ones with international significance are the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Montenegro, and the National Strategy for the Transposition, Implementation and Enforcement of the acquis in the Field of Environment and Climate Change, together with its Action Plan for the period 2016–20. The most important fields of implementation for international obligations in 2016 were public participation in environmental decision making and climate change. (1) Aarhus Convention The new Law on Environment governs the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development, environmental protection instruments and measures, as well as other issues of relevance for the environment. With respect to the existing principles of environmental protection and the principle of access to information and public participation, a new principle is added—the principle of protection of the right to a healthy environment and related access to environmental justice. It stipulates that a citizen or a group of citizens, their associations, and professional and other organizations may influence decision making in environmental matters by the competent authorities as well as access justice and before the court. Within the new chapter of the law that is related to the access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice, a special article (Article 72) provides that in a decision-making procedure related to environmental matters the interested public shall have the right to initiate a procedure for decision review before a competent authority or before the court in accordance with the law. The interested public has the right to file an appeal against the decision of the authority competent for environmental protection—that is, the right to sue before a competent court in accordance with special regulations. The Aarhus Convention is traditionally the subject of interest not only of public authorities and the general and interested public but also of some international organizations. Thus, the Study on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters Particularly in Respect to the Scope of Review in the Selected Countries of South-Eastern Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, which had the participation of Montenegrin experts, provides for important information regarding the implementation of the third pillar of the convention in Montenegro. In addition to a thorough analysis of the legal framework of Montenegro relevant for the access to justice, this study encompasses the main case law in Montenegro regarding the Aarhus Convention (cases before Administrative Court and the ombudsman). This study was produced within the project entitled Better Access to Justice in the South Eastern Europe, which was implemented by the Regional Environmental Centre. The project is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme for Environmental Protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It is supervised by the German Environment Agency. (2) Climate Change In the field of climate change, the activities that commenced in previous years continued. Thus, the third National Report of Montenegro to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was implemented in July 2016 and will last until 2020. The main objective of the project is the fulfilment of the obligations of Montenegro to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project will also help build national capacity to fulfil the obligations of Montenegro under the convention on an ongoing basis and will further work to increase awareness of climate change issues, with a view to greater integration of these issues into national and sectoral policies, strategies, and programs. Moreover, the second biennial report of Montenegro on climate change under the UNFCCC began in mid-December 2016 and will last until the end of 2018. The project aims to provide an updated inventory of emissions of greenhouse gases as well as information regarding activities to mitigate climate change and its effects. The project will contribute to improving information technology, finance, and the needs of capacity building and technical support as well as the elaboration of the concept of a national system for monitoring, reporting, and verification. Nevertheless, the most important regional project in the field has been the Adaptation to Climate Change in Mountain Regions. The main objective of the project is to promote regional cooperation and encourage mutual dialogue regarding mountain ecosystems in the context of climate change and adaptation to climate change as well as encouraging inter-regional exchange of experiences and best practices at the global level. Through highly visible and informative instruments (consolidation and compilation of existing information and data relating to climate change and adaptation in mountainous regions, with a particular focus on relevant policies and institutions), the project will, in the first phase, promote understanding and, particularly, adaptation to climate change in targeted mountainous regions. (3) Harmonization with the EU Law In July 2016, the government of Montenegro adopted a National Strategy for the Transposition, Implementation and Enforcement of the acquis in the Field of Environment and Climate Change with an Action Plan for the period 2016–20. Based on the summary of the Action Plan for Chapter 27: Environment and Climate Change for EU accession negotiations, in accordance with the report of the European Commission on the progress of Montenegro in 2016, Montenegro has done well regarding Chapter 27. Good progress was made in regard to the further harmonization of national legislation with the EU acquis; however, significant efforts are needed in terms of implementation and monitoring of the implementation of the transposed legislation, particularly in the sectors of water, nature protection, and waste management. In several sectors, some of the legislation was amended or new bylaws were adopted. Thus, the Parliament passed the Law on Amendments to the Law on Waste Management (Official Gazette of Montenegro, No. 39/16) by which Montenegro further aligned its legislation with the acquis in the field of waste (EU Directive 2012/19 on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, EU Directive 2011/65 on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, and EC Directive 2006/21 on Mining Waste). In the field of air quality, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism adopted a bylaw amending the Bylaw on the Manner and Conditions of Monitoring Air Quality (Official Gazette of Montenegro, No. 32/16), which partially transposed EU Directive 2015/1480 amending EC Directive 2008/50 in regard to the reference methods and validation data. (4) Activities in Specific Fields or Specific Activities A project entitled the Revision of the National Implementation Plan (NIP) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was launched in 2016, and its completion is expected in 2018. The project will provide revision and updating of the NIP in accordance with the obligations for reporting (Article 15) and updating the NIP of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Among the various waste management projects with international support are the rehabilitation of unsanitary landfills in Cetinje and the restoration of unsanitary landfills in Bar. Both projects began under the framework of the Operational Program for Regional Development, and work was completed on the construction of a recycling yard and transfer station in the municipality of Žabljak and the building was opened in 2016. (The project is worth approximately €2.5 million, and the funds were provided under the program of international cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia and Montenegro). © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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