Prof dr. Anđelka Mihajlov, Environmental Ambassador for Sustainable Development, is a Full Professor at Faculty of Technical Sciences, the University of Novi Sad and Coordinator for environment and green economy at the Public Policy Institute. UN and EU expert, scientist and consultant. She has more than 300 published scientific papers. In last 20 years, her frameworks of the professional orientation are the environment and sustainable development.
European Western Balkans: What are in your opinion, the biggest ecological problems in Serbia?
Andjelka Mihajlov: The decades in which values and prosperity were/is created based on the principles of traditional economic models not managed to change ever-growing excessive consumption of natural resources and to fight marginalization of environmental issues. This is diagnosis for all over the Western Balkan region. My opinion is, that despite some good and very good snapshots and flagship cases relevant for environment sector, the highest environmental problem in Serbia, as well as in all countries in region, is “position” of sector in agenda of development: not among priorities and priority concerns.
EWB: Serbia expects one of the most difficult chapters in the negotiations with the EU, Chapter 27 relating the environment. In what extent is Serbia preparing for the opening of this chapter?
Serbia is having now 14 years of commitment to EU membership. In environmental sector it was, and it is a great challenge, especially having in mind “grey and brown environmental heritage”. In the frame of these more than ten years of actions, I could tell that improvement is respectable. However, a lot of issues remain unsolved.
In 2012 Serbia became a candidate for EU membership, and on 21st of January 2014 officially opened accession negotiations. Environmental negotiation process in Serbia started with Explanatory screening in September 2014, and followed with bilateral screening in November 2014. Screening report is expected by EC sometimes in 2015. Progress towards EU in the sector Environment (and Climate Change) vary from limited progress (2005), to moderate advanced (2006), little progress (2007, 2008, 2013,2014), some progress (2012), progressed well (2011), the establishment of ambitious legislative program (2002-2004), and to good progress (2009,2010).
And coming back to the question, Serbia is prepared and preparing to open negotiation in Chapter 27, with strong message from my side: it is crucially important to include people/experts with appropriate knowledge, skills and experience, as well as to effective coordinate actions with other sectors.
EWB: What will pose as a major challenge in this chapter?
AM: One of the main challenge is to harmonize socio-economic development with EU’s Resources-Efficient and Low-Carbon Policies and to implement in national legislation, already transposited EU environmental acquis at large extend.
I would like to underline a few national strategic documents: Strategy towards EU accession (2005), National Environmental Program (2010), with Action Plan (2014/15) and the 2011 National Environmental Approximation Strategy. The last one sets three goals: full and high quality transposition of the EU environmental acquis; maintenance of effective and affordable environmental infrastructure and services; and institutional arrangements for efficient approximation.
EWB: How much are events such as IV International Miteco Forum important in this process?
AM: I should acknowledge the intention of the Miteco Forum to bring professionals and experts to the floor, together with governmental official, international organization representatives and all interested in subject. I am very happy that I had opportunity to share reflection from 2014 European Resources Forum, just finished in Berlin, where I participated. I talked on Panel, promoting sustainable use of natural resources in hand with climate change actions. The part of my presentation was short introduction of the Seventh Environmental Action Program to the Miteco Forum audience.
And one more value of Miteco Forum – this is starting to be growing “family gathering” of professionals interested in environmental and waste issues. My pleasure is to see among them, my colleagues, followers, former and current students and civil society fellows.
EWB: What do you think is a good model for solving the problems of industrial and hazardous waste in companies that are in the process of restructuring?
AM: It is known, that personally I “entered” environmental sector through “hazardous waste door”. For years I was technical expert on Basel convention issues.
I do support main principles of preventive measures and environmentally friendly measures for and future generations’ well-being.
I do not support “one model fit all” in solving historical and existing pollution, mainly related to the industrial and the hazardous waste, in companies changing ownerships.
Environmental Due Diligence and environmental liability tools, combined with technical feasible solutions, could serve as the guideline frame. For now, when country do not have licensed hazardous waste facility, technical feasible solution is the export of hazardous waste (as it is practice in Serbia). It has to be understand, that when changing the ownership of company it should go hand-in-hand with proposed solutions and decision who is paying.
EWB: What are benefits of Serbia joining the European Union when it comes to the field of environmental protection?
AM: With EU accession and membership, Serbian citizens should have great benefits to share the same, high environmental values.
Empowering the environment sector, including promoting knowledge based actions and straightening expert capacities, as well investment in infrastructure that supports all aspects of sustainable development (sustainable/green growth) with socially sensible job creation, are challenges we are facing. We should “position” environment sector much higher in the agenda of development!
Andjelka Mihajlov was a member of the Serbian Government as the Minister for Protection of Natural Resources and Environment from June 2002 to March 2004, commencing significant reforms in the environmental sector in the country, with significant results in international and regional cooperation. In 2006, UN Environment Program identified her as the woman “environmental leader of the Western Balkans”. Prof. Mihajlov headed the expert team which prepared the Study on Green Economy for Serbia which was the basic platform for participation of the Serbian delegation at Rio+20 UN Conference in Brazil. In the period from 2005 to 2010, she was the member of the Environmental and Social Advisory Council to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. She is a member of the National Committee for UNESCO and the Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. She is national mentor for Foundation for Environmental Education with the seat in Copenhagen
March 2019: UN Environment : 4th Assembly (and pre- and side-events) , ENV.net related event
Call for sub-grants (6.novembar 2018: Otvoren poziv za dodelu sub-grantova u okviru ENV.net projekta)
ENV.net Initiative: to update National Strategy on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Goods, by applying Circular Economy concept ; ENV.net Initiative and Knowledge based advocacy: to update National Strategy of Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Follow project at : facebook.com/envnetsite/ and www.env-net.org
February 2018 – ENV.net 3 Kick-off Meeting in Tirana
In December 2017. we started with ENV.net 3 : ENV-net factoring the environmental portfolio for Western Balkans and Turkey in the EU Policy Agenda
(reference number 2017/394-372)
Development of ENV.net in West Balkan and Turkey: giving citizens a voice to influence the environmental process reforms for closer EU integration – EuropeAid/132438/C/ACT/Multi – 2012/306-642 and 2014/351-610 (2012-2016)
The project builds on the experience of an EU-funded project, namely the Environment Forum , implemented in the period 2009-2012, aiming at developing capacities of environmental NGOs to establish a constructive dialogue with national authorities. The present project strategy has been designed to achieve a greater commitment and capacity of a group of CSOs coming from Environment Forum experience and which have agreed on the creation of a new network, the ENV.net, to support the civil activism, give citizens a voice and influence the public reform processes in the approximation to the environment acquis. With the view to further enhance their capacities to work with CSOs and to share experience with other European countries, EEB has accepted to participate and to share its experience. Project objective - Greater commitment and capacity of the ENV.net to give citizens a voice and influence public sector reform processes in the environment sector through analysis, monitoring and advocacy.
ENV.net – Serbia team include: Dr Nataša Žugić Drakulić –National Coordinator and Filip Jovanović – assistant , chosen in transparent process by „ Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development“, partner organisation in this project. In addition, National consultant for European integration is Prof dr Andjelka Mihajlov (in the first year of the project), dr Hristina Stevanović Čarapina is leading expert .
Some of activities could be followed only in Serbian, like calls to participate, and other actions targeted to citizens in Serbia.
Highlights: ENV.net publications
- A Guideline of EU Accession Monitoring Tools for CSOs in candidate and potential candidate countries: Chapter 27, (Authors and contributors: Andjelka Mihajlov, Natasa Zugic-Drakulic, Filip Jovanovic, Federico Bastia, Simona Pogliani, Mara Silina, Teida Shehi and Dusko Hristov), Published by Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development with the financial assistance of the EU – ENV.net project document, Belgrade January 2015
- How to influence environmental policy through effective advocacy (Authors: Margherita Tolotto and Mara Silina), ENV.net Advocacy Toolkit, European Environmental Bureau, Brussels, January 2015
- Climate change and challenges of the enlargement (Authors: Anja Kolmuss, Dragana Mileusnic, Zanna Vanrenterghem and Richard Filcak), ENV.net Advocacy Toolkit, European Environmental Bureau, Brussels,September 2016
March 2016 - New internet portal: Greenweb
January 2016 – Save the date for EnE16-ENV.net Conference ; We participate: Regional Conference: „Sustainability of the FPAs” , Brussels . Water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus assessment in the Sava River Basin – Lessons learned and further steps
May 26, 2015 – Promotional activity
April - THE ELEVENTH REGIONAL CONFERENCE ENVIRONMENT TO EUROPE – ENE15 – ENV.NET acknowledged as the European Sustainable Development Week event
February 2, 2015: Invitation for EnE15-ENV.net Conference launched
January 29, 2015: A Guideline of EU Accession Monitoring Tools for CSOs in candidate and potential candidate countries (ENV.net region): Chapter 27 , document finalized
January 27, 2015: Promotion of Publication
January 8, 2015: Promotion of Publication
December 31: Thematic Publication “Environment to Europe”, 2014 ( Tematski zbornik radova “Životna sredina ka Evropi”)
October 28 – Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection is co-funded ENV.net project , contract signed
October 2014 – ENV.net brochure published and presented
October 14 – ENV.net related: Participation on Conference “Eco-standards and Education”
September 29 – ENV.net Round-table Dialogue for Green Future (ENV.net okrugli sto sa niškim srednjoškolcima “Dijalogom ka zelenijoj budućnosti“) (sub-grant)
September 23-25, Brussels: ENV.net preparatory partnership meeting and Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) Closing Event for Phase I
September 19-24 , We are following Explanatory Screening for the Chapter 27
July 27 – Partnership with media – Radio Beograd 2
May 22-24, 2014 – 4th Partners Meeting in Milan
May 10, 2014 – ENV.net Let us clean up Europe! event: Ada Ciganlija Beograd ; ENV.net Serbia with children, parents and teachers “cleaning up Serbia” , Event in pictures
May 22-24, 2014 – 4th ENV.net Partners Meeting in Milan
April 5, 2014 – Education for future citizens of EU: guest lecturing at the Law Faculty
April 2, 2014 – ECRAN NGOs Environment and Climate Change Forum – Evaluation Outcome - Congratulation to ENV.net partners!!!!
April 1, 2014 – Protego and Protecta sign subcontracting contracts
Marc 20-9, 2014 – EASD written contribution to the 2014 Progress Report
From February 2014 – EU negotiation process: we are following explanatory screenings
February 26, 2014 - In accordance with procedure, QUESTIONS by potential applicants with our ANSWERS are posted on web site on February 26, at 07:00 , taking in account questions received by February 25 at 23:59
February 13, 2014 - Environment in youth policy in Serbia
February 12, 2014 – Meeting with ENVAP2 Project representatives
February 7, 2014 - Participation on Training related the Sector Planning Documents – SPDs
January 30,2014 – Thematic meeting of the SECO mechanism on IPA II programming
January 19, 2014 – EASD / ENV.net Team reading of European Parliament Resolution, January 2014
January 07, 2014 – Starting preparation for ENV.net 2014 Round-table / Conference
January 2, 2014 – Attention to ENVIRONMENT in EUROPA DAIRY
December 23, 2013 – Workshop on environmental values for kindergarten children from Sombor (Minutes) , Participation on meetings in Nature Protection Institute and Agency for Environmental Protection
Decembar 20, 2013 – In media : Promotion of knowledge based information
December 17, 2013 – ENV.net region news: European Affairs ministers give green light to Serbia’s EU negotiations
December 16, 2013: Workshop for strategic planning of further work SECO mechanism
December 3, 2013 - ENV.net presented to the master students of Faculty of Security Studies
December 2, 2013 - Eye on EU integration process: Parliament of Serbia , Eye on SEE regional cooperation
November 28, 2013 - Meeting FPA project grantees with DG Enlargement representative
Environmental Education of future EU citizens: Activity on November 19,2013
|Acknowledging the outreach of ENV.net Survey and ENV.net 2013 Roudtable recomendations, EASD – ENV.net Serbia recognized importance of children/youth education for active EU citizenship , through promotion of EU environmental values. We would like to share moments from kindergarten “Pčelice”, from village Šetonje, as promotion event for environmental values in education. With children and teachers, as well as EASD Team, there were Prof dr Ivica Radovic and mr Ljubiša Antonijević, assistant ministers for education and science.|
Partnership with municipality - On November 18., 2013, ENV.net project presented on the Round table in Municipality Vračar (within City of Belgrade).
Cooperation with TACSO Serbia - On November 15. 2013, in Belgrade, TACSO Advisory Committee (LAG) organized a consultative meeting with representatives of civil society organizations and networks and Serbian civil society expert community. At the meeting a draft of a document on the assessment needs of civil society in Serbia was discussed.
EASD prepared Opinion and contribution to the Draft Strategy Paper for the Republic of Serbia 2014-2020. Through SECO mechanism opinion is sent to Governmental Office for European Integration. Opinion is based on Serbia 2013 Progress Report and Strategy – Reading by ENV.net Serbia Team .
Organisation capacity building process: EASD acknowledged becoming IPEN network Participating Organization
November 2013. - The third ENV.net partnership meeting in Milan
28. October - Meeting with European Parliamentarians
ENV.net Serbia Team prepared document: Reading of 2013 Progress Report for Serbia and Strategy by ENV.net Serbia Team ( Serbia 2013 Progress Report and Strategy – Reading by ENV.net Serbia Team ).
22. and 23 October - Education on sustainable management of lead/chemicals
October 18 - EC Delegation in Serbia, present to relevant CSOs, on October 18, 2013 , Serbia Progress Report 2013, in which the Commission services present their assessment of what Serbia as the candidate country has achieved over the last year.
Promotion of ENV.net facebook page!
October 2, 2013 - ENV.net team participated at the First SEE Regional Science Promotion Conference (SCIPROM), opened in Belgrade, with the aim to bring together science promotion professionals, practitioners and enthusiasts to share experience and network in order to strengthen the link between science and society in our Region. In the current competitive global environment it is an imperative to enhance economic and social capacities by improving the educational structure of society, inspiring innovation and technological advancement and creating a milieu for appreciation of the value and benefits of knowledge. In the opening address, Minister for Education, Science and Technology development of Serbia underlined, among others the importance of knowledge based actions, as well as the importance of drinking water for development. Conference bring international experts and representatives of international organizations, research and educational institutions, science camps, science communicators, NGOs, private sector and media on board.
This conference justify the path of ENV.net Serbia implementation and development, linking European Integration, Knowledge based activities and sectors : Education, Science and Environment/Natural Resources.
Waste management and water management are considered as two important segments of environmental acquis and studies in this area represent an important aspect of ENV.net project. Environmental accession status of Serbia ( waste , water and EIA thematic issues) was presented by EASD team at International Conferences in Vienna (Austria) and Zadar (Croatia), as well as on chemicals at SAICM Regional Meeting (Skopje, Macedonia FYR).
In Skopje, EASD representative met Macedonian 4x4x4 BB representative on September 26, 2013, to discuss possible enlargement of ENV.net project to Macedonia.
Added value for ENV.net Serbia is EASD activities within the development of Post-Rio+20 Agenda.
Office for Cooperation with Civil Society organised on September 6, 2013 Conference devoted to negotiating Chapter 27 (Environment). Presentation (in Serbian) from the Conference includes: Poglavlje 27 pregovori, Iskustvo R Slovenije, Natura 2000 Ministarstvo, Uloga civilnog drustva u monitoringu, Natura 2000 NGO )
September 2013: ENV.net project presented in the Ministry of Education, Science and Development of Serbia (Meeting of the National Committee for Environmental Education Programs)
August 2013. - Snapshot analysis