The proposal entitled "Balkan Network for the empowerment and active participation of citizens in environmental protection", submitted by the PESYDAP to the competent institutions of the European Union, aims to develop in the Balkan region a common platform for the protection of the natural and human environment, paving the way for the development of a systematic approach - a long term - Balkan cooperation framework. In this context was founded the self-governing Balkan Environmental Cooperation Network | Environmental Local Authorities Interbalkan Network (ELAIN), whose funding was included in the program "Europe for Citizens 2007-2013" and was evaluated by the committee as the 7th best proposal for funding.
After systematic contacts of the Environmental Association of Municipalities of Athens - Piraeus (PESYDAP), the invitation for participation in cooperation network accepted great self-governing bodies in the Balkans: the PESYDAP (Leader - Greece), the City of Novi Sad and the City of Nis (Serbia) , the City of Rijeka (Croatia), the City of East Sarajevo and the Municipality of Bijeljina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), the Municipality of Tirana (Albania) and the Municipality of Sofia (Bulgaria).
Target is the common background to be the platform for exchange of good practices, continuous transfer of information on European and national policies and local actions in the field of environmental protection, as well as alerting in combination with the active participation of citizens.
An important aspect of the project is the participation of citizens.
(a) local events are organized by the administration of PESYDAP and other Balkan cities, in order to discuss common environmental problems and to draft priorities that the environmental cooperation network should have,
(b) communication and exchange of views platforms are made ( www.elain.eu ) and utilized social media, in order to continuous the consultation process be and
(c) the mobility is promoted, as in international conferences participate delegations representatives of civil society and business as observers (opinion editorial entitled, without voting rights).
The First International Conference on Albania
Location: Hotel Doro City, Albania, Tirana
Number of participants: 56
The capital of Albania - the city of Tirana - accepted the proposal of PESYDAP to hold the headquarters of the 1st international conference. From the conference themes and as a result of many hours of negotiations that followed, it was decided by the participants – by the practice of consensus - the adoption of an environmental cooperation platform, focusing on the following components:
• Dealing with the environmental noise
• Dealing with the electromagnetic pollution
• Waste management
• Water management
• Dealing with the air pollution
• Enhancing energy efficiency policies
• Financing activities
• Investing in Innovation
The Second International Conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location: Hotel Stanisici, Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Number of participants: 70
Was hosted by the city of Bijeljina and after systematic consultation, as the preparatory stage of negotiations, it was decided to include the following fields:
(A) The presentation of prevention and response mechanisms for flooding, in response to the environmental disaster that occurred in the Balkan region because of heavy rains. This served the exchange of good practices and the diffusion of knowledge. In this context, autopsies were performed by participants in the urban environment of the municipality of Bijeljina, where were informed of the actions carried out by stakeholders in response to natural disasters.
(B) The presentation of new environmental policies adopted by the municipal authorities with reference to the group of environmental problems, which they chose the delegations of the 1st International Conference, as the basis for environmental cooperation network. In this way is served, the agreement of follow up, the exchange of good practices and the diffusion of knowledge. In this context, visits took place in environmentally degraded areas and places of environmental interest and combined with actions, which are actively involved civil society. Besides objective of European cohesion in environmental background, promoted the implementation of the project is to strengthen the dialogue between all levels of government, civil society and business, to discuss the European rights and to shape the vision for Europe 2020.
(C) The presentation of the results of the second regional conference that took place at all of the partners. This way is being satisfied the public access to environmental information and public participation in decision making (public participation). It is worth noticing that all the countries represented through their local and regional entities in the network have joined the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
(D) To submit specific proposals for cooperation, considering the framework agreed at the 1st International Conference. This way is being satisfied the sustainability of the ELAIN.
The conclusions of the second international conference
Unanimously approved the proposal of PESYDAP for:
(A) Specialization and establishing thematic subnet of protected spaces.
It is generally recognized that the development potential of a region is enhanced by partnerships promoted. In this context, was proposed establishing of a specialized arc of cooperation and the creation of an environmental platform, through which will be possible to highlight common environmental problems of protected areas will participate in the network, the implementation of joint actions and policies and finding coordinated solutions address common problems. An important element in the implementation process should be participatory planning and the inclusion of all actors in the process, so that the results obtained on the one hand to shield further environmental protection areas and to provide competent basis for leveraging European funds. In this context, and given the fact that each partner of ELAIN oversees an area of particular environmental interest in the area of responsibility, there is a possibility of using the ecological and cultural heritage of, the creation of a new thematic network, which can be financed from resources the European Union. From PESYDAP was proposed the Mount Egaleo.
(B) Maintain the existing network with financing exclusively from the European Union
(C) Geographical expansion of the network and expansion into Eastern countries of the Eurasia