2022

KOSOVO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WEEK (KSDW) 2022: Recommendations & Conclusions

One of the specific objectives of KSDW remains the facilitation and support of inter-institutional

and inter-sectorial dialogue for issues related to sustainable development. During KSDW 2022,

the discussions enhanced and facilitated the discussion between stakeholders while highlighting

the Green Deal for Western Balkans, promoting the importance and benefits of prioritizing

sustainable development in Kosovo and region, identifying the sectors’ gaps and providing

recommendations for the stakeholders towards the mitigation of the challenges.

This edition’s recommendations for the:

1. Decarbonisation process include prioritization of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, market

integration, removal of administrative barriers and provision of technical conditions for

renewable energy sources, encouragement of prosumers, establishment of the fund for

consumers in need, digitalization of energy efficiency, etc.

2. Circular economy include drafting a well-detailed national healthcare waste management

plan and an action plan in order to minimize the environmental and public health impacts from

the healthcare waste, increasing the numbers of inspectors, enhancing stakeholders coordination

in central and local level, establishing the Deposit Refund System and Extended Producer

Responsibility, etc.

3. Sustainable food systems and rural areas & protecting biodiversity include key structural

reforms for the agricultural policy, more advocacy efforts, increased number of environmental

inspections and more reporting of environmental crimes, higher efficiency of the juridical system

to effectively and timely process the cases, proper capacity building programmes for farmers,

etc.

To learn more in regards to KSDW 2021 activities and concrete recommendations that came out

of the panel discussions, click here:

https://ksdw.rks-gov.net/storage/app/media/KSDW2021_Report_ENG-min.pdf

2021

KOSOVO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WEEK (KSDW) 2021: Recommendations & Conclusions

One of the specific objectives of KSDW remains the facilitation and support of inter-institutional

and inter-sectorial dialogue for issues related to sustainable development. During KSDW 2021,

the discussions enhanced and facilitated the discussion between stakeholders while highlighting

the Green Deal for Western Balkans, promoting the importance and benefits of prioritizing

sustainable development in Kosovo and region, identifying the sectors’ gaps and providing

recommendations for the stakeholders towards the mitigation of the challenges.

This edition’s recommendations for the:

1. Decarbonisation process include prioritization of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, market

integration, removal of administrative barriers and provision of technical conditions for

renewable energy sources, encouragement of prosumers, establishment of the fund for

consumers in need, digitalization of energy efficiency, etc.

2. Circular economy include drafting a well-detailed national healthcare waste management

plan and an action plan in order to minimize the environmental and public health impacts from

the healthcare waste, increasing the numbers of inspectors, enhancing stakeholders coordination

in central and local level, establishing the Deposit Refund System and Extended Producer

Responsibility, etc.

3. Sustainable food systems and rural areas & protecting biodiversity include key structural

reforms for the agricultural policy, more advocacy efforts, increased number of environmental

inspections and more reporting of environmental crimes, higher efficiency of the juridical system

to effectively and timely process the cases, proper capacity building programmes for farmers,

etc.

To learn more in regards to KSDW 2021 activities and concrete recommendations that came out

of the panel discussions, click here:

https://ksdw.rks-gov.net/storage/app/media/KSDW2021_Report_ENG-min.pdf

2020

KOSOVO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WEEK 2020 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. All countries need to get an integrated and holistic approach to come up with an integrated document at a strategic level and all policies and strategy planning need to be viewed by the prism of sustainability. Regional approach is important in promoting and working toward liberalized and integrated market.

2. Introduction of a Carbon border adjustment mechanism (carbon tax). Recommended that Kosovo discusses the inclusion of the Carbon tax price in the Law on Climate Change that is being drafted.

3. Reduction of pollution from large combustion power plants (huge room for improvement in WB) LCPD. This could be done with effective transposition of EU legislation, so far has not been done but there is great space for improvement. With implementing the LCPD.

4. ‘Replace the stow’ - make households efficient consumers. Households level. Least popular, but beneficent for consumers (replace outdated technology, small scale solar installations.

5. Review the National Strategy on energy and the action plan in order to ensure coherence with the integrated national Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030, which should be finalized by the end of this year.

6. Kosovo is invited to continue investing in renewables and energy efficiency as sole alternatives for ensuring sustainable energy supply security. In this sense we advocate strongly for increasing the existing targets and to introduce a competitive process for supporting renewable energy production.

7. Implementation of the legislation for energy performance of the buildings and energy services is also an urgent priority;

8. Kosovo should implement its Climate Change Strategy, not only by mainstreaming climate targets in all policies, and to prepare a roadmap for progress in the direction of Climate Acquis. This also leads towards the reduction of air pollution and protection of health for Kosovo citizens.

9. Kosovo would need to implement jointly the agreed conclusions of the SAA with regard to the environment, energy, transport and regional development.

10. Take forward the robust implementation of the national legislation on environment already harmonized with the Acquis, in order to address many environmental issues. As Kosovo is facing serious problems like air and water pollution, inadequate waste management, illegal construction, degradation of agricultural land and protected zones enforcement of existing legislation and inspection will be crucial to tackle these challenges. In addition, both central and local institutions shall be both involved in this process.

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PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT: A QUEST FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE

Environmental prospects for countries of the Western Balkans on their path to the European Union and cross border cooperation There is progress in Kosovo with regards to meeting EnC requirements – but there is still a lot to go and catch up. 

EnC has proceeded with an official settlement case regarding the non implementation of the Large Combustion Directive. Lack of human resources, time management, lack of interest and prioritization of environmental problems – some of main causes Finance aspects – (EIB) 25% of funding's is committed to investment projects (over 30% of projects in environment and climate change in 2018) WB can benefit a lot from EIB. 

The financing on environment is expected to increase in the future, from 25% to 50% until 2025. Negotiations with EU involve negotiations on all chapters at once – and the chapter on environment can become a problem in this regard People need to feel ownership! Also, there must be a plan (Where you want to go) and a political commitment and consistency We have to tell citizens what is the benefit of protecting the environment– don’t just tell them what to do, tell them what they benefit and provide instruments to include them in the decision making process. NGOs need to be on board as well!

 Strengthening environmental governance in Kosovo The environmental situation in Kosovo remains critical, which could be greatly improved if compliance and enforcement are further strengthened Enforcement of environmental law is based on civil and administrative sanctions for environmental damage as well as the possibility of initiating criminal procedures. 

The state of play between central institutions and municipalities in the environmental sector needs to be further improved. Particularly, inspection authorities at national and municipal level need to strengthen their cooperation and promote interinstitutional communication in order to be able to identify and prevent violations of environmental law more effectively. 

The same applies to improving communication between the government institutions and judicial branch in preventing the occurrence of environmental crimes.

2019

ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE!

Benefits of a regionally integrated energy market

Technical infrastructure, human capital and integration processes are key prerequisites for achieving the integration of energy markets. The integration with the Albanian energy market is a priority.

Balancing the grid, making it more efficient and increasing energy security are the main reasons why there needs to be an integrated market. Regional integration can also serve as a mechanism to facilitate the dialogue and the much-needed reconciliation.

Prices in an integrated market will be lower and there will be increased competition from which consumers will benefit

Distance from the mentality of self sufficiency and focus on integration of markets.

A common recommendation: investing in renewable energy should be the way forward for Kosovo as the fossil-fuel units become less competitive in an integrated market

The role of civil society in empowering projects that transform energy systems is crucial.

RES integration in Kosovo – how far have we reached, how far can we go?

The target for including RES in Kosovo is 25%. Kosovo has reached 22.9% based on the EUROSTAT report of 2017. Out of 22.9% energy from RES, 18% is biomass/wood burning.

Recommended: district heating is installed in different regions of Kosovo

In operation currently there are about 50 MW hydro energy from new small hydro plants, 49.05 MW from existing refurbished hydro plants, solar 7 MW, wind 33.4 MW.

Establishment of One Stop Shop would eliminate barriers for RES investment.

Important: decoupling growth of economy from the growth of energy consumption.

Energy Efficiency and RES help on reaching targets at lower costs and contribute in reducing CO2 emissions and move away from coal

2030 objectives for the region are not finalized yet but more increased efforts are expected for contracting parties; where for Kosovo the indicative rates might be 34-36% for RES inclusion

Kosovo is mature enough to do a turning point and leave fossil fuels behind

In the energy transition, citizens are the center – they shall be involved but also give a contribution to the transition ex. as prosumers. The number of consumers who want to install solar panels is increasing

Investors are reluctant to come to invest in Kosovo due to problems with PPA and licensing

CO2 pricing?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY MINIMUM STANDARDS AND MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

A day with and for the private sector

The private sector plays a crucial role in implementing the national EE-law and reaching the national targets. Its feedback must be included in policy making processes and financing schemes in line with better sector coordination;

Financing schemes remain an important factor for private sector development in EE. Updates from the Kosovo Energy Efficiency Fund (KEEF) say that framework contracts for companies are expected beginning of 2020, while there are existing funding opportunities for SMEs currently

There is strong need for providing training for labor skilled worker for conducting installation of RES and implementing EE measure in order to reach required standards.

In addition, central government institutions must strengthen the quality assurance for the products related to EE and RES that are accompanied with quality certificates in order to create competitive market, enable costumer protection and maximize benefit of the investments being private or public (in line with Energy Service Directive).

KEEF must be functional and start with activities as soon as possible, while the support toward the private sector is expected in the future.

Long-term donor funds for NGOs need to target EE awareness campaigns and non-formal education. NGOs and journalists need more expertise on the topic of EE, while higher level of cooperation with media and article publishing is expected.

Kosovo Energy Efficiency Agency should play the role of the crucial stakeholder in supporting awareness campaigns, while N4CEB and other business associations should cooperate with one another and offer a consultancy service to convince people to invest more on EE measures.

In addition, technical support to parliamentary green groups especially after elections would help to strengthen the group and their mandate.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

How can we start recycling in Kosovo? Opportunities and challenges.

The national strategy for waste management has been drafted and is waiting ratification, where amongst others a deposit refund system for beverage containers is planned as one of the measures towards introducing the polluter pays principle.

Separation at source and recycling does not solely depend on citizen awareness, but it is a whole system that is accompanied with finding the right operating model, budget implications, infrastructure, and securing the market for the recyclable fractions.

Instead of only curing the symptoms, we need public environmental awareness early on starting from schools in order to properly educate the young generation. Parallel to this, there must be monitoring and control systems in place to enforce the law.

Municipalities have continued to demonstrate remarkable performance in reforming the waste sector, however investments, budget allocation, and human resources continue to pose as an obstacle and require national level attention.In low labour cost countries like Kosovo, cooperation with waste producers (consumers, businesses) for source segregation is much more likely to succeed than high investment sorting technology.

It is important to note that incineration is by far the most expensive solid waste management treatment technology and not any longer considered under the 2020 recycling rate targets set out by the EU Waste Framework Directive

Private recycling sector struggles with securing the raw material locally.

Circular economy is still a relatively unexploited concept and much needs to be done to mobilize stakeholders in this regard.

Sustainability challenges in the capital city

Serious urban development pressure as the capital city grows.

Rapid and frequent amendment of laws and bylaws in spatial planning creates serious issues in urban management - implementing local spatial planning policies

Domestic heating using coal is considered to be as one of the main sources of air pollution. Neighborhoods like Tophane, Kodra e Trimave, Medrese, and Kolovice are considered to be the main contributors.

Prishtina municipality is tackling the issue by doubling the cogeneration capacities of central heating and introducing solar energy generation projects.

Prishtina has begun to implement measures arising from the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. Measures such as inner ring, bicycle and pedestrian lanes, bus stops, and public transportation information tools are on the way to be implemented as of 2019.

Parking measures are also being implemented: 700 parking new spaces at the university of Prishtina site, park and ride concept and hourly parking approach depending from the location are on the way.

Prishtina is investing in public spaces and parks. There is a great need for more parks and public spaces; however Prishtina municipality lacks public land to invest.

Making Room for Kosovo’s Growing Cities

1.5 % of Kosovo’s territory is covered with urban centers, in the world this is 2.0 %. Urban expansion pressure has dropped since 2008 in Kosovo

There are no factual data how many hectars of agricultural land are being lost each year in Kosovo;

There needs to be a partnership to be built between urban and rural zones in municipalities;

In the census of 2011, 24% of total housing units in Kosovo were uninhabited, it can be concluded that since 2011, there was already a housing saturation in Kosovo, whereas the construction industry is constant, and many more housing units were built in Kosovo since then;

Kosovo needs to draft a housing policy in a central level, which should be preceded by a report on the existing situation of housing in all Kosovo municipalities.

Contemporary planning needs to be focused in data, and make the real time planning

There needs to be a change the way we make strategic decisions, which is through participatory planning. Involving different level of participation in a different level of governance.

In general plans in Kosovo are not coherent with each other, there needs to be better coordination in the future planning documents,

MESP needs to set-up a system on monitoring planning developments in the municipal level in Kosovo.

2018

CONFERENCE CONCLUSIONS

Diella Raqi

Green School in Prishtina
My name is Diella Raqi, and I am 13 years old from the lower secondary "Green School" in Prishtina. "Green School" is unique, not only in our country but also in the region. The school is exceptional on the general approach, the architectural concept, the use of infrastructure, and the selection of "green" materials. So, in Kosovo, we have an ecological school with geothermal heating and cooling system which preserves our environment. What is special about this school is the development of the educational process in a healthy surrounding, which is related to the new education curriculum in Kosovo, the creation of an active citizenship. This school serves as a model in learning processes, leadership, and teaching staff. Our results correspond to the zealous work of our school, thanks to the commitment and cooperation between the director, teachers, pupils, parents and institutions that develop and assist education in Kosovo. Today, I stand in front of you to speak on behalf of all the children of Kosovo, which is the future of Kosovo. I am here to talk to all generations of Kosovo that will come. I'm here to talk on behalf of those whose cries are unheard, and to the animals that die because they have nowhere to go, as the forest is gone and the water is dirty. I want you to know that I'm afraid to breathe the air, because I do not know what chemicals are in it; I'm afraid to swim in the river with all the rubbish and without the fish; I'm afraid to drink tap water because I do not know what it really contains. All this is happening before our eyes but we are still pretending to have all the time we want and all available solutions. And yet, you do not know how to clean the air or bring the forest to the place where it should be. If you do not know how to fix it, then please stop destroying it. I cannot stop thinking that this situation constitutes an extraordinary change from that in which you were born. I'm just a kid, but I still know that if all the money spent on corruption and the personal interests of our leaders would be spent on finding environmental solutions and putting an end to poverty, how wonderful would Kosovo be? Now, 10 years have passed, and you are not even close to achieving a steady transition that we know we need. It is clear that Kosovo's current strategy is to turn everything from nature to personal gains, by letting it cost us – the children. Since kindergarten, they teach us how to behave in the world. They teach us not to fight with others, to respect others, to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share, not to be greedy. Then why are you doing the things you tell us not to do? You are deciding in what kind of country we are growing in. Parents should be able to say that everything will be good for their children. But I do not think you can do this with us. Are we at least on your list of priorities? My teacher would always say, "You are what you do, not what you say." Well, what you do in Kosovo makes me cry. You go out and say that you love us and you want the best for us, you say that we are the future of this country. But I challenge you; please take actions that reflect your words. We can hardly expect anyone to speak the truth, to speak this message. Do not disappoint us, children. Think of the shame that each of you will hold when your children and grandchildren look back and realize that you have been in power to stop the destruction, but simply missed the political will to do so. The time is now

We ask you to protect OUR ENVIRONMENT AND OUR FUTURE!

Air pollution and public health

  • Air pollution is a serious threat to the health of Kosovo's citizens.
  • The lower live expectancy in Kosovo, especially in the Municipality of Obiliq and the increased cases of respiratory diseases as well as the continuously increasing cancer rate are likely to be linked to the high level of air pollution. 
  • Burning of coal in private householders during winter continues to be a serious concern. 
  • The contribution share of pollution sources should be further studied, while civil society urges for more reliable data and better data access for citizens. 
  • Minister Reshitaj launched the online air monitoring system that allows citizens to gain real-time insights into air quality in their respective municipalities. 
  • The Minister of MESP called for a more coherent policy implementation on local and national level.
  •  The quality controls of the fuel for motor vehicles need to be introduced without any delay and implemented strictly according to EU standards.


Water/Environmental violation 
There is an urge in the country to take responsibility towards keeping the citizens informed and protecting their health, which is a complex issue that involves the coordination of different institutions and interests.
There are immediate threats to surface and ground water contamination:

  • KEK coal ash ponds are pumped into the Sitnica river (ph 13 and high concentration of heavy metals which are naturally found in coal ash, this contamination is constantly being denied by KEK officials and not regulated by MESP, coal ash is a toxic waste containing many heavy metals)
  • KEK coal ash ponds are a leaking contamination (heavy metals) into the groundwater reservoir in the area polluting people's well water, especially Fushe Kosovo and Obiliq
  • Run-offs from industrial waste piles into river, groundwater and soil, particularly in Trepca (led contamination of water resources, soil and  agriculture), lead can be detected in the  blood of most of the population in the North
  • Landfills leachate discharged in rivers or into the groundwater (Mirash), all landfills have leaking problems
  • Only 2% of the sewerage wastewater of Kosovo is treated

Surface water contamination not only destroys the river eco-system, but contaminates food causing already serious damages to human health. Up to date, the GoK has drafted and approved the necessary legislation for effective development of environmental protection policies aligned with the EU ‘Acquis communautaire’, thus the GoK has an obligation to regulate environmental activities for all river basins in Kosovo, to ensure long-term sustainability of the Kosovo’s water environment.  
Ground water contamination is an irreversible process, which will make this resource of Kosovo unusable. The GoK has drafted and approved the State Water Strategy 2017-2036, and thus is expected to implement the necessary solutions to ensure protection of water resources from pollution, over-exploitation and misuse.
Environmental violations by public and private companies (example KEK discharge of Blue Lake water into the river) are currently neither investigated nor punished, and thus there is a need for national and local institutional coordination and capacities to approach such cases.  

Energy transition 
Conclusions deriving from panel discussions of the Energy Transition conference

  • The current Government decisions are not taking into consideration all aspects of an integrated sustainable development approach of the energy sector.  
  • Kosovo should focus on investments in energy efficiency as an additional source of energy, on promoting energy from renewable sources and on the European integration agenda. 
  • The need for the establishment and functioning of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the determination of real energy efficiency targets and their achievement, the development of the energy services market, and other energy efficiency measures are of particular importance for the country. 
  • Kosovo has the potential to include alternative sources of energy production, and it is necessary to explore all renewable energy sources that enable decentralization of energy generation and diversification of energy sources. 
  • Inclusion of energy transition in Kosovo involves the creation of new businesses, new jobs, growth and economic development in the country, intensification of regional cooperation, and stabilization of rural communities. 
  • It is important to adopt policies on promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources as instruments for energy transition and local institutions should see this process as necessary to stabilize the energy sector in the country. 


Interview with Dirk Buschle Deputy Director of the Energy Community Secretariat 

  • According to the Energy Community Secretariat (EnCS) the current Contour Global contract for the construction of a proposed new power plant in Kosovo, is not compliant to the Energy Community law and state-aid policies. 
  • Under the recently adopted Energy Strategy and the Third Energy Package which also extends to Kosovo, electricity markets should be open to competition and not distorted. Also, as far as the state-aid policies of the EnCS are concerned, the current contract for the building of the new TPP Kosova e Re risks entailing serious legal consequences for the Kosovo Government and its EU-integration agenda. 


Unlocking the Energy Efficiency potential:  

  • Energy efficiency is commonly considered as ‘first fuel’ of the world’s energy system. It is the cheapest and most environmental friendly path to generate energy capacities. The annual energy costs amount to roughly 1.5 Billion EUR each year (20-25% of the national GDP), with a minimum EE potential of 15%, 225 million EUR can be saved in Kosovo each year.
  • Increased EE provides a high potential for local companies, domestic products and companies creating job opportunities and unlocking domestic investments. Nearly 40% of the energy is used by the building sector, using on average two to three times more energy per square meters compared to EU average.  
  • Improving energy efficiency (EE) in Kosovo also highly contributes to reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution, while at the same it creates green jobs, increases the quality of life, public health and services for citizens.

The main bottlenecks in the EE sector are the incomplete legal framework and EE standards lack of institutional and market capacities. However, opportunities arise with improvements such as adopting the Law on Energy Performance in Building which enables a rising demand. 

Climate Change 

  • EnC suggests an integrated energy and climate planning as now being the norm in EU

Waste  

  • Municipalities have demonstrated remarkable performance increase in service coverage, fee collection and illiminating illegal dumps. There is still a need for investments in basic infrastructure for collection and transport.

Recycling rate increase is only possible, if the Government embraces the Polluter Pays Policy. This includes policies such as: 

  • Landfill gate fee increase
  • Extended Producer Responsibility and a Deposit Refund System
  • Incentive scheme for municipalities (performance grant).

Biggest threat to public health is mismanaged landfills, most of them reaching their end-of-life. Landfill infrastructure development and rehabilitation is very expensive and the Minister of MESP calls for international support.  

Disclaimer: 
The fin dings are those of the conference and do not necessarily represent the views of  the organizers.