The Central European Initiative member states will work together on sustainable waste management
State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Metka Gorišek, attended the Ministerial Conference on the Environment within the Central European Initiative (CEI) currently chaired by Montenegro. The main topics of the ministerial meeting, which was attended by the ministers responsible for the environment of the member states of the CEI, which unites 17 countries as a regional intergovernmental political forum, were waste management and waters without borders. The conference adopted a joint declaration on cooperation in sustainable waste management between the CEI member states.
Waters without borders
At the water panel, the state secretary emphasised the importance of cross-border water cooperation as a catalyst for peace and stability: “Active cross-border cooperation in international river basins is key to improving water, food and climate security. Therefore, we recognise as particularly important the operation of bilateral water commissions with neighbouring countries and the operation of international water commissions such as the International Sava River Basin Commission and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. Within this framework, Slovenia has achieved a noticeably improved ecological status of the Drava, Mura and Sava rivers and a reduction in flood risk also through the establishment of a modern flood forecasting system in the Sava River Basin.”
Slovenia's involvement in the processes within the three European macro-regions – Danube (EUSDR), Adriatic-Ionian (EUSAIR) and Alpine (EUSALP) – makes it possible for it to build on addressing environmental content with advanced technologies and actively integrate river basin, coast and sea management. Important steps have also been taken to take green infrastructure into account in development planning. Slovenia can thus be considered to be one of the countries that is successfully implementing the principles of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. With the help of best practices, it is becoming an ambassador of the importance of transboundary water cooperation for peace and sustainable development.
The conference also featured a video by the director of the Centre of Excellence Vesolje-SI and professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering at the University of Ljubljana, Tomaž Rodič, who presented the first Slovenian satellite. The video shows the applicability of this modern tool in international river basins on selected examples of the Danube, Sava and Soča rivers and the Adriatic sea for the preparation of modern plans for managing river basins, floods, coast and sea and maritime spatial management plans, including adaptation to climate change.
Within the waste management panel, State Secretary Gorišek presented the situation in Slovenia, all the challenges it faces and its best practices, and emphasised the importance of raising the commitments of the international community in the field of preventing marine pollution with waste, especially plastic. She reported on the successful separate collection of waste in Slovenia and on the planning of the processing of residues into products and energy.
Joint declaration on cooperation in sustainable waste management
In a joint general statement, the CEI environment ministers called for enhanced cooperation at national, regional and global levels in the field of waste management, which is becoming one of the most pressing environmental challenges in the CEI area. Cooperation should thus be strengthened by setting up a SEP platform, bringing together various stakeholders, from government representatives and the public sector to non-governmental organisations and experts. Financial resources to support the platform's activities are to be provided from European Structural and Investment Funds and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and other funds.
Central European Initiative (CEI)
The CEI enables networking and the development of project ideas between countries to complement and upgrade connections and cooperation within the framework of existing European macro-regional strategies, financial mechanisms and other arrangements. It consists of 17 countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Ukraine and Slovenia.