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Environmental Local Authorities InterBalkan Network - ELAIN

Sonja Savic Milojkovic, City of Nis

The City of Niš and The Environmental Association of Municipalities of Athens and Piraeus (PE.SY.D.A.P.), signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Interbalkan Cooperation for the Environment.

The first result of this cooperation is the joint realization of the project “Environmental Local Authorities Interbalkan Network”, ELAIN, having a goal to identify challenges in environmental protection and seek the best solution for the local environmental problems.

The second International Conference within the framework of this project was held from 3 to 6 November, 2014 in Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska. At this conference the representatives of the partner cities presented the problems and challenges they are facing in the field of environmental protection.

The results of participation are analysis of the status of the environment in the City of Niš territory, identification of problems in environmental protection field that the City faces and defining the ways how to address the priority issues. The project enabled better cooperation with NGOs and volunteers involved in environmental issues. In 2015 the City of Niš approved funding the NGO sector environmental projects that are to be realized through public competition. Of great importance are also the information on problems and way to overcome them in the project partner cities. The City of Niš has initiated the procedure to develop the Program of Environmental Protection with an Action Plan for the ten year period presented in the conference by the representatives of Novi Sad. Also important is addressing the problem of waste disposal and waste water treatment in other cities for addressing our local priority ecological issues.

The Conference in Bijeljina was important for the City of Niš because of the exchange of experiences with the project partners regarding the important environmental issues, enabling easier planning and addressing, as well as finding the initial fundings, i.e. opportunities to compete for EU funds.

We are looking forward to the continuation of cooperation through the establishment of the protected area networks as we consider it very important for the improvement of environment in our city and exchange of practice in the field of protected natural resources.