Information note prepared by the REReP Task Force Secretariat for the 6th Task Force meeting in Brussels, November 7, 2003.
REReP projects of a cross-border nature establish dialogue among the countries of South Eastern Europe (SEE). This note outlines existing REReP cross-border projects and their results, summarises the signed and negotiated memoranda of understanding, and other cooperation agreements within the region. The added value of achieving environmental cooperation with neighbouring has led the call for establishing more cross-border projects under REReP in the future. It has to be added here that countries often need financial assistance to decide on modes of cross border cooperation and the means to facilitate it. Also underlined here is the fact that SEE countries are parties to numerous multilateral environmental agreements calling for regional cooperation — an example of which is the Sava River Basin Initiative.
Formal Instruments and Sites of Cross-Border Cooperation
At this note was being prepared the REReP Task Force Secretariat had the following information on formal instruments for cross-border cooperation.
There are plans to sign a memorandum of
understanding concerning REReP’s
One of the best ongoing examples of cross-border
cooperation are the joint activities of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro to protect shared natural resources
in Neretva River Delta, Skadar
Lake and West Stara Planina.
These activities led to improved protection of biodiversity in these sites,
improved information on biodiversity and public participation in their
management. They also contributed to raising public awareness on the sites’
importance. The project has also contributed to environmental education in
local schools. In addition, a rural-tourism strategy has been drafted for the Neretva River Delta.
Cooperation detailed in the Transpark
project included the identification of common problems of biodiversity
protection in Serbian and
The promotion of regional cooperation, including cross-border initiatives, is at the heart of REReP. The assistance provided for all REReP priority areas is implemented through regional dialogue. However, support to selected, targeted cross-border activities are vital for environment protection in SEE. The capacities of environmental institutions in the region and environmental civil society have grown since the launch of REReP. It is believed that the number of cross-border projects will also grow in the coming years.