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Montenegro's Third Environmental Performance Review

By Olivera Kujundžić (Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism)

Environmental performance reviews (EPRs) have been part of the regular programme of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) since 1993. The EPR provides an assessment of the progress made by a country in terms of environmental management and the meeting of international environmental commitments.

Two EPR cycles have been completed and the third is ongoing. Montenegro has participated in all three cycles, recognising the positive impact of the process. The first EPRs established baseline conditions regarding trends, policy commitments, institutional arrangements and routine capabilities for carrying out national evaluations. Second-cycle EPRs assessed progress and helped to stimulate greater accountability. Emphasis was placed on the implementation and financing of environment policy, the integration of environmental concerns into economic sectors, and the promotion of sustainable development. The third-cycle EPRs include environmental governance and financing in a green economy context, countries’ cooperation with the international community and environmental mainstreaming in priority sectors. 

Montenegro's third EPR assesses progress made in the management of the environment since the country's second review in 2007. It also covers issues of specific importance for the country, related to legal and policy frameworks, the financing of environmental policies, greening the economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the integration of environmental concerns into selected sectors, in particular water and waste management. 

The development of an EPR comprises several phases. It starts with an agreement on the structure of the report, which is followed by a review mission. The review mission for Montenegro's third EPR took place in February 2014, when a 13-member UNECE expert team held more than 200 meetings with different institutions and officials in Montenegro in order to discuss problems encountered in the areas of environmental management and the integration of environmental considerations into related economic sectors in the country. The team’s final report contains recommendations for further improvement, taking into consideration the country’s progress in the current transition period. In October 2014, the report was reviewed by the Expert Group on Environmental Performance Reviews. Unlike the teams of experts assembled for the review missions, the members of the Expert Group are appointed by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. The Expert Group on Environmental Performance Reviews is made up of experts from member countries who provide guidance to the EPR programme. As of 2015, Montenegro has a representative in the Expert Group. The next phase is a peer review carried out by member states in the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. This is a review of one country by other countries, or a review among equals. During the peer review countries focus on some of the major policy issues that have arisen during the EPR. At the conclusion of the peer review, the Committee on Environmental Policy adopts the conclusions and recommendations of the EPR report.

The publication of the completed report is the last phase of the review process. Montenegro's third EPR will soon be available on the UNECE website and will be officially presented on June 5, 2015, in Podgorica.