Transforming environmental and security risks into cooperation in South East Europe


Photo: UNDP in Montenegro

Environmental issues have not been amongst the top national priorities in the Western Balkans. Understandably, priorities to date have focused on the reforms needed to strengthen security, to rebuild the economy and to improve general living conditions. As a result, much-needed investment in environmental infrastructure, such as wastewater treatment, air-pollution abatement and monitoring, and industrial and communal waste management are still waiting their turn. Clearly, this is a situation that raises humanitarian, social, economic and environmental concerns.

In addition, a number of industrial towns and regions face a complex challenge of past industrial development and pollution legacy. The environmental situation in these hot spots is a direct cause of poor health and related poverty and presents a major barrier to future investments and related economic opportunities for the local population. On one hand they face the requirements for environmental cleanup and on the other they are struggling with problems of poverty, lack of infrastructure and services and lack of prospects for the young generations.

In the framework of the Environment and Security Initiative ( – through the Programme “Transforming Environmental and Security Risks into Cooperation in South East Europe” UNDP Montenegro addresses the critical links and impacts of environmental management, human security, conflict prevention and sustainable development in the localities that are prone to conflict and growing tension. By being a cross-sectoral programme that touches upon many aspects in the environment and sustainable development field, the programme is positioned to help countries pursue integrated strategies for environmentally sound and sustainable development and poverty reduction. Its niche primarily lies in promotion of environmental governance and assisting countries to build cross-sectoral capacities and put in place effective policies and institutions and participatory mechanisms to protect the environment, prevent conflict and reduce human poverty.

What is the project about?

The overall goal of this project is to contribute to the reduction of environment and security risks, and to the increased cooperation around environment and security issues in the region of South Eastern Europe (SEE). The Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) supports the ‘Security’ and ‘Energy & Environment’  in the Western Balkans through identification, prevention and reduction of environmental conflicts and tensions over shared natural resources and ecosystems, sources of pollution and waste among and within the countries in the Western Balkans and their neighbours. 

In support of this, main goals of the UNDP programme are the following: 

  • Building and improvement of constructions at tailings dams in order to prevent dam failure and/or control overflow (in case tailings dam is still operational), erosion control, pollution control/mitigation acid mine waters and development of relevant related technical documentation in preparation for the physical works for partners and beneficiaries;
  • Improvement of institutional arrangements and setting up of monitoring mechanisms.
  • Identification and discussion of specific EU accession risks (water directive, mining directive, industrial sites) posed by industrial and mining legacy sites.

What have we accomplished so far?

1. In relation to the first goal, the following has been achieved:

  •  Passive treatment system for treating acid mine waters from Zuta Prla Mine, in Mojkovac, Montenegro constructed;
  • Maintenance Plan for the Passive Treatment System for acid mine waters at Zuta Prla Mine, Mojkovac, Montenegro developed; 
  • Remedial action plans for the former lead/zinc mineral processing plant and solid mine waste at the “Brskovo” Mine, Mojkovac, Montenegro finalized;
  • Maintenance Plan for remediated tailings dam in Rreshen, Albania developed;
  • Feasibility study for defining options for treatment of acid mine waters in Artana Mine, in Mitrovica, Kosovo prepared;
  • Detailed Technical Design for acid mine waters treatment in Artana Mine,  Kosovo prepared;
  • Study visit for national stakeholders and beneficiaries from Kosovo to Zuta Prla Mine in Montenegro organized;
  • Regional Workshop on trans-boundary environmental risks arising from mining implemented.

2. In relation to the second goal, the following has been achieved:

  • Environmental and performance monitoring programme for passive treatment system at Zuta Prla Mine finalized;
  • Cooperation with the University of Montenegro, Faculty of Metallurgy, established in order to implement monitoring of system performance at Zuta Prla Mine;
  • Cooperation between Faculty of Metallurgy from Kosovo and Faculty of Metallurgy from Athens, Greece established.

3. In relation to the third goal the following has been achieved:

  • Regional report on EU accession risks posed by industrial and mining legacy sites in the Western Balkans countries finalized.

Who finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed

Government of Finland USD    781,572
Austrian Development Agency USD    155,220
Czech Trust Fund USD    194,600


USD 1,131.392

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2013 USD 248,789

December 2012

USD 357,663

December 2011

USD 240,784

December 2010

USD   28,643

Project Start Date:
July 2010
Estimated End Date:
December 2014
Geographic Coverage:
Western Balkans
Focus Area:
Economy and Environment
Project Officer:
Ms. Snežana Dragojević
Tel: +382 20 22 30 38
Tel +382 20 22 30 39;
Fax +382 20 22 30 38
EnvSec Initiative partners: UNEP, OSCE, UNECE, REC, NATO, UNDP, as well as respective Ministries of Environment, Environment Protection Agencies, Universities and mining sector in the Western Balkans region