National Human Development Report 2014

Towards a resource efficient economy: Fulfilling Montenegro’s promise as an ecological state

 Photo: UNDP in Montenegro/ Milos Vujovic, Mediabox

“Human development is about people, about expanding their choices to live full, creative lives with freedom and dignity. Economic growth, increased trade and investment, technological advance – all are very important. But they are means, not ends. Fundamental to expanding human choices is building human capabilities: the range of things that people can be. The most basic capabilities for human development are living a long and healthy life, being educated, having a decent standard of living and enjoying political and civil freedoms to participate in the life of one’s community.”[1]

For more than a decade, national and regional Human Development Report (HDR) teams have been helping to advance the human development conceptual framework and apply it to the most pressing development challenges of the day. Now published in over 135 countries, these reports, grounded in thorough analytic research, have become dynamic advocacy tools. They are helping to generate lively debates around the policies and actions needed to accelerate human development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

[1] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2003. Human Development Report 2003 – Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty, p. 28. New York: Oxford University Press.

What is the project about?

Given the importance of human development in policy making consideration and the socio economic situation of Montenegro (as detailed out in the next sections), this project will primarily focus on the development of the 2013-2014 NHDR on resource efficiency, in addition to equally supporting the development of selected policy analysis and projects related to the human development concept.

Some examples of policies and measures that could be characterised as efforts towards resource efficient development in Montenegro have been recorded. These include implementation (limited but evolving) of the polluter pays principle, introduction of the concept of low-carbon development into national strategies and plans, increased attention paid to biodiversity protection and energy efficiency, incentives for research and development, introduction of clean technologies, adaptation to climate change and similar. Pollution charges are in place (although with limited effects) as a way of implementing polluter pays principle. Nevertheless there is still a need for more comprehensive and effective application of market based instruments for greening the economy.

In meeting environmental protection standards, Montenegro still continues to face challenges due to limited institutional capacities and to the need to settle on a model of sustainable growth, particularly in the coastal tourism sector. The 2011 EU Progress and Analytical report, and UNDP Capacity Assessment of the Montenegrin system for environmental protection both conclude three key challenges in this field: a) overlapping mandates, b) fragmented authorities and c) insufficient capacities that negatively impact the country’s ability to comply with the EU accession process requirements as these concern environmental chapter of the acquis. Also, the environment and climate change has to be integrated into other sectors more systematically, in particular energy.  In addition, even though the recent Eco-footprint report[1] shows that Montenegro’s footprint is within its bio-productive limits, Montenegro remains the most inefficient consumer of energy and most inefficient water consumer in Europe[2]

Montenegro is currently very dependent on energy imports, has a number of unsustainable (both financially and environmentally) industrial sectors, has a growing tourism industry that mostly only benefits the coastal areas during the summer, and has not yet lived up to its promise to be an “ecological state”. Aware of the need for a change in development trajectory, the Montenegrin Government is now seeking to reassert its vision to become an “ecological state” and move towards a resource efficient economy.

Resource efficiency means the sustainable management and use of resources, throughout their life cycle (from extraction, transport, transformation, consumption to the disposal of waste). In plainer words, it means finding ways of producing more with fewer inputs and less impacts and consuming differently, to limit the risks of scarcity or pollution.

Moving towards a growth path which will have the dual benefit of stimulating the growth needed to provide jobs and well-being to its citizens, and of ensuring that the quality of this growth leads to a sustainable future will require the country to tackle these challenges and turn them into opportunities. Preparing the Montenegro economy for this transformation in a timely, predictable and controlled manner will enable it to further develop its wealth and wellbeing, whilst reducing the levels and impact of its resource use.

Resource efficiency roadmap as one of the outputs of the NHDR, will primarily build upon the existing UNDP’s work and expertise. Namely, UNDP Montenegro already provides assistance to Government for a swifter market transformation toward low emissions, resource efficient economy in order to create new green jobs, legalize a large stock of informal settlements, generate/conserve income, reduce emissions of GHGs and dependence on energy import. UNDP’s existing and future initiatives consists of following related services:

  1. Assessing and integrating ecosystem services through economic valuation and mainstreaming biodiversity into development policies, plans and practices and into sectorial plans and strategies through work on Biodiversity strategy of Montenegro.
  2. Preparation, production and dissemination of the Second National Communication (SNC) of Montenegro to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. SNC should provide recent data analysis on key national specifics related to climate change mitigation, GHG inventories as well as to provide insight into the public awareness, education, training, technology transfer and systematic research and observation.
  3. Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL) in Europe and CIS, focusing on Sustainable heating, Fossil fuels subsidies, Availability and reliability of power supply and Renewable energy sources.

Taking in consideration that National strategy for sustainable development will be revised during the course of 2013, NHDR on resource efficiency will take central role in the future Sustainable Development strategy of Montenegro. The Revised Strategy would aim at establishing the need to use natural resources efficiently and rationally, particularly energy, water, biodiversity and soils, as well as to develop active policies to mitigate the determinants of climate change in all production sectors, and among them, energy agriculture, and transport, in a holistic approach, in a framework of responsible consumption and production, ensuring the availability and quality of these resources in a compatible way with economic growth and climate change threats. Specific chapters of the Strategy, mainly the one on Ecosystem services, as well as the one on Climate Change, will focus on increasing efficiency in the use and saving of resources in all the economic sectors.

[1] Report developed as a background document for the pan-European inter-agency report for the Rio+ conference on sustainable development in the region

[2] The gross consumption of electricity is 8.5 times higher than the EU-15 value, with the intensity of total energy consumption 5.6 times higher than the EU; per capita usage of water is almost double the Western European standard of 150lt

What have we accomplished so far?

In the recent years, UNDP through its Human Development Reports has been drawing attention of the country’s policy-makers and civil society to the socio-economic development. The reports have stimulated national debates and resulted in many initiatives promoting and strengthening human development. The reports have offered focused perspectives and analysis of national circumstances and strategies for economic growth and advancing human development. The aim of the reports has been to bring together the human development facts, influence national policy and mobilize various sectors of economy and segments of society. They introduce the human development concept into national policy dialogue—not only through human development indicators and policy recommendations, but also through the country-led and country-owned process of consultation, research and report writing. As an advocacy tool designed to appeal to a wide audience, the report can catalyse public debates and mobilize support for action and change.

  • First draft of the NHDR 2014 on resource efficiency prepared.

Who finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed


USD 101,000

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2012

USD 15,000

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