REC starts SDG implementation project in Western Balkans

Organisation agrees with Germany’s UBA on 36-month cooperation

November 28, 2017

On November 7, 2017, the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) and the Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), through the Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP), agreed terms on a three-year project titled “Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Western Balkans”. The project is already underway.

With a specific focus on Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro, the overall project goal is to provide targeted support to these countries’ national SDG implementation bodies in coping with the challenges of implementing the UN 2030 Agenda. In addition, the project aims to strengthen the SDG-implementation capacities of high-level governmental officials and representatives of relevant ministries thus enabling country-level and cross-sectoral approaches in defining the project actions.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a “plan of action for people, the planet, prosperity, peace and partnership” that all 193 member states of the United Nations have agreed to implement. The Agenda contains 169 separate targets, and includes means for their implementation, follow-up and review.

The inclusion and mainstreaming of the UN SDGs into national policies, plans and strategies is crucial to the Agenda’s success. Each country needs to consider its national realities and circumstances—thus there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the mainstreaming process. There are, however, three typical steps for initial SDG mainstreaming that apply for many countries, namely: reviewing existing strategies and plans, and identifying areas for change; setting nationally relevant targets; and formulating strategies and plans using integrated-systems thinking.

REC involvement and expected results

The REC has implemented this type of methodology with great success in similar projects, and will be responsible for delivering project results through the following activities: country prioritisation of SDGs and development of indicators; definition of additional country-specific activities; organisation of a regional course for sustainability; and organisation of a final regional conference that will enable the sharing of experiences, results and country networking.

Through these activities, the REC expects to deliver the following results:

  • strengthened governance and improved institutional capacities in line with the SDGs;
  • facilitated cooperation between relevant ministries and institutions responsible for SDG implementation;
  • increased awareness and understanding of the SDG philosophy by government officials, civil servants and citizens in general;
  • strengthened positioning of SDG implementation in each country through the implementation of country-specific tasks; and
  • successful transfer of experience and know-how among the countries in the region.

This project is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It is supervised by the German Environment Agency (UBA). The responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors.

TAGS: Western Balkans | SDG implementation | Capacity building