Montenegro hosts Course on Sustainable Development

May training links economy, society & environment

June 30, 2009 | By Tamara Nikolic

With generous support from the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation, the REC organised the "Course on Sustainable Development: Good Governance", which was held in Budva, Montenegro on May 24-31. During the weeklong event, 79 mid-level officials representing national, local and regional administrative bodies, as well as NGOs, were invited and given an opportunity to discuss principles and pillars of sustainable development and good governance.

SOLID FOUNDATIONS: Budva provided a majestic setting for thinking about a more sustainable future. Photo: Flickr

Targeted invitees were officials from South-Eastern Europe (SEE) - primarily those from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo (UNSCR 1244). In addition to these participants, the REC attracted representatives from Croatia and other participants from so-called 'Visegrad Group' countries (i.e. Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). The intention was that representatives of West Balkan countries would exchange information and experiences with new EU member states.

The main goal of the course itself was to build capacities of national and local stakeholders from partner countries towards achieving good environmental governance and sustainable development in a cross-border context. The driving idea behind this goal is to up the speed of reforms and strengthen environmental institutions. In making shifts of political structure within such institutions, it is hoped that any adverse effects of such shifts will be kept to an absolute minimum, while cross-border and regional cooperation can meanwhile be promoted and supported.

SETTING THE TABLE: Small-group discussions are useful for strengthening cooperation. Photo: Legen Gejza

Also introduced was the key concept of sustainable development and its three main pillars: economy, society and the environment. Participants learned that linking these pillars must then be carried out through sustainable development strategies at international, national and local levels of governance, while international processes have been initiated to bring synergy to national and international efforts.

Also stressed was the importance of promoting international cooperation, which helps build a framework for action. The ideas behind this training reflect the fact that countries need to implement a great deal of work at both national and local levels - regardless of whether the country in question is deemed to be "developing", "in transition" or "developed".

The course curriculum focused on theoretical concepts of the sustainable development paradigm, and also on existing policy and regulatory conditions in the home countries of training recipients.

THE FULL MONTENEGRO: Course participants and trainers gather in the sunshine for a group snapshot. Photo: Legen Gejza

The "Course on Sustainable Development: Good Governance" was built on an idea of providing useful curricula and offering high-level lectures delivered by professors, experts and professionals from renowned institutions and universities such as the OECD, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), Sustainable Society Foundation, Paris Institute of Political Sciences, NALAS (Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South-Eastern Europe), Development Organisation from the Hague, the OSCE, University of Nis, University of Pennsylvania, and many others.

For further information about this course and other similar initiatives please click here, or contact Tamara Nikolic at