Budva conference provides platform for int'l discussion
By Srna Sudar Vilotic
The Regional Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development took place on October 16-17, 2009 in Budva, Montenegro. Organised by the Montenegrin Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment and Italian Ministry of Land and Sea, the event attracted a wide range of participants from several countries.
The conference was among the biggest international conferences in South - Eastern Europe dedicated to address climate change and its affects on development and the environment - both in a global and regional context. Extensive international interest in the event was reflected in the more than 300 individuals from all across Europe and around the world who attended in a united effort to exchange information, experiences, ideas and knowledge regarding the mitigation of and adaptation to the effects of climate change.
Montenegro is not a huge polluter, but suffers the effects of climate change just like everybody else: longer dry periods, heightened danger of forest fires, decreased availability of drinking water, et cetera. Montenegro, in recognising this situation, willingly contributes to regional efforts to minimise these and other climate change-related effects.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, appealing to a sense of shared responsibility to deal with the adverse effects of climate change, opened the conference with the following: "The impact of climate change affects the whole region and its people, regardless of individual contributions to it. A worse future is envisaged should we fail to take up our duty and responsibility with maturity and willingness to deter the effects of climate change. For this reason, each individual, institution, nation and international organisation plays an important role in preventing irreversible catastrophes, which pose a very real risk. ... The only way forward is for each country to take an individual stand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Details of the impacts of climate change on different sectors and the economy as a whole were been presented by: Montenegrin Minister of Spatial Planning and Environment Branimir Gvozdenovic; Montenegrin Minister of Tourism Predrag Nenezic; and Undersecretary of the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, Roberto Menia.
All participants and speakers gathered at this international conference have accepted unanimously the fact that coordinated action and cooperation at national, regional and international levels is a prerequisite for successful implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures. Furthermore, building partnerships in order to increase financial capacities and strengthen technical expertise is now recognised as one of most crucial steps to be undertaken by the Mediterranean and South-East European regions.
The Regional Environmental Center (REC), as one of players in the EU arena active in climate change issues - working especially with national governments in SEE, and effective at raising climate change awareness at local and regional levels - played an important role at the conference in its contribution toward exchange of best practices and bridging gaps in knowledge and expertise, and by presenting an organised appeal to "act today in order to resolve and avoid tomorrow's problems."
Listed below are some recent and ongoing climate change-related programmes and events relevant to Central and South-Eastern Europe: Capacity-Building Needs in South-Eastern European Countries (a.k.a. Road to Montreal) (2005-2006); Capacity Building for Implementation of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol in Stability Pact Countries (2006-2007); Enhance Regional SEE Cooperation in the Field of Climate Policy (2006-2007); Enhance Regional CEE Cooperation in the Field of Climate Change (2007); Support for Shaping the Post-Kyoto Climate Regime (2008-2009); Capacity Building in the Field of Climate Change in the Republic of Serbia (2008-2009); Preparation of the SEE/CCFAP: Climate Change Framework Action Plan for the SEE Region (2008); and, Climate Change and Balkan Biodiversity Conference (2007-2008).