Themis Network: Managing Natural Resources and Combating Environmental Crime

Themis Network: Managing Natural Resources and Combating Environmental Crime

Source of funding

Austria

Name of client/donor

Austrian Development Agency GmbH

Overall project value

EUR 1,750,000

Date

December 2011 – September 2017

Beneficiary countries

Albania | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Kosovo* | Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | Moldova | Montenegro | Serbia

Number of staff

13

The Themis Network is a beneficiary-driven regional cooperation network in South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the Republic of Moldova (phase 2) connecting authorities responsible for the environment and justice sectors. Phase 1 of the Themis project ran from 2012 to 2014, and phase 2 ran from 2014 to 2017. The first phase of the Themis project created a community of like-minded state officials from South Eastern Europe (SEE) who were eager for change and who are now working together across borders to improve environmental governance through the rule of law and mutual understanding.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Given the significant vulnerability of the SEE region to the impacts of climate change, emissions of pollutants and biodiversity loss, comprehensive action is needed in order to adapt to environmental threats, including profit-seeking crimes, in the interests of creating a healthier environment and a climate-resilient society and economy. The Themis Network aims to strengthen regional cooperation in SEE through environmental law enforcement mechanisms targeting the environment and justice sectors, in line with the EU accession process. The second project phase also includes Moldova, which will benefit from the transfer of knowledge and experience from the SEE region, thus strengthening the EU association process.

The Themis Network contributes to the better implementation and enforcement of the EU environmental acquis and to the improvement of inter-institutional and inter-governmental cooperation (between the judiciary, prosecutors' offices, police, ministries, universities, local governments, NGOs and other regional/international networks) on environmental and other governance issues. The benefits of cooperation transcend the restricted field of environmental crimes, creating the added value of good governance in the region. Phase 1 of the project resulted in:

  • enhanced capacity in the region for nature protection, forest management and combating environmental crime via training activities, including eight regional training events, six national training events, and one technical assistance workshop;
  • new and reinforced links among national stakeholders;
  • improved regional understanding and cross-border cooperation;
  • strengthened international partnerships;
  • exchanges of experience with EU countries (mainly Austria, Croatia and Hungary); and
  • two publications.

Activities during the second phase of the project were divided into three clusters: management of the Themis Secretariat and organisation of Executive Committee meetings; capacity building in the fields of natural resources protection, forestry and the combating of environmental crimes via on-the-job training and joint law enforcement activities; and the production of publications and practical tools to support national and international institutional networking.

  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building
  • Cooperation and networking
  • Information dissemination
  • Events management
  • Preparation of guidance materials
  • Institution building
  • Producing publications