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UNDA Project 1819AE: Montenegro - Greening of the commercial sector

air pollution

The third EPR of Montenegro in 2015 assessed that the country was already on a good path in adopting economic instruments to protect the environment and use rationally the natural resources. Indeed, pollution taxes were already in place since 2008. However, these charges were not creating enough incentives to change behaviors. The tariff system for municipal utility services in place were not well designed to ensure the viability of the utility companies. Investment, R&D and the capacities of the authorities at the national and local level were still not sufficiently promoted. Since there was no explicit statement of green economy in the strategic documents of the country, the review noted that future documents could be an opportunity to integrate the country's explicit commitment.

Since then, the Government has embarked on a journey to promote the green economy with the development of guidelines for the Roadmap to the circular economy, in line with EU requirements to harmonize policies. Moreover, the concept has been included in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030 (NSSD) with priority areas such as climate change mitigation, resource efficiency, waste management, or sustainable production and consumption. In 2020, It has also created an Eco Fund to finance environmental protection projects. Still, there is a lack of guidance for both the public administration and the commercial sector to fully embrace the green economy.

Under UNECE assistance, a guideline for greening the commercial sector, targeting the hotels, supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants was developed, geared toward a circular economy and an improvement of waste management. It helped to define the major areas of intervention, giving specific weight to the eco design, an approach to designing a product which would be the least environmental harmful possible and energy efficiency. The country has already added new energy efficiency targets to be reached in 2022 as well as information campaigns to raise public awareness. For the commercial sector, several projects have been conducted to rationalize energy consumption in the buildings, especially in the hotel sectors. The guideline aims at further improving the process through the designation of key areas of circular economy targeting intervention, including energy efficiency and specifically the construction and equipping of hotels, management of water and waste,  especially food waste, a good tax policy, R&D, education and training of employees and guests; and the creation of partnerships. These areas were defined as priorities and would have to be further developed to comply with a green economy paradigm and help Montenegro harmonize its regulations with the EU ones.

Achieving green economy goals not only contributes to economic growth per se but to the overall well-being of the population. This is illustrated by how the green economy is a cross-cutting issue within the SDGs, encompassing targets related to poverty, health, energy, consumption and climate change among others.