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UNDA Project 1819AE: Montenegro - Guidance for greening the public administration

Black Lake

After a first phase of UNDA projects in Montenegro targeting air protection, climate change and industrial waste, the impact of the COVID-19 and the restriction on workshops and meetings led to the allocation of resources to projects aiming to support economic recovery in a green perspective.  

The third EPR assessed the remaining challenges of the country on the road to green the economy, such as a lack of investment, innovative activities, and efficient pollution taxes. In this regard, no guidance existed so far for the activities performed by the public sector, which both have an impact on the environment and can potentially serve as model for the other sectors. Indeed, Montenegro has made progress on its path to achieve SDGs targets, with improvements in goals 1, 8, 9 and 12, but the country still faces challenges on environmental matters. 

Therefore, under the UNECE flagship, a guideline to reduce the negative environmental impact of the public administration as well as a checklist to evaluate these outcomes have been developed. Different areas of intervention are spotlight. Energy consumption is one of the most important aspects. Indeed, buildings have a huge impact on the environment, due partly to their cooling and heating system, but also to their equipment, such as computers and lighting. Promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewables are important steps to reduce their negative impact. Moreover, implementing well-designed and efficient water and waste management systems contributes to an optimal use of resources and to environmental protection targets. In this light, the guideline highlights the importance to raise the employees’ awareness on different matters, such as consumption of office supplies, habits at the canteen, in the meetings and when commuting. Encouraging public transport, walking, or cycling, putting in place recycling facilities, providing tap water rather than plastic bottle water, promoting the use of durable good and the reduction of plastic are like many others, small actions but are key to reduce environmental pressures. In this effort, increase green procurement by the public sector will be necessary to spur these changes but also in view of the EU accession, as the EU legislation recommends the countries to develop National Action Plans for green public procurement.