The SPIDER WEB (Strategic Project to Increase the Detection and Disruption of Environmental Crime in the Western Balkans) project, funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), has been carried out by IMPEL. The project was aiming at increasing the awareness on the importance of tackling environmental crimes and the skillset of all actors in the compliance and enforcement chain in six Western Balkan economies, to successfully disrupt and prosecute environmental crimes. The six countries were Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia.
The SPIDER WEB project has made the following deliverables available so that the collected knowledge can be shared and applied throughout the enforcement chain in Europe and even beyond:
- Baseline Survey Report
- Training Needs Assessment (TNA) Report
- Final Report (also available in the Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian language)
- Dissemination of tools, training manual information, best practices
During the closing Conference of the SPIDER WEB project held in Croatia in November 2019, a panel consisting of representatives of Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo*, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded that one way to fight environmental crime is to raise much more public awareness on the impact of environmental crime on for instance people’s health, as this will make enforcement a higher priority. The panel recognised the added value of the SPIDER WEB project and called for a follow up of the work. This should include targeting as well as integrating specific categories of specialists of the enforcement chain and allow for effective networking and sharing of contacts, with a view on improving the detection of environmental crime cases — and ideally, preventing them from happening.
Other recommendations of the Conference in Croatia in November 2019 include:
- Organisations that promote strengthening combating environmental crimes in the Western Balkan economies, should continue to support the region through organising and funding practical activities, such as capacity building and joint projects. As a quid pro quo, the organisations of the Western Balkan economies should provide the time resource of expertise to manage and run such activities.
- Building on the experiences of the SPIDER WEB project, a continuation with focus on practical and specialised training with a view on improving the detection of environmental crime cases, should be considered and encouraged. This could be horizontally (involving all actors in the compliance and enforcement chain) and/or vertically (focusing on a specific authority, e.g. customs, judiciary or environmental inspectorate).
- To establish partnerships with the private sector, as well as regular collaboration and exchange of information with national NGOs that operate in the field of the environment and to discuss appropriate measures to enhance the latter’s role in criminal proceedings.
- To develop prevention programmes and awareness campaigns against environmental crimes, targeted at the public sector and/or specific risk groups, risk behaviors, as well as identified new high-risk environmental subjects.
IMPEL wishes to express their gratitude to the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for their support and cooperation with regard to this important project and looks forward to continuing the relationship.