Fighting environmental crime, like the killing, destruction, possession or trade of specimens of protected wild fauna (particularly birds) or flora species, illegal logging or the improper collection, transport, recovery or disposal of (hazardous) waste, are key challenges not only, but particularly, in South East Europe (SEE). This is due to weak environmental awareness, data situation and financial and human resources.
The SPIDER WEB project, led by IMPEL, aims to increase the awareness and the skillset of all actors in the environmental law enforcement chain to successfully disrupt and prosecute illegal behaviour and limit the negative impact on human health and environment of this behaviour.
IMPEL Project Manager Nancy Isarin: “Today, these offences are still not considered a high enough priority, whilst their impact on human health, ecosystems and the environment is significant.”
SPIDER WEB stands for Strategic Project to Increase the Detection and Disruption of Environmental Crime in the Western Balkans. The geographical scope of work, with training being a core element, focuses on 6 target countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, and Serbia.
By mid June 2019, the SPIDER WEB project team has reached its halfway mark as Waste Management expert Fraser Allan (Scotland) and Nature Protection expert Jaap Reijngoud (The Netherlands) delivered three out of the six national trainings, namely the Republic of North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo*.
The participants, totalling around 100 persons, represented a good balance between the actors in the enforcement chain: environmental inspectors and permitters, police and customs officers, and prosecutors and judges. The vast majority expressed an interest in further training and in improvement of the collaboration, not just within their own countries between the several involved agencies, but also within the region as a whole.
Each training started with joint sessions for all, followed by parallel sessions breaking out into Waste and Nature. The Waste Management sessions covered all aspect in the chain, from point of generation to transport and treatment covered by EU Waste Directives and Regulations. The Nature Protection sessions included trade in wildlife covered by the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and logging as regulated by the EU Timber Regulation. A variety of training methods were used, such as presentations, tools, exercises, break-outs, case studies and guidance. Of course a lot of good debating went on as well.
The trainings were developed based on two studies that were carried out in the first half of 2019: the Baseline Study covering existing relevant legislation in the six targeted countries, and the Training Needs Assessment, providing better insight into the level of training needed per country across the enforcement chain.
After the summer break, the SPIDER WEB team will deliver three more trainings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. The project will terminate during a closing conference, to be held at the end of 2019.
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SPIDER WEB is jointly financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany on the basis of a grant agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GmbH). IMPEL is responsible for the overall coordination. The project runs from mid 2018 to the end of 2019.