Newsletter 7/2010 - Activities in brief

Security of supplies goes hand in hand with reduced pollution

Reducing emissions from power plants in South East Europe was the main topic of discussion at a two-day workshop that was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 25-26 October 2010. The event was co-organized by the Secretariats of the Energy Community (EnC) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

The workshop considered implementation of the Environmental Acquis of the Energy Community Treaty focusing on EU Directive 2001/80EC and EU Directive 1999/32/EC in the Contracting Parties to this Treaty. Challenges and prospects for addressing Climate Change issues in the region were also debated.

The participants assessed that the question of reducing emissions in coal-fired power plants that are prevailing in South East Europe was of crucial importance from the aspects of mitigating climate change and air quality as well as securing electricity supplies. A key message in this context conveyed by the Energy Community Secretariat was that each country would have to act immediately in order to meet the deadlines stipulated in the Energy Community Treaty concerning implementation of relevant EU legislation.

While addressing the participants, Miroslav Kukobat, Senior Expert on Infrastructure and Energy at the RCC Secretariat, highlighted that energy efficiency and renewable energy sources represented key tools for development of sustainable energy.

"Development of energy efficiency and renewables represents much more than just expenditures for those who invest in it.. It is an extraordinary opportunity for structural changes that would contribute to creation of new jobs, primarily through the use of new technologies, industry and businesses development, and new education systems.”

In the course of the workshop the participants had a chance to hear about best practices, financing models and lessons learned in the process of implementation of relevant EU legislation in Bulgaria, Poland as well as the standpoint of the European Commission.

The event brought together around 70 participants from the ministries responsible for energy, environment and power utilities, from the Contracting Parties to the Energy Community Treaty ( Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,  Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK/Kosovo) as well as from other RCC members from South East Europe and Energy Community observer countries. 

Education inspectors identify joint approaches to professional development and training in South East Europe

A two-day regional conference agreed to further develop cooperation between inspectorates and other relevant state institutions in ensuring high education quality in Western Balkans. The event was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 20-21 October 2010. 

Co-organizers of the conference were the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The participants elaborated on the role, status, competences, efficiency and activities of education inspectors. 

The conference was opened by Ambassador Gary D. Robbins, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mladen Drgasevic, Head of the RCC Secretariat’s Building Human Capital Unit.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Robbins said that regional cooperation in education would change outlooks of all the countries and people in the region, especially on their way towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

“Education inspectors are of key importance for an educational system. They are mechanism of control in case of law implementation or violation of laws. Their role will be especially important when OSCE and other organizations leave Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Head of the RCC Secretariat’s Building Human Capital Unit, Mladen Drgasevic, assessed that regional cooperation is one of priorities of South East European countries but also a requirement for the European Union (EU) membership and, as such, it should be carried out through agreements and implementation of specific regional projects.   

“The RCC Secretariat identified education as one of priorities of regional cooperation, marked in the organization’s Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013. This Strategy envisages implementation of a project related to structural reform of higher education. The project is worth 800,000 Euro and its implementation should commence this year.”  

Conclusions, defining areas in which all participating countries identified the need for additional reform, were adopted at the conference. They represent a founding document for potential training of education inspection officials at the regional level.

The meeting gathered representatives of ministers of education and education inspectorates from Western Balkans, as well as representatives of relevant international organizations and other stakeholders.

National strategies in fighting terrorism to be coordinated at regional and international level

Effective national counter-terrorism strategies as well as advanced regional cooperation and coordination were in focus of a high-level workshop for South East European (SEE) countries that was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 27-28 October 2010. 

When opening the workshop, Security Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sadik Ahmetovic reminded the participants that a variety of terrorist activities and organisations existing nowadays represent one of the greatest challenges of modern societies and added that finding a way to counter them was a priority task of any democracy.

“The final result of all security reforms should be integral security system capable to address all potential threats. Further development of security in the region will significantly contribute to long-term stabilisation of this part of Europe but it will also simplify and accelerate full inclusion of all countries from the region into Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Secretary General Hido Biscevic reminded that South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) members have already adopted Strategy and Work Plan concerning the fight against organized crime, in Istanbul in July this year.

“Fight against organized crime was recognized as a priority for action in the domain of justice and home affairs with special emphasis on regional dimension in the fight against terrorism and prevention of financing of terrorist activities.”

The participants of the workshop included senior officials involved in the coordination of national counter-terrorism activities and representatives from international, regional and sub-regional organizations. This gathering represented an excellent forum for sharing and discussing experiences, good practices and challenges in countering terrorism.

The regional workshop was organized by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the RCC Secretariat, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative for Combating Trans-Border Crime ( SECI Center) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). The event was sponsored by Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey.