New regional initiative of Regional Environmental Institute with RECs, established under the European umbrella

REC Directors from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo*, Montenegro, N. Macedonia, and Türkiye meet in Sarajevo to sign Memorandum of cooperation and launch a partnership with the Regional Environmental Institute, a think tank established within the European Public Law Organization.

The European Public Law Organization (EPLO) is an international organization, established in 2007 in Athens (Greece) for the creation and dissemination of knowledge in Public Law and Governance. To date, it has developed, organized, promoted, and supported over 200 educational, research, training, institution building and other activities, and has provided assistance to democratic institutions in more than 70 countries. The organization includes 20 entities – international or national schools, academies, institutes, and centers – as well as three EPLO’s missions to the United Nations, in New York, Geneva, and Vienna.

The EPLO’s Regional Environmental Institute (REI) was established with the mission to assist beneficiary countries in addressing a broad range of issues related to Environment and Climate Change, through the implementation of projects (research and development, policy upgrade and implementation, technical assistance, capacity building projects, etc.), and the provision of education.

While the target region of REI, intended on a longer run, includes the Central and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean, its initial activities are focused on the South-Eastern Europe. As the first outcome, a regional network of REI’s units, covering the Western Balkans region, Bulgaria, and Turkey, was established in June 2022. The network is composed of the national organizations safeguarding and building on the heritage of the former Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), who joined their forces to create synergies and increase their overall effectiveness and impact in continuing REC’s mission in the target region. The network is respectable, not only in terms of geographical scope, but also in terms of capacity, expertise and experience in REI’s areas of work, including a reach experience of REI’s units in working together within the framework of the former REC.

“The establishment of this network is extremely important. Our goal is to be a platform for future joint action in the creation and implementation of environmental and nature conservation policies. Any exchange of experience is of inestimable importance, because in all countries signatories of this Memorandum, the problems on environmental issues are almost the same. We believe that joining forces will help us face current and upcoming problems and challenges, create better environmental policies, and that our public advocacy reaches as many people as possible, but also decision-makers in the public and political life in signatory countries “, said Lejla Šuman, Director of REC BiH.

Honorary member of the Regional Environmental Institute is Montenegrin Prince Nikola II Petrovic – Njegos, who attended the signing ceremony of the Memorandum in Sarajevo.

“This is our debt to the generations to come. The only desirable future for all signatories of the Memorandum is to be ecological states, and that issues of environmental protection must not be alternative, but primary. I have faith that the younger generations understand this concept and that they will treat the environment much better than we do, “said Montenegrin Prince Nikola II Petrovic-Njegos.