Nine NGOs, led by WWF Adria, a branch of the WWF Mediterranean Programme established by the World Wide Fund for Nature International, sent a letter to the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia urging to accelerate the path towards a green economy.
“Meaningful, consistent and continued application of transparency and good governance is paramount in these challenging times, in order not to erode human rights, the fragile rule of law and democratic decision making present in our society,” reads the letter.
However, civil society organisations are aware of the extreme conditions in which these governments currently operate.
“The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a crisis of unprecedented scale and still uncertain consequences,” continues the letter. “We recognise the challenging situation faced by the Government of having to, on one side develop and ensure implementation of measures to keep its people safe and healthy, while on the other, start preparing for the economic and social fallout brought about by those same measures.”
Nevertheless, they all urged such governments to postpone any decision making, unless immediately relevant to the health and safety of its citizens, for which meaningful transparency and participation cannot be secured.
The NGOs are calling those governments to uphold and strengthen the implementation and funding of existing environmental standards and policies to address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution. They also ask to make a major investment in awareness-raising and education about human rights, sustainable development and nature conservation, strengthening the society to face future challenges. Furthermore, they underline the importance of making distribution of stimulus funds and bail-outs conditional on consistency with the European Green Deal and the Paris Accord, in order to drive the transformation of our economy towards sustainability.
“These investments should deliver long-term benefits for our society, and help make our economy more resilient to increasing shocks,” read the letter. “This was already supported by 17 European climate and environment ministers, who asked that recovery plans integrate the green transition and digital transformation.”