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Energy Transition and Clean Air
Subareas: climate change, industrial pollution, renewable energy sources, just transition
In order to slow down global warming and strengthen resistance to climate change, it is necessary to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. By signing the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, the countries of the Western Balkans have confirmed their commitment to the goals of climate neutrality in Europe by 2050 and joint work on the decarbonization of the energy sector with the European Union.
RERI participates in the process of drafting strategic documents, public policies, and regulations in order to contribute to efforts, ensuring that climate goals are carefully considered and integrated into these documents, and also harmonized with the legal acquis of the European Union and long-term goals in the field of climate change, as well as obligations that stem from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. This way, we contribute to the creation of preconditions for decarbonization as a comprehensive transformation of society, based on low carbon dioxide emissions, as well as responsible and sustainable use of renewable energy sources.
RERI is advocating in favour of stopping further planning of the construction of new thermal energy plants because their construction threatens sustainable social and economic development in the long term and prevents integration into the energy market of the European Union, which strives for zero emissions by 2050.
Decarbonisation of the energy sector and the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources requires careful strategic planning and monitoring of the effects of these policies on the society as a whole, to ensure that the transition is justly implemented.
RERI monitors the implementation of regulations in the fields of energy and climate change and, where justified and factually based, it initiates appropriate administrative and judicial proceedings, in order to stop through legal means the implementation of activities that can cause damage to the environment and human health.
Urban Planning and Infrastructure
Subareas: urban planning, spatial planning; construction, protection of cultural heritage
RERI deals with the analysis of the content and methods of implementation of the procedures for the development and adoption of spatial and urban plans, as well as institutional involvement in those procedures by submitting objections and suggestions and participating in public presentations and meetings of the planning committee.
We deal with the analysis of the documentary, legal, strategic and planning basis of the draft concepts, as well as the justification of the proposed planning solutions.
Before the Constitutional Court, RERI initiates initiatives to assess the legality and constitutionality of adopted spatial and urban plans.
We analyze the legality of documentation related to the construction of individual projects, in accordance with which we submit regular and extraordinary legal remedies against illegal construction and use permits.
In a world where natural resources are limited, unlimited and uncontrolled exploitation of mineral resources is not an option. Mining and mineral processing have played a vital role in the history and economy of the region, which is rich in mineral resources.
In order to ensure sustainable development and sustainable exploitation of these minerals, it is necessary that, during strategic planning, economic development is not promoted at the expense of environmental protection and social development. RERI participates in the process of drafting strategic and planning documents that regulate the exploitation of mineral resources and advocates for more ambitious public policies and laws that protect human health and the environment while promoting the transition to sustainable alternatives.
Environmental pollution from mining activities and the destruction of natural resources is a serious problem with significant consequences for human health, ecosystems, the economy and the rule of law. RERI is particularly focused on monitoring the impact of mines on the quality of water, air and soil, with a special focus on the implementation of regulations governing the management of mining waste.
Through monitoring the work of supervisory bodies and conducting administrative and judicial proceedings, RERI strives to improve environmental protection and the responsibility of state bodies and the economy, to contribute to the prevention and sanctioning of environmental pollution, endangering the rights of individuals, associations and local communities to a healthy and preserved environment and sustainable development, in accordance with EU standards, accepted international agreements and national legislation.
Nature and Biodiversity/Geodiversity Protection
With increasingly intense pressure on protected natural assets, including geodiversity, and due to various negative factors such as the development of tourism, urbanization, private interest, etc., a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to solve this problem and protect extremely valuable natural assets.
In order to protect nature, RERI preserves protected areas and plant and animal species and undertakes activities aimed at refuting illegal decisions (construction, use permits), as well as legal acts against responsible natural and corporate entities (lawsuits, reports for economic crimes, initiatives to commence misdemeanor proceedings, criminal charges).
Based on the collected, relevant data on illegalities concerning specific natural assets, RERI prepares case studies and legal analyses in which it points out violations of the law and submits legal remedies in order to protect and preserve nature and the environment.
Water and Waste Management
The domains of water management and waste management are not adequately regulated by the positive regulations of the Republic of Serbia. Insufficiently developed water and waste management systems represent a general threat to environmental and social sustainability. Through its daily work, RERI monitors the work and decisions of competent authorities in connection with the construction activities of water and waste processing facilities. In this way, RERI wants to establish independent monitoring over current and upcoming projects of the development of waste and wastewater processing facilities, as well as over the processes of (potential and planned) privatization of public water companies.
RERI will, depending on the specific case, be involved in procedures in which there is a danger to the environment, nature, and human health.
RERI uses available legal mechanisms in cases where a violation of applicable legal regulations is established.
Rule of Law and Human Rights
Subareas: access to information, public participation and the right to legal protection in environmental matters, fight against corruption, protection of human rights
Non-compliance with regulations in the field of environmental protection undermines the rule of law, and creates an atmosphere of legal uncertainty, and mistrust in institutions and with political actors. Uncontrolled and unregulated environmental pollution and destruction of natural resources is actually a consequence of non-transparency, absence of stakeholder dialogue, lack of accountability of public authorities, and corruption as a practical model of public resource and asset management.
RERI views law and the normative framework as a dynamic framework that should be improved and changed, and believes that a society based on the rule of law is achieved by implementing the rule of law in practice. The establishment of a public-political and legal framework that rests on strong and responsible institutions is achieved by insisting on the application of regulations, while through extensive investigation, the weaknesses and the need for their improvement are revealed.
We try to ensure the strengthening of legal mechanisms through administrative-judicial protection by confronting courts and administrative bodies with concrete, practical situations that reflect the weakness of the normative framework, the (ir)responsibility of public authorities, the lack of capacity or, on the other hand, the expediency and strength of the regulations themselves that guarantee the rule of law.
RERI’s operating methodology involves putting analytical and research work into the function of strategic judicial and administrative procedures, which aim to achieve a double effect: responsible perpetrators are exposed to legal liability, and at the same time, legal procedures contribute to improving the application of regulations and increasing the responsibility of authorities.
Initiating administrative and judicial proceedings also has a preventive effect, because in this way practice is developed for future similar cases, i.e., the space for authorities and polluters to act in the shadow of impunity is narrowed, and the awareness of impunity is one of the key generators of corruption.
RERI strives to ensure responsible and purposeful spending of public money, improve the implementation of regulations that guarantee access to information and accountability of public authorities, and ensure access to justice in cases where citizens are denied the right to participate in the decision-making process or when the right to a healthy environment is directly violated.
International and Regional Development and Cooperation
Subareas: EU integration, Energy Community
The application of adopted environmental standards and the implementation of laws transposed in the process of accession to the European Union is at an unsatisfactory level in the region, and RERI advocates the adoption and application of the legal acquis of the European Union, the Energy Community, the United Nations and other relevant international organizations in the field of sustainable development, protection and improvement of the environment, sustainable management of natural resources and renewable energy sources and the development of infrastructure and the industry.
As the region of the Western Balkans is recognized as an integral whole by all relevant actors, RERI carries out activities in a way that will enable broad cooperation with regional partners, non-governmental organizations, experts and other relevant actors and create a reliable and credible network of partners that will enable our organization to grow and continue to increase its credibility.