National IMPEL Coordinators’ feedback on combating environmental crime training
To combat wildlife and waste crime, IMPEL is supporting the Western Balkans to increase their capacity and skills by providing practical training to law enforcement. To date, three out of six national trainings were delivered, namely in the Republic of North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo* under the umbrella of the SPIDER WEB project.
The involved IMPEL National Coordinators were invited to share their views on the training. They are Darko Blinkov, Head of Department for Analytics, International Cooperation and Enforcement projects and National IMPEL Coordinator (North Macedonia); Enis Tela, Head of the Sector of Industry and Manufacturing Activities Inspection and National IMPEL Coordinator (Albania); and Florije Kqiku, Head of Division for Inspection Service, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and National IMPEL Coordinator (Kosovo*).
Darko Blinkov of North Macedonia: “The training enabled interactive presentations and discussions providing the participants with opportunities for connecting, learning, exchanging experiences and networking. The presentations and discussions were focused on the judicial system in the Republic of North Macedonia with a briefing and review of the procedures for environmental crimes, experience at European level presented by experts from Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland and Portugal, analyses of the environmental crime cases in field of nature and waste, opportunities for more networking between the Macedonian institutions and the relevant European organisations. All participants welcome and support this type of trainings and is seen as an introduction to a broader process which will comprise of: raising the knowledge and awareness of the institutions and the public about environmental crime, continuous trainings and education on recognition, processing and settlement of the environmental crime records. The participants praised the excellent organisation and work done by the State Environmental Inspectorate of the Republic of North Macedonia for this training and the SPIDERWEB Project team as well.”
Enis Tela of Albania adds: “In general environmental crime needs continued training. The Directive 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on the protection of the environment through criminal law needs better practical implementation. Not all law enforcement institutions in Albania are prepared yet in this field. Future trainings could focus on specific topics of investigations procedures and methodologies for environmental crimes, in particular for judiciary police officers, custom officers, prosecutors and environmental inspectors. I valued the connection of the technical expertise from IMPEL joining forces with the inter-institutional support platform supported by the OSCE Presence in Albania aiming to deliver a productive expert training”.
Florije Kqiku of Kosovo* seems to agree with her counterparts. She continues: “We really needed this kind of training. Everyone supported the idea for follow up trainings, going more in depth with the topics Waste Management and Nature Protection, finding possibilities for the exchange of experiences and also working more on the specifics of the country. I think that the SPIDER WEB team already has a preliminary picture of the situation regarding Waste Management and Nature Protection within the countries based on which these trainings have taken place. We have to work together on tailoring a new project-programme and develop follow up activities.”
IMPEL is encouraged to continue these activities targeting the SPIDER WEB project beneficiaries. In addition, the National IMPEL Coordinators feel that an important added value of IMPEL lies in the improvement of the exchange of experience and knowledge on the detection, investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes through regional cooperation and the establishment of partnerships with other organisations and networks. This includes NGO’s and ombudsman country offices as well. IMPEL brings a wider perspective of the environmental enforcement in the European context. It also shares positive and negative cases and addresses challenges that are faced at regional level.
The SPIDER WEB team members express their gratitude to the National IMPEL Coordinators for their high quality efforts to make the national trainings a great success! The remaining three trainings in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro will take place in the second half of 2019.
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 economies: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, and Serbia.
*”This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence"