Cross Border Cooperation in the South Eastern Europe
Information note prepared by the REReP Task Force Secretariat for the 6th Task Force meeting in Brussels,
on November 7, 2003.
The REReP projects of cross border nature establish dialogue among the SEE countries. This note outlines
the existing REReP cross border projects and their results, summarises the signed and negotiated memoranda
of understanding or other cooperation agreements within the region. It also calls for establishing more cross
border projects under REReP in future, because of the added value of cooperating with the neighboring
countries in the field of environment. It has to be added here, that countries often need financial assistance to
decide on modalities of cross border cooperation and facilitate it. It has to be also underlined here that
countries of the SEE region are parties of the numerous multilateral environmental agreements, calling for
regional cooperation, too. Initiatives as Sava River Basin Initiative are also present in the region.
2. Formal instruments and sites of cross border cooperation
At the time of preparation of this note the REReP Task Force Secretariat had the following information on
the formal instruments for cross border cooperation.
Albania has signed Memorandum of Understanding with Republic of Montenegro, Memorandum of
Understanding with FYR Macedonia is drafted and signing such an instrument with Croatia is planned.
Bulgaria has signed an agreement on joint environment monitoring system with Romania. Croatia has signed
Memorandum of Understanding with Serbia and Montenegro and the ones with Albania and FYR
Macedonia are planned to be signed.
Memorandum of Understanding under REReP project concerning Drina River is planned to be signed.
Another possible site for future cross border cooperation is Transpark established by one of the REReP
projects, covering Djerdap National Park (Republic of Serbia) and Iron Gates National Park (Romania).
Kosovo (territory currently under UN interim administration) and Albania have ministerial plans to initiate
cooperation on management of neighboring National Parks “Sharri” and “Bjeshket e Nemuna.”
One of the best existing example of cross border cooperation, are joint activities of Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro on the protection of shared natural resources in
Neretva River Delta, Skadar Lake and West Stara Planina. These activities led to improved protection of
biodiversity in these sites, improved information on their biodiversity and public participation in their
management. They also contributed to rising of public awareness on importance of the sites. Project has also
contributed to the environmental education in local schools. In addition, rural-tourism strategy has been
drafted for Neretva River Delta. In order to facilitate cooperation on the project Albania and Montenegro
signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
Cooperation within the project on Transpark included identification of common problems on biodiversity
protection in Serbian and Romanian National Parks, creation of biodiversity inventories measuring human
impact on both parks and assigning staff to maintain communication and further exchange information. The
project aims at establishing common administration management system and transboundary biosphere
Drina River project concerns peaceful and constructive cooperation on municipal level of Bosnia and
Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro to design a solution to prevent waste accumulation in Lake Peruac
and Drina River.
The promotion of the regional cooperation, including cross border initiatives, is at the heart of REReP. The
assistance provided for all REReP priority areas is implemented through regional dialogue. However,
support to selected, targeted cross border activities are vital for environment protection in the SEE. Capacity
of environmental institutions in the region and environmental civil society have grown since the launch of
REReP. It is believed that the number of cross border projects will also grow in the coming years.