According to the Serbian Business Registry Office, as of November 2014, there were 23.948 citizens associations, and over 600 foundations and endowments registered in Serbia. Civic society activism in Serbia has been changing recently, with an improvement of the relationship between civil society organizations (CSOs) and state authorities, and the diminishing importance of grant-making programs of international donors and the emergence of the European Union as an important partner for Serbian civic activists.. The legal environment for Serbian CSOs has been improving recently, with noticed increase in cooperation with and support from the governmental Office for Cooperation with Civil Society and other independent governmental institutions. The governmental Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, established in 2010, remains a key communication point between national authorities and CSOs. In addition, the government adopted a decision that made CSOs eligible for co-funding from the state budget for projects financed by the EU and other funds.

The financial sustainability of CSOs in Serbia is somewhat improving, although diversification of revenue sources is limited, CSOs continue to rely mostly on international donors, and the economic crisis decreased the level of funding from the private and public sectors.

CSOs working at the local level are recognised as having a legitimate and meaningful role in providing social welfare and protection services in the community.

Financial management systems are slowly improving as part of the overall improvement in strategic planning efforts and the development of procedures, but CSOs in Serbia need more training in financial management, as well as more funding to publish annual reports, conduct organizational audits, and implement other key financial transparency activities.

 

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Top Findings

Finding
1 The lack of managerial skills of CSOs, unclear lines between governance and management, and a constant influx of new, inexperienced staff.
2

Financial management systems are slowly improving as part of the overall improvement in strategic planning efforts and the development of procedures.

3

Small grassroot organisations often relly on granting opportunities from local authorities that are generaly much smaller and can hardly get EU fundings or fundings from other international donors.

4

Tax treatment of CSOs in Serbia is unfavorable. During the second half of 2012, the state increased VAT from 18 percent to 20 percent, which increased the costs of all purchases.

5

The social network can be more used as an effective means of communications and for promoting CSO activism.

6

CSOs and the media recognize the need to build the sector’s public relations capacities.

Top Recommendations

Recommendation
1

Provide more fundings for projects that will last longer periods of time and therefore provide CSO staff with opportunities to stay longer in organisations using their experience more effectively.

2

CSOs in Serbia need more training in financial management, as well as more funding to publish annual reports, conduct organizational audits, and implement other key financial transparency activities.

3

Improve granting opportunities for smaller and newly formed organisations.

4

Continue with VAT exemption for donations from the EU and the US government.

5

Provide more training and financial support to CSOs on how to use online social networks in their work.

6

Organize a series of trainings and meetings for journalists.



EU environmental policy categories

Legislation:

Water Framework Directive - Directive 2000/60/EC
Certain progress has been reported in transposition of this Directive due to the preparation of draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Water, which will provide further transposition of Directive’s requirements, as well as legal basis for adoption of the relevant subsidiary legislation.

Implementation:

Water Framework Directive - Directive 2000/60/EC
No progress in implementation of the Water Framework Directive has been achieved recently.

Legislation Gaps:

Based on the results of legal gap assessment, amendments to the Law on Water is planned. They will enable transposition of Directive’s provisions and provide legal basis for adoption of by-laws of relevance for transposition of this and other Water Quality Directives.

Implementation Gaps:

The implementation dates for the majority of obligations provided in previous reporting years have been postponed, due to delay in adoption of legislation which will enable the Directive’s implementation (Water Management Strategy, Water Pollution Protection Plan, Rulebook on the Designation of Water Protection Zones, Water Quality Management Plan).

Legislation:

Main legal acts of relevance for transposition of the Directive’s provisions are Law on Water (Official Gazette of RS, No. 30/10) and the Rulebook on the Establishment of a Methodology for the Preparation of a Preliminary Flood Risk (Official Gazette of RS No. 1/2012).
Additionaly, following legal acts are of relevance for transposition of this Directive: Law on ratification of the Framework agreement on the Sava River Basin, Protocol on the Navigation regime to the Framework agreement on the Sava River Basin and Agreement on the Amendments to the Framework agreement on the Sava River Basin and the Protocol on the Navigation regime to the framework agreement on the Sava River (OG CS – International Agreements, No. 12/2004, May 28, 2004).

Implementation:

The obligation to set up an administrative system (Article 3), as well as requirements related to the implementation of Article 4 of the Directive (description of floods in the past and assessment of potential adverse consequences of future floods) are implemented.

Legislation Gaps:

The transposition of remaining Directive’s provisions is linked to the adoption of draft Rulebook on the Establishment of a Methodology for the Preparation of Flood Hazard Maps and Flood Risk Maps.

Implementation Gaps:

The deadlines set for the previous year have been revised. The estimated year for implementation of obligations related to the establishment of appropriate objectives for the flood risk management is 2016; for establishment of measures for its achievement (Art.7) is and the implementation of obligations related to Article 9 (establishment of steps for coordinating application of this Directive and Water Framework Directive) is 2017; while the implementation of Article 5 (preparation of flood hazard maps and flood risk maps); and Article 10 (publishing of preliminary risk assessment, flood hazardous maps and flood risk management plans) is planned for 2021.

Legislation:

There has been no progress in transposition of the Groundwater Directive.
Main legal acts of relevance for transposition of the Directive’s provisions are the Law on Water (Official Gazette of RS, No. 30/10), the Rulebook on parameters of the ecological and chemical status of surface waters, and parameters of chemical and quantitative status of groundwater (Official Gazette RS, No. 74/11) and Regulation on threshold values of pollutants in surface waters, ground waters and sediment and timelines for reaching of the values (Official Gazette of RS, No. 50/12).

Implementation:

There is no progress in implementation of the Groundwater Directive in 2015.

Legislation Gaps:

Further transposition is linked to the adoption of amendments to the Law on Water, which will fully transpose some of Directive’s provisions and set legal ground for the adoption of amendments to by-laws relevant for transposition of this.
The drafts of these legal acts which will provide alignment with majority of Directive’s provisions are under preparation.

Implementation Gaps:

Taking into consideration that the transposition of this Directive is at initial stage, the implementation of individual requirements has not started yet, only the preliminary timetable has been determined.

Legislation:

The Directive’s provisions have been transposed through the Law on Waters and the Law on Food Safety.

Implementation:

The implementing requirements related to the establishment of the monitoring system and mechanisms to provide consumer information (Art. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 13) are implemented. Also, The obligations related to the establishment of an administrative system for ensuring delivery of safe drinking water; the establishment of a mechanism to take action when drinking water fails to meet the standards and the establishment of quality assurance of treatment, equipment and materials are considered to be fully implemented.

Legislation Gaps:

Full alignment will require the amendments to the applicable Law on Water and Law on Food Safety, in order to ensure the legal basis for the transposition of remaining provisions.
A date of full transposition has not been determined yet.

Implementation Gaps:

The timetable for implementation of individual obligations related to the identification of all individual drinking water supplies (Article 1 and 3), ensuring that the quality of water complies with the requirements/special time scale for bromated, lead and trihalomethanes (Art.14) and establishment of the system of reporting to the Commission (Art. 13) has not been specified yet.
It should be noted that the development of the Directive-specific Implementation Plan has been scheduled for 2015/2016, which will provide precise information on the implementation timetable for all the Directive’s requirements.

Legislation:

Main legal acts of relevance for transposition of the Directive’s provisions are the Law on Waters (Official Gazette of RS, No. 30/10) and the Regulation on threshold values in waters and deadlines for their achievement (Official Gazette of RS, No. 67/2011, 48/2012).

Implementation:

In line with the results of a compliance check the national procedures related to the obligations related to the establishment of the permitting system for the treatment of plants and industrial wastewater discharges, including prior regulations and specific authorizations for industrial waste water discharges; disposal of wastewater from the UWWT plants; and biodegradable industrial wastewater discharges (Art. 10-13), which have been assessed as implemented in previous years, are now estimated as non-compliant to the Directive’s requirements.

Legislation Gaps:

Further transposition is mainly linked to the adoption of the first set of amendments to the Law on Waters (scheduled for 2015), the adoption of which should address identified gaps in transposition and set legal ground for adoption of subsidiary legislation, including amendments to the Regulation on threshold values in waters and deadlines for their achievement (Official Gazette of RS, No. 67/2011, 48/2012). The second cycle of amendments to the Law on Water is scheduled for 2017, and it will provide legal ground for the transposition of remaining Directive’s provisions.

Implementation Gaps:

Deadlines for implementation of the remaining Directive’s requirements have been set, in line with applicable national strategic framework. According to the National Environmental Approximation Strategy, as well as applicable national legislation, the implementation of obligations related to the Articles 3, 4, 5 and 7 (requirements related to the providing collection systems, secondary or equivalent treatment, discharges in sensitive areas, and discharges in freshwater) is scheduled for 2041, which is also the estimated year of full implementation.
It should be noted that Ministry indicated that this Directive is the candidate for negotiations of transitional periods, and that development of the Directive-specific Implementation Plan (DSIP) has been initiated, in order to ensure precise information on the implementation timetable for all Directive’s requirements.

Legislation:

Certain progress has been reported in transposition of this Directive due to the preparation of draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Water, which will provide further transposition of Directive’s requirements, as well as legal basis for adoption of the relevant subsidiary legislation.

Implementation:

There has been no progress in implementation of the UWWT Directive in the reporting period.
In line with results of compliance check performed in 2014, certain changes in assessment of implementation status of individual requirements have been reported. Namely, the national procedures related to the obligations related to the establishment of the permitting system for the treatment of plants and industrial wastewater discharges, including prior regulations and specific authorizations for industrial waste water discharges; disposal of wastewater from the UWWT plants; and biodegradable industrial wastewater discharges (Art. 10-13), which have been assessed as implemented in previous monitoring years, are now estimated as non-compliant to the Directive’s requirements.

Legislation Gaps:

As reported by the competent Ministry, further transposition is mainly linked to the adoption of the first set of amendments to the Law on Water, the adoption of which should address identified gaps in transposition and set legal ground for adoption of subsidiary legislation, including amendments to the Regulation on threshold values in waters and deadlines for their achievement (Official Gazette of RS, No. 67/2011, 48/2012).

Implementation Gaps:

The date of implementation of the Directive’s provisions related to the identification of sensitive areas (in accordance with Art. 5 and Annex II of Directive), linked to the adoption of the Rulebook on Criteria for Designation of Protected Areas and the Content and Method of Registers of Protected Areas, has been postponed.
The implementation of obligations related to the establishment of reporting system to the European Commission and establishment of protocols for exchange of information with neighbouring countries is set.
Deadlines for implementation of the remaining Directive’s requirements have been set, in line with applicable national strategic framework. According to the National Environmental Approximation Strategy, as well as applicable national legislation, the implementation of obligations related to the Articles 3, 4, 5 and 7 (requirements related to the providing collection systems, secondary or equivalent treatment, discharges in sensitive areas, and discharges in freshwater) is set.

Legislation:

It has been estimated that national procedures related to the practical arrangements under which environmental information is made available to the public (Article 3); procedures related to the refusal of request for environmental information/exceptions (Article 4); procedures related to the availability and dissemination of environmental information (Article 7), as well definitions of environmental information and public authority are assessed as not fully transposed into national legislation.

Implementation:

There is recently no progress in Directive’s implementation.

Legislation Gaps:

The full transposition of these provisions will be achieved through the adoption draft Law on amendments to the Law on Environmental Protection.

Implementation Gaps:

Due to the reassessment of transposition status, performed on the basis of assessment of effectiveness and compliance of national mechanisms and procedures with Directive’s objectives, the assessment of implementation stratus of several individual requirements changed. Namely, the procedures related to establishment of procedures to ensure the availability of environmental information (Art. 3.1); establishment of the applicable exceptions (Art. 4), and establishment of the practical arrangements under which environmental information is made available to the public (Art. 3) have been assessed as not fully compliant to the Directive’s requirement. The implementation of these requirements is directly linked to the transposition of Directive’s provisions.

Legislation:

The Public Participation Directive is considered fully transposed into Serbian national legal system.
Main legal acts which transposed Directive’s provisions are:
Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (Official Gazette of RS, No. 135/2004, 36/09)
Law on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (Official Gazette of RS, No. 135/2004, 88/10)
Law on Planning and Construction (Official Gazette of RS, No. 47/2003¬, 34/2006)
Full transposition of the Public Participation Directive (2003/35/EC) was achieved in 2009, upon ratification of the Aarhus Convention.

Implementation:

The Public Participation Directive was considered as fully implemented since 2009.
However, with a recent reassessment the majority of obligations related to public participation procedures and mechanisms are assessed as noncompliant to the Directive’s requirements.

Legislation Gaps:

Although the Public Participation Directive is considered fully transposed into Serbian national legal system, as of 2004, a detailed examination of applicable legislation with a focus on effective, substantial transposition (compliance of provisions with objectives of Directive) was performed, and resulted in assessment that majority of national procedures is not fully compliant with Directive’s requirements.
In order to address these gaps and ensure full transposition, the Ministry initiated amendments to the applicable Law on Environmental Protection.

Implementation Gaps:

However, with a recent reassessment the majority of obligations related to public participation procedures and mechanisms are assessed as noncompliant to the Directive’s requirements.
The full implementation is linked to the amendments to the adoption of amendments to the Law on Environmental Protection, which is scheduled for 2016.

Legislation:

The EIA Directive has been amended in 2014, and the ToC for EIA Directive have been amended accordingly, raising total number of provisions to which country has to comply in order to achieve the full transposition.
The old EIA Directive (87/337/EC) was assessed as fully transposed, the codified version (2011/92/EU) as largely transposed trough the following legislation:
• The Law on EIA (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No.135/2004, 36/2009);
• The Law on Ratification of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Official Gazette of RS, No.102/07);
• Regulation on the list (I) of projects for which an impact assessment is mandatory and list (II) of projects for which an impact assessment may be required (Official Gazette of RS, No. 114/2008);
• Regulation on the content of application to determine whether an EIA is required and of application to determine the scope and content of EIA studies (Official Gazette of RS, No.69/2005);
• Regulation on the procedure of public participation, presentation and public consultation regarding the EIA study (Official Gazette of RS, No.69/2005);
• - Regulation on the technical commission for assessment of EIA studies (Official Gazette of RS, No.69/2005)

Implementation:

Most requirements of the “old” Directive have already been implemented, and all implementing procedures established in line with the initial EIA Directive.
It is important to note that there has been a change in the implementation status of the EIA Directive, due to the expansion of the Directive’s scope.

Legislation Gaps:

With the exception of Article 7.5 (establishment of detailed arrangements for Directive’s implementation with neighboring states), which will be transposed through the adoption of amendments to the Agreement among countries of Southeast Europe for the implementation of the Convention on EIA in a transboundary context (amendments to the ESPOO Convention), the adoption of which is scheduled for 2015, the transposition of remaining provisions will be achieved through adoption of amendments to the applicable Law on EIA (Article 2.3- joint procedures and links between EIA, Birds and Habitats Directive) and Law on planning and construction (art. 8, 9.1 and 9.2- public consent and development consent procedures).

Implementation Gaps:

The implementation of Article 7 (establishment of arrangements with neighboring countries), linked to the ratification of amendments to ESPOO Convention, have been postponed from 2015 to 2016, in line with changes of dates for adoption of ratification Law (end of 2015). The implementation of remaining provisions (namely, Article 8, 9 and 10) is linked to the establishment of national procedures (transposition), which will be achieved through the adoption of amendments to the Law on planning and construction.

Legislation:

The transposition of the SEA Directive is in an advanced stage. A majority of the Directive’s provisions have been transposed through the Law on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (Official Gazette of RS, No. 135/2004 and 88/10).

Implementation:

The SEA Directive is considered to be fully implemented. Due to the reassessment on the basis of assessment of effectiveness and compliance of national mechanisms and procedures with Directive’s objectives, some procedures are assessed as non-compliant (see Implementation Gaps).

Legislation Gaps:

The provisions of national legislation pertaining to the procedures for avoiding duplications (Art. 4.3); environmental reports (Art. 5.2 and 5.4); transboundary consultations (art. 7.2 and 7.3) and informing public (Art. 9.1 and 9.2) are considered as not fully compliant to the Directive’s requirements.
The full alignment will be achieved through the amendments to the applicable Law on SEA.
In addition to this, the Directive’s provisions related to the procedures for consultation of authorities are assessed as not transposed, and its transposition is linked to the general alignment with public participation procedures, by the end of 2018.

Implementation Gaps:

The procedures related to the informing the public and public consultation procedure (Art. 6), consultation with neighbouring countries (Art. 7), procedures related to the environmental reports (Art. 9) and, establishment of the monitoring system (Art.10) are assessed as non-compliant to the Directive’s requirements.

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Legislation:

The Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gas management, as well as on conditions for issuance of the license for the import and export of such gases (Official Gazette of RS, No. 120/13) entered into force in January 2014. This Regulation established a system to receive and analyse the annual reports submitted by producers and importers (in line with Article 6.1 of Regulation 842/2006/EC) for importers.

Implementation:

This requirement has been assessed as fully implemented, since there is no production of f-gases in the Republic of Serbia, as reported by the competent Ministry.

Legislation Gaps:

The Law on Amendments to the Law on Air Protection (Official Gazette of RS, No. 10/13) provided legal basis for the adoption of a governmental regulation covering the conditions, minimum requirements and procedure for obtaining, revocation and renewal of certificates for employees in legal entities and/or entrepreneurs working with certain fluorinated greenhouse gases. The adoption of this regulation is scheduled for 2016.

Implementation Gaps:

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