Launching Kosovo's EcoMovement
The movement is increasing community participation in solving environmental problems nationwide.
Eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kosovo have joined together to establish a network—EcoMovement—that will address the many environmental challenges facing the young nation. The partners are focusing on stimulating community participation in environmental protection, as well as improving Kosovo’s environmental legal framework.
ISC helped launch EcoMovement as part of our Kosovo Civil Society Strengthening Program.
EcoMovement is the first grassroots, community-based network in Kosovo that can address environmental issues and challenges on a national level. A number of smaller, local initiatives have taken root, but there has not yet been a Kosovo-wide approach to encouraging active citizen participation in protecting the environment.
This new national initiative is changing that by improving communication and information exchange among the NGO members, better articulating critical environmental issues to the public, and working together to solve them.
“Our movement aims to encourage action and citizen participation in changing Kosovo's environment for the better as well as channel their voices and make them heard,” says EcoMovement Coordinator Valton Karaxhiu.
By promoting international environmental days and events, the initiative gives communities a chance to participate both locally and globally in environmental action and advocacy. The first of these events was World Car Free Day on September 22, 2010 (see slideshow), which saw hundreds of participants take to the streets in the capital of Pristina to educate their fellow citizens and demonstrate their commitment to reducing automobile emissions.
“The surprise in the drivers faces, as we told them about the impact cars have on the environment, made me understand the need to inform our public more about the subject, and let them see that we are in this together,” said Fjolla Morina, a 16-year-old who decided to join the activity with her sister.
Achieving active community involvement is at the heart of EcoMovement. Utilizing hands-on approaches such as park and river clean-ups, as well as hiking and cycling tours that promote alternatives to automobiles, the network is helping ordinary citizens see the local, tangible impacts of their environmental protection efforts.
EcoMovement also addresses systematic concerns in Kosovo by working with citizens to advocate for, draft, and implement environmental legislation.
Established in August 2010, EcoMovement consists of a dozen of ISC's local and national advocacy partners in Kosovo, who are already engaged in environmental and health protection initiatives. They work across the country and serve a variety of populations, including two based in minority communities. The network remains open to other environmental NGOs wishing to work together to increase their impact.