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Seminar “Economic, environmental, and health impacts and costs in anti-coal camaigning” held in Pristhina

Balkan Green Foundation in cooperation with Advocacy NGOs networks for Sustainable use of energy and natural resources in the Western Balkans and Turkey – ETNAR, a project of Zelena Akcija (funded by the EU), organized the National Seminar about the real costs of Kosovo’s development policies, named ‘Economic, environmental, and health impacts and costs in […]

Balkan Green Foundation in cooperation with Advocacy NGOs networks for Sustainable use of energy and natural resources in the Western Balkans and Turkey – ETNAR, a project of Zelena Akcija (funded by the EU), organized the National Seminar about the real costs of Kosovo’s development policies, named ‘Economic, environmental, and health impacts and costs in anti-coal campaigning’. The Seminar took place on 14 and 15 October 2016, in Prishtina.

The topic of the seminar was not chosen by chance, since the Kosovo energy sector is more than 97% dependent on coal. Besides depending almost entirely on lignite (dirtiest type of coal), the energy sector entails many flaws in itself, as are inefficient use of electricity, followed by high energy losses, high prices, grave economic, environmental, and health impact on everyday life of Kosovar citizens.

The introduction to Kosovar coal situation was given by Learta Hollaj, from INDEP – Institute for Development Policy, a member organization of KOSID – Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development, a project of Balkan Green Foundation.

Health externalities and the impact of coal in Balkans were discussed by Vlatka Matkovic Puljic from HEAL – Health and Environment Alliance, while the topic of ‘Coal in post Paris World’ and ‘EU legislation on energy and post Paris agreement’ was talked over by Dragana Mileusnic from CAN Europe – Climate Action Network Europe. The first day of the seminar was concluded by Jagoda Munic from Zelena Akcija. Ms. Munic discussed the topic of ‘Why coal is bad energy’ and ‘Is the shift towards renewables possible’, where the economic, social, and environmental impacts of coal argued.

The second day of the seminar commenced with a field visit of the participants and lecturers at Hade village in Obiliq municipality, a place notoriously known for coal mine related problems.  The participants were accompanied by members of local community, and got the first-hand information regarding health impact of coal mining, and use of coal for energy production, since the power plants that these mines extract coal for, are few kilometers away. A good portion of problems were also related to improper resettlement of villagers, and everyday infrastructural and living problems.

After the visit, the seminar continued with its lectures and discussions. The first panelist of the day was Ioana Ciuta from Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch Network, who argued on ‘Economics of coal’ – real costs and finances. The rest of the seminar was focused on anti-coal campaigning, where Bernard Ivcic from Zelena Akcija gave campaigning insights in case of Plomin C power plant in Croatia, followed by Zvezdan Kalmar from CEKOR and Diana Milev Cavor from Green Home Montenegro, who presented their campaigns in Kolubara mine in Serbia, and Pljevlja in Montenegro.

In the last part of the seminar the participants gave their comments on lectures, ideas on how to move forward in anti-coal campaigning, and the ways in which the civil society can be more involved in these processes.

18.10.2016.