The third Marmara Sea Symposium, organised by the Marmara Municipalities Union and co-organised by NALAS, is happening today in Istanbul, Turkey. The theme for the Symposium is the Regional Cooperation for protection of the Danube River.

“There is nothing stronger than when local governments get together to take a common action. It is even more powerful when this is done at transnational level. That is the future of how the global challenges will be tackled in the future: global leadership and common agenda in one hand and local governments aligning behind it to make it work”, said Kelmend Zajazi, NALAS Executive Director, in his opening speech.


NALAS priority in this sector is to improve collaborative governance and management of water utilities. Coordinated capacity development of water utilities along with the capacities of elected officials to understand the needs and take leadership. This is reflected in NALAS – IAWD partnership we are developing around specific projects, the most important one being the Regional Capacity Development Network (RCDN) for the water sector”, explained Zajazi.

“NALAS member LGAs have been active in improving the national policies. SOS from Slovenia, for instance, succeeded to make the right to water a constitutional right of Slovenian citizens as a public good managed by the state, preventing this way a future commercial treatment of water as a commodity”, said Zajazi.

Miodrag Gluscevic, from the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) in the Republic of Serbia, the host of NALAS’ Solid Waste and Water Management Task Force, pointed out that the strongest pressure in Serbia in regards to the waste water treatment is coming from the EU accession process. In that regards, negotiations for the most complex and most demanding area is the Chapter 27 on environment. The SCTM actively participates in the accession negotiation being part of the Negotiation Group.


“The local governments in Serbia face tremendous challenges in this area. Only 27% of them treat the waste water in a situation where the European standards require that all the LGs in the Danube watershed must have treatment equipment. It influences on the investments in the area of environment which are roughly estimated between 10-15 billion of EUR for building of 250 – 300 waste water treatment plants. In the same time the LGs have no adequate administrative structures on environment. Actually, only 3% of the LGs have established departments for water and waste water issues”, said Gluscevic.

Tomorrow, round table meetings will be organised with the participation of academics, experts, state officials and local government representatives.


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