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GREEN LEGAL AID - Preparatory meeting with representatives of the non-governmental sector

On Friday, May 7, 2021, starting at 2.00 p.m., Manager of the ENEMLOS project for the Bar Chamber of Montenegro (BCM), Dr Nina Radulovic, held a meeting with representatives of the NGO sector working in the field of environmental protection and animal rights through the online Zoom application, relating to the initiative "GREEN LEGAL ASSISTANCE” (GLA).

The meeting was attended by a representative of the "Center for the Protection and Study of Birds" (CZIP), Ms. Jana Ikovic and representatives of the association "Korina Animals", Executive Director Tijana Kovacevic and associate Mr. Lazar Srdanovic.

Dr. Radulović greeted the present representatives of the non-governmental sector and briefly explained the goals and mission of the ENEMLOS project, planned activities and expected dynamics within it, as well as the role, importance and possibilities of upgrading this project with the GLA initiative. She especially emphasized that projects like ENEMLOS, which are financed by a renowned international donor, are strictly predefined both in terms of budget and activities, but that on the part of the BCM that launched the initiative, as well as on the part of the University of Montenegro (UoM) which is a chief coordinator, there is good will to upgrade the project by implementing the mentioned initiative. This will be possible, if the interested non-governmental sector proves its readiness for cooperation and the capacity to provide sufficient number of real cases that would enable the smooth operation of the Environmental Clinic within ENEMLOS.

Ms. Kovačević briefly presented the scope of activities of "Korina Animals". She pointed out the great interest in participating in the GLA initiative, mostly because the association primarily deals with legislative initiative and legal issues in the field of animal rights protection, and not so much with the immediate animal care. She notices the usefulness of the initiative primarily in combating the lack of interest in this area, which is still neglected within the national legal system. The initiative, if it comes to life, will enable students - future judges, lawyers and prosecutors - to focus attention towards animal rights and it will "sow the seed" of understanding for this area. Korina has at least 2 cases of violations of these rights per month, with perpetrators, witnesses and the necessary reporting of illegal actions to the competent authorities, which she would gladly share with the Environmental Legal Clinic to strengthen its own capacity, especially given the expansion of its activities through a pilot project for legal aid currently in progress.

Ms. Jana Iković presented the rich thirty-years long tradition of CZIP’s activities, mainly in the field of protection of wild animals and their habitats, biodiversity and sustainable economic development in harmony with nature. She emphasized that this organization has built rather high-profile personnel capacities for all the areas of environmental protection, but also assessed that, given the quantity of cases that they usually process annually, circa 300, the help of the Environmental Law Clinic would be welcomed. In terms of specific cases that the CZIP can provide, these are mainly reports of poaching and illegal possession of protected species, as well as habitat devastation. Ikovic welcomed the education of young lawyers in the field of Environmental Law through practical work, seeing in it a true way to preserve the biodiversity of Montenegro.

Mr. Dragoje Žodra, director of the organization "Animal Friends Podgorica”, was absent from the meeting, but subsequently submitted the profile of the association and confirmed its readiness to participate in the GLA initiative. His organization primarily deals with the care of abandoned animals in urban areas, but through an extensive network of volunteers very often encounters cases of severe animal abuse that require prosecution in accordance with law, and thus the necessary legal aid.

Finally, all the participants in the dialogue on the GLA initiative agreed that the initiative is excellent, while joint efforts should contribute to its successful implementation. In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, it was concluded that BCM should continue with organizational activities related to the initiative, which are the meeting with the coordination team of ENEMLOS from UoM, the possible  obtaining of the approval for the Environmental Clinic from Erasmus + donor program and the preparation of accession agreements.

The profiles of non-governmental organizations involved in the GLA initiative may be viewed HERE.


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