Slovenia

   

Environmental Policies

#12
Key Findings
With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia receives a high overall ranking (rank 12) in terms of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.2 points relative to its 2014 level.

The country has established a comprehensive environmental legislative framework in the last decade, introducing risk-based inspections and improving compliance monitoring. Emissions-reduction, disaster-assessment, drinking-water and waste-management, biodiversity and waste-management plans are under development.

Financial support is given to individuals for energy efficiency and renewable-energy use. Well-managed forests cover more than 60% of the country’s area. Fires at several waste-processing plants in 2017 resulted in serious environmental damage, and underscored substantial deficiencies in environmental administration.

Slovenia works closely with its immediate neighbors on water management and biodiversity issues, and maintains informal professional contacts with countries of the western Balkans. Environmental NGOs play an important domestic watchdog role.

Environment

#10

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
8
Slovenia enjoys extraordinarily rich biodiversity and landscapes due to its location at the junction of several ecological regions. The country’s natural endowment has been enhanced by a tradition of close-to-natural forest management and by low-intensity farming. Forests comprise approximately 62% of the total land area, which is about twice the OECD average.

The key mechanism for defining sustainable development goals and targets has been Slovenia’s new Development Strategy 2014-2020. In mid-2015, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning initiated a comprehensive public debate about the update of the Spatial Planning Development Strategy (for the period until 2050 with a medium-term action plan until 2020), with a comprehensive third round of consultations taking place in March 2016. Over the last decade, Slovenia has established a comprehensive environmental legislation. It has transposed most EU environmental directives into the 2004 Environmental Protection Act and other national laws. It has introduced risk-based planning of environmental inspections and improved compliance monitoring and enforcement. Several action plans and programs are in planning, such as plans to reduce GHG emissions, implement risk assessments of natural and other disasters, establish an operational program for drinking water supplies, develop a new biodiversity strategy, and create a national development program to establish an adequate waste management infrastructure. Another instrument providing support to individuals is the ECO Fund, which creates financial incentives for various energy-efficiency measures and renewable energy schemes.

In parallel with these developments, Slovenia improved the provision of and access to environmental information. Environmental NGOs fulfill an important watchdog role, participate actively in environmental policymaking, and play a role in environmental management – for example, by helping manage nature reserves. However, as in many countries, the legal basis enabling NGOs to challenge government decisions in the courts could be strengthened and their independence from public finances could be strengthened. While gross expenditure on R&D for environmental purposes has more than tripled in real terms in the last decade, the country’s environmental innovation system has produced relatively little output.

In 2017, Slovenia was also hit by massive fires at two waste processing plants, Kemis and Ekosistemi. The fires left both heavily damaged and devastated the ecological environment surrounding both locations. The fires – and even more so –the authorities’ slow response have underscored the substantial deficiencies in environmental legislation and administration, as well as in the government’s commitment to protect the environment and the health of citizens.

Citations:
Slovenia Times (2017): Kemis temporarily banned from collecting new waste after fire. May 29, 2017 (http://www.sloveniatimes.com/kemis-temporarily-banned-from-collecting-new-waste-after-fire).

Global Environmental Protection

#19

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
6
Geography determines the priorities of Slovenia’s international environmental relationships, notably with respect to water management and the conservation of biodiversity. Slovenia’s commitment to sustainable development on a regional and subregional scale is articulated through various cooperation agreements covering the alps, the Danube and its tributaries, and the Mediterranean (including the Adriatic). The Dinaric Arc area is an emerging focus of cooperation. Bilateral cooperation between Slovenia and its neighboring countries includes water management agreements with Croatia, Hungary and Italy, and agreements with Austria on spatial planning in border regions. Slovenia has continued to maintain many informal contacts at a professional/ technical level with the countries of the Western Balkans. Compared to these regional activities, Slovenia’s contribution to strengthening global environmental protection regimes has been modest.
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