Slovenia

   

Environmental Policies

#14
Key Findings
With a rich natural landscape, Slovenia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 14) in terms of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.3 points relative to its 2014 level.

The country has established a comprehensive environmental legislative framework in the last decade, with ambitious policy goals particularly in the area of waste. Implementation and coordination of environmental policy has been largely effective.

Greenhouse-gas emissions were below targeted amounts from 2013 to 2017. Under the shared EU framework, the country’s target for 2020 is to avoid increasing emissions by more than 4% relative to 2005. The target for 2030 is to reduce emissions by 15% compared to 2005.

New policy instruments were introduced in 2019 to promote waste prevention, make reuse and recycling more economically attractive, and shift reusable and recyclable waste away from incineration. The ecological status of most lakes and rivers, and all coastal waterbodies, has been assessed as “good” or better. The country engages in cross-border water-management efforts with its neighbors.

Environment

#9

How effectively does environmental policy in your country protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and environmental quality?

10
 9

Environmental policy goals are ambitious and effectively implemented as well as monitored within and across most relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy goals are mainly ambitious and effectively implemented and are monitored within and across some of the relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy goals are neither particularly ambitious nor are they effectively implemented and coordinated across relevant policy sectors.
 2
 1

Environmental concerns have been largely abandoned.
Environmental Policy
8
Over the last decade, Slovenia has established comprehensive environmental legislation. It has transposed most EU environmental directives into the 2004 Environmental Protection Act and other national laws. Environmental policy has also been guided by the country’s Development Strategy 2030 which was approved by the government in December 2017. Certain environmental policy goals such as those regarding waste are ambitious, and the implementation and coordination of environmental policy has been largely effective.

With regard to resource use (land, water, materials, energy), the following can be established:
Resource productivity has improved overall in Slovenia in the last 10 years, though it remains below the EU average, particularly when compared with the EU-15. In 2017, it reached €1.43/kg compared to the EU average of €2.04/kg. The circular (secondary) use of material in Slovenia was 8.5% in 2016 (EU-28 average 11.7%), which was less than previous years. At the same time, Slovenia performs above the EU-28 average in terms of the number of people employed in the circular economy (2.09% of total employment in 2016 vs. the EU-28 average of 1.73%). New policy instruments were introduced in 2019 to promote waste prevention, make reuse and recycling more economically attractive and shift reusable and recyclable waste away from incineration.

With regard to environmental pollution (water, air, soil), the following can be established:
Slovenia has registered 378 sites where potentially polluting activities have taken or are taking place. Air quality in Slovenia continues to give cause for concern. For 2015, the European Environment Agency estimated that about 1,800 premature deaths were attributable to various sources of air pollution (i.e., fine particulates). Slovenia planned to take action to reduce the key sources of emissions in 2019 under the National Air Pollution Control Programme. The ecological status of most natural lakes and rivers as well as all coastal waterbodies have been assessed as “good” or better. From 2015 to 2017, the share of water bodies assessed as good or better increased from 52% to 58%. Chemical pollution, followed by organic and nutrient pollution, have been identified as having the most significant impact on all surface water categories. Despite ongoing protests from local communities, two waste-processing plants (Kemis Vrhnika and Ekosistemi Zalog) that were the site of massive fires in 2017 have resumed operation. Further plants (Salomon Lenart, Saubermacher Lenart, Publicus Komenda) were the site of more such massive fires that took place in 2019. As a consequence of these events, new safety mechanisms and procedures are being implemented at all waste-processing plants, though policy implementation is clearly lacking oversight and monitoring. As a result, various municipalities are increasingly turning away from hosting waste-processing plants on their territory.

With regard to climate issues, the following can be established:
From 2013 to 2017, Slovenia’s greenhouse gas emissions were below that of targets set for each year. For 2020, Slovenia’s national target under the EU Effort Sharing Decision is to avoid increasing emissions by more than 4% compared to 2005. For 2030, Slovenia’s national target under the Effort Sharing Regulation will be to reduce emissions by 15% compared to 2005. Since 2016, Slovenia has had a National Adaptation Strategy in place, developed through its Strategic Framework for Climate Change Adaptation. The framework provides a long-term vision and strategic guidelines for adaptation-related activities. Slovenia is currently in the process of developing a National Action Plan based on a comprehensive national Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. Sectors that have devoted the most attention to climate change adaptation action are water management (and the associated risks of flood and drought), agriculture and forestry.

With regard to biodiversity protection:
Slovenia has more than 350 Natura 2000 sites. These include 324 sites of community importance under the Habitats Directive and 31 special protection areas under the Birds Directive. Together, these sites cover 10.6 km² of marine waters and 37.9% of the country’s land area, which is the largest share of land area coverage in the EU (EU average 18.1%). As planned for within the context of the EU’s Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy, a bilateral meeting involving authorities and stakeholders in all economic sectors was held in March 2018. The main challenges to implementation were discussed at the meeting, which delivered agreement on a number of conclusions and actions to be taken and followed up upon in 2019. Considering the Natura 2000 coverage in Slovenia, there is no doubt it forms the backbone of efforts to promote green infrastructure. This infrastructure requires an upgrade in order to improve ecological connectivity among Natura 2000 sites and to provide green infrastructure in urban areas outside Natura 2000 sites.

Citations:
European Commission (2019): Environmental Implementation Review 2019. Country Report Slovenia. SWD(2019) 131 final. Brussels (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/eir/pdf/report_si_en.pdf).

OECD (2019): Slovenia Development Strategy 2030: Prospects, challenges and
policy options to achieve the main objectives. Paris.

Global Environmental Protection

#23

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, contributes to their being advanced and has introduced 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 contributes to their being advanced and/or has introduced some appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but does not contribute to their being advanced and has not introduced 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). Slovenia has signed and ratified almost all multilateral environmental agreements.
The Dinaric Arc area is an emerging focus of cooperation. Bilateral cooperation between Slovenia and its neighboring countries includes various cross-border agreements, such as water management agreements with Croatia, Hungary and Italy, as well as 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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