Mar 29, 2024

Copyright: Mak Kapetanovic

The European Union’s commitment to fostering environmental sustainability extends beyond its borders, encompassing the Western Balkans region. Within the framework of EU4Green’s work package focusing on the ‘Status of environmental laboratories in the Western Balkans (WB) and their capacities,’ an insightful report sheds light on the environmental laboratory landscape.

Therefore, EU4Green organized a two-day workshop, bringing together 23 environmental laboratories and 51 participants, marking a significant collaborative effort. The primary objective was to comprehensively understand the current landscape of laboratories specializing in both organic and inorganic contaminants across air, waste, water, and soil samples within the WB6 economies.

The workshop served as a platform for exchanging insights, identifying synergies, and collectively exploring future interests and demands. It highlighted the existing capacities of laboratories in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, while also pinpointing areas for improvement and skill enhancement.

Key Findings

  • Albania: Capacities for analyzing organic and inorganic contaminants exist, with demands for enlarging the repertoire and improving skills in various thematic areas.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Similar to Albania, capacities are available, with specific demands in soil and water analysis, urging for an expansion of skills and capabilities.
  • Kosovo*: Capacities are present yet demands for enhancing skills and enlarging the repertoire persist, particularly in air, soil/sludge, and water analysis.
  • North Macedonia: Capacities for analyzing contaminants are available, but there’s a need for skill enhancement and expansion, especially in air, soil, water, and waste analysis.
  • Montenegro: Capacities exist, with a focus on improving skills and expanding capabilities in soil and water analysis.
  • Serbia: Similar to other economies, capacities are available, but there’s a demand for enhancing skills and expanding capabilities in various thematic areas.

Efforts were made beyond the workshop to integrate additional input from further laboratories, resulting in detailed information on 29 laboratories from the WB6 region. These laboratories, representing public, university, and private institutions, play a crucial role in environmental monitoring and analysis.

Looking Ahead:

The workshop’s outcomes provide a solid foundation for future endeavors. It not only identified current strengths and weaknesses but also paved the way for collaborative learning and capacity-building initiatives. Training possibilities for 2024 were explored, aiming to address the identified gaps and enhance the overall capabilities of environmental laboratories in the region.

Given the keen interest of the participants in further improvements in a) sample preparation, b) analyses using specific equipment and methods, and c) exploring potential collaborations among laboratories in training sessions, it was agreed that training for inorganic substances would be conducted at the TENUIS laboratory in Albania, while training for organic substances would be offered at CETI (Center for Eco-Toxicological Research Podgorica) in Montenegro, both during the 2024.

In conclusion, this report underscores the importance of collective action in addressing environmental challenges. By leveraging existing capacities, addressing gaps, and fostering collaboration, the Western Balkans can take significant strides towards a more sustainable future.

The report mentioned is available upon request via communication officers, please find the contacts here