More than 30 organizations are demanding the urgent withdrawal of the Draft Law on Waters in Serbia

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Several civil society organizations have called for the “urgent withdrawal of the unconstitutional Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Waters” from the parliamentary procedure.
They state that during the drafting of this proposal, nor in any previous phase, public participation was enabled, nor was it informed in any way about the drafting of this act “essential for the preservation of water as a public good and a key resource for all citizens of Serbia.”
The announcement on the website of the Regulatory Institute for Renewable Energy and Environment – RERI, states that these changes and amendments were not announced by any public document or official statements, and that it is “astonishing” that the website of the Water Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture forestry and water management does not find the Bill, “or any information that would indicate that work is underway on amendments to the Law on Waters.”
“Such a procedure, in which no public debate was organized through which the citizens of the Republic of Serbia could influence the Bill, directly violated Articles 76 and 77 of the Law on State Administration,” the statement reads.
Civil society organizations claim that the draft law significantly changes the regulatory framework for water and land management and that “it is not about technical changes in which the public has no interest, but on the contrary, a substantial change in the procedure for deciding on the disposal of public goods.”
“In this way, additional space is opened for corrupt activities, and the principle of transparency and public procurement in the disposal of resources that represent the most important public good – water – is eliminated,” the statement reads.
Among the organizations that submitted this request are the Center for Cultural Decontamination, Center for Political Emancipation, Guardians of Fire, Environmental Uprising, Environmental Society Belorepan, Environmental Association Avalon, Environmental Association Rzav, Futoska Initiative, GAIA Center, Civic Platform, Initiative Odbb Tesla Pancevo, Right to Water Initiative, Coalition 27, Coalition against Environmental Corruption, Don’t Give Up Dorcol, Let’s Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina, Nature and Animal Conservation Organization – OSNA, Podrinje Anti-Corruption Team, Fortress Movement, etc.
The request was also supported by the following organizations: Organization for Political Environment – Polekol, Regulatory Institute for Renewable Energy and Environment – RERI, Save Gardos and Zemun, Assembly of Free Serbia, Heart of the City, Association Znanje, Association Bela Caplja 1165, Association of Internet Workers of Serbia, Neighbor Association, Kotez Association, Norma Center Association, Pebble Association, Topolska Association, ZaNashKej Association, United Fishermen of Serbia, Joint Action Block 70 / 70a.
The bill entered the parliamentary procedure on June 25, 2021, by urgent procedure, Nova Ekonomija reports.