Montenegro country briefing - The European environment — state and outlook 2015

Briefing Published 18 Feb 2015 Last modified 11 May 2020
8 min read

Main themes and sectors addressed in the national State of Environment report

According to the Law on the Environment[1], the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for preparation of environmental reports and contributions to international requests via the following publications:

  • National Information on SoE – annually,[2]
  • Indicator-based SOER – every four years.[3]

The Law on the Environment stipulates mandatory drafting of a SOER of Montenegro for a period of four years, based on the National List of Environmental Indicators which was adopted by the Government on March 2013. Consequently, the EPA published the first indicator-based SOER to present information to decision makers and the general public in Montenegro.

The report addresses the following themes and sectors:

  • air,
  • water,
  • climate change,
  • agriculture,
  • energy,
  • tourism,
  • transport,
  • fisheries,
  • waste,
  • biodiversity,
  • marine ecosystem.

The indicator's position in the internationally applied DPSIR model is specified.

An indicator-based SOER uses information and analysis from many years of implementation of monitoring programs for all segments of the environment (which are conducted by the institutions selected in the tender procedure), in addition to data obtained from relevant national institutions.

Key findings of the State of Environment report 

During the period of sanctions (1990-1995), there was a significant drop in emissions of acidifying substances - primarily of SOX and NOX - due to the overall reduction in economic activities (primarily in energy production and transport intensity). After 1995, SOX and NOX emissions showed a steady upward trend. For the NOX emissions this stabilised for in 2009 (around the base value of 1990), while the SOX emissions trend remained unstable. This was probably a result of changes in the energy sector which was particularly pronounced in 2009; a decline was observed in SOX emissions by almost 50% compared to 2008. With intensifying energy production in 2010, emission levels suddenly increased. In the same reporting period - due to a drop in agricultural production - emissions of NH3 showed a stable trend of slight decline, and in 2010 emissions amounted to about 50% of the 1990 levels.

Concerning the sectoral emissions of SOX and NOX during the period 2006-2010, there was a trend of increasing participation of the energy sector in total emissions (SOX by 18%, NOX by 7%), a significant reduction in emissions from energy use in industry (SOX by 28%, NOX by 24%) and the share of transport (about 30% and about 15%). There was an increase of NOX emissions (about 15%) by public sector services, institutions and households.

Air quality in urban areas and nationwide assessed in terms of the concentration of SO2, NO2 and O3 is within the prescribed threshold limit value, with no major concentration variations on an annual basis. High concentrations of PM10 and a large number of exceeded permitted daily concentrations (Figure 1) were most pronounced during the heating season, mainly due to the use of solid fuels (coal and wood).

Figure 1: Number of exceedances of daily limit values of PM10 particles


Source: Environment Protection Agency

Total consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODSs) was 37.22 t in 2006 and 17.14 t in 2012. This represents a 54% decrease in the consumption of ODSs, mainly in the refrigeration sector. This results from National Program for the Elimination of ODSs (2007), but importantly, there is no domestic production of ODSs. Compared with the 105.6 t baseline consumption of ODSs (1995-1997), the decrease is 84%.

As a clear consequence of the crisis in the early 1990s, GHG emissions were reduced by over 50% in a five-year period. However, in 1998, emissions reached the same level as 1990, the baseline year. In the period 1998-2008, there was an evidently growing trend as a result of energy consumption in all energy sub-sectors except for industry activities. As a result of the global economic crisis, a new decline in industrial production and consumption of energy caused the decrease of GHG emissions in 2010 to a level of 22% below the baseline year emissions.

With regard to the Water Quality Index, in 2012 about 45% of the 13 monitored rivers were in the good quality category, 30%  were very good and 25% were bad. Compared to the previous year, the average annual value of nitrate concentrations decreased in all streams with lower spatial imbalances. In contrast, the concentration of orthophosphate significantly varies spatially. In the period 2009-2012, there was a decrease in the concentration of BOD5 by 18% and a decline in concentration of NH4 ions by 43%.

Organic production is becoming more popular and economically important. Although in 2011 the area under organic farming covered 0.6% of the total agricultural land, in the period 2007-2011 the number of registered organic producers increased from 13 to 100.

In the period 2009-2012, the amount of generated municipal waste was reduced by 39% while the GDP increased by 3.5%. 

The national network of designated areas covers 9% of the national territory of which the largest part (7.8%) consists of 5 national parks. The remaining part covers more than 45 protected areas in the following categories: natural monument, an area of unique natural features and (general and specific) reserves. The planned target in the National Biodiversity Strategy is 10% of the terrestrial territory and 10% of the marine area.

Main policy responses to key environmental challenges and concerns

Montenegro is in the process of EU integration with gradual adoption and implementation of EU legislation. Improvements in the field of air protection are connected with adoption of the following new legislation:

  • Law on air protection;[4]
  • Regulation on the limitation of emissions of air pollutants from stationary sources;[5]
  • Regulation on the establishment of a network of measurement points for monitoring air quality;[6]
  • Regulation on the types of pollutants, limit values and other air quality standards;[7] 

all fully harmonized with EU legislation.

From 1 January 2011, the use of motor gasoline with additives based on lead and regulate the sulfur content of liquid fuels of petroleum origin was prohibited under the Regulation on limit values of pollutants in liquid fuels of petroleum origin[8], in accordance with EU regulations.

The first National Strategy on Air Quality Management (2013-2016)[9] has been adopted together with 54 measures in the Action plan framework. In accordance with national legislation (and EU directive 2008/50 EC), Air Quality Plans for two cities with the highest level of PM10 concentrations exceedances have been adopted.

Efforts to create a national legal framework in the area of climate change is still ongoing. Concrete steps in implementing the Montreal Protocol,  were made in 2007 with the adoption of the National Program for the Elimination of Ozone Depleting Substances and the Plan for the Ultimate Elimination of CFC Substances. The deadline for the final elimination of CFC substances (consumption or import) was on 1 January 2010. In addition, the purpose of the adoption of the Plan is to gradually eliminate the consumption of HCFC substances, especially in the service sector. The baseline period (from which the reduction of demand for HCFC substances is accounted for) is the period 2009-2010.[10]

Only 64% of all recommendations from the Water Framework Directive have been transferred into national legislation. The revision of the Law on waters is ongoing.

The new National Strategy and National Plan on Waste Management (2014-2019) are drafted but still in the process of being adopted. The goal is harmonisation with Waste Framework Directive requirements for reuse and recycling, support to the Strategy on Energetic Development of Montenegro till 2030, as well as support and inputs to the National Environmental Approximation Strategy.  

The ongoing process of updating the 2010 National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS) and the Action Plan (expected to be completed by the end of 2014)[11] will enable full integration of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets into the national strategic framework and alignment with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. The NBS and the National Strategy for Sustainable Development established the objective of extending protected nature areas to 10% of the terrestrial territory and to protect 10% of the marine area. The first goal will be achieved in upcoming period with the proclamation of two new protected regional parks. With the purpose of achieving a higher level of harmonisation of national legislation with the Habitat and Birds Directive, the revision of the Law on nature protection was adopted at the end of 2013.

Country specific issues

The development of the Coastal Area Management Program (CAMP)[12] for Montenegro is considered one of the most significant national success stories. This project was implemented by the Mediterranean Action Plan - in the scope of UNEP and Montenegrin Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism - with the involvement of local governments from the project area and relevant institutions such as Environmental Protection Agency (from 2012). 

Another important activity is the assessment of general vulnerability based on the vulnerability of individual environmental segments. Existing pollution of individual environmental segments were analysed as a specific characteristic. Results of the assessment served as one of the baselines for defining spatial vulnerability and for identifying remediation measures. Vulnerability assessments or the determination of sensitivity/susceptibility of space is a method used to determine more vulnerable (unsuitable) spatial segments for the given (planned) intervention or activity. It represents an innovative tool for policy decision makers.

An assessment of general vulnerability is not an independent assessment per se – it is rather a baseline for preparation of the Coastal Area Spatial Plan as well as for the Strategy and Plan for Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

References and footnotes

[1] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 48/08, 40/10, 40/11

[2] Information on State of the Environment in Montenegro for 2012

[3] Indicator based State of the Environment Report of Montenegro, 2013

[4] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 25/10

[5] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 11/10

[6] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 44/10, 13/11

[7] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 45/08, 25/12

[8] "Official Gazette of Montenegro", no. 39/10, 43/10

[9] National Strategy on Air Quality Management 2013-2016

[10] First National Communication on Climate Change, 2010

[11] The Fifth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, 2014

[12] CAMP Montenegro


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