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Croatia: More recommendations implemented

Economic instruments and financing of environmental protection expenditure
Recommendation 5.1:
The Government should increase the share of green horizontal subsidies in the extrabudgetary Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.
The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan of Croatia defined horizontal aid in energy efficiency as economically sustainable and green horizontal measures with the stated required financial instruments and the amounts necessary for their implementation, as well as stated estimates to reduce energy consumption and to reduce harmful emissions as the main indicators of success in implementing the measures.

According to the adopted Plan of using the resources from the trade of emission allowances through auctions in Croatia for the period from 2014 to 2016, EPEEF will, along with the collected charges, also dispose of revenues from emission allowances paid to the special account. All income of EPEEF is used specifically for pre-planned environmental projects and energy efficiency under the given legal framework, defined aid, and in particular horizontal rules in the framework of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which is one of the foundations for green initiatives and investments.

The Fund acts in cooperation with the units of local and regional self-government, companies in the market, organisations and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of energy efficiency, environmental protection and in the implementation of green initiatives in general. Harmonizing the activities of the Fund, in cooperation with other stakeholders, contributes to successful achievement of the objectives of the Fund through timely planning, implementation and reporting on the objectives achieved, and through integrated financial analysis of invested resources and cost-efficient specifically controlled financing, which makes it one of the most important institutions of the Government.

The government has partly aligned strategic documents of environmental protection and energy efficiency in defining and the dynamics of the implementation of measures, as well as in financial planning for their implementation. The financial instruments for the implementation of the measures of the real and the public sector were partly separated in the strategic documents in order to encourage sustainable economic development, which includes energy development, with dedicated financing without disrupting competition mechanisms, all with the support of introduction of all accepted quality, environmental protection and energy management standards.

Waste Management 
Recommendation 6.2
The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, should continue implementing options for reducing the number of local landfills.

During 2013 and 2014, EPEEF continued with the activities on remediation of the existing official unregulated landfills. At the end of 2012, out of 299 contracted landfill remediation, 108 were completed. The number of remediated landfills in Croatia increased during 2013 and 2014, and the stepping up of EPEEF’s activities resulted in 122 remediated landfills at the end of 2014. 
Activities of EPEEF in cooperation with local and regional self-governments are continuing on the remaining 136 active landfills. Remediation of 42 landfills is in progress, and preparation for remediation is underway for another 71 landfills. Also, the works are being carried out on nine closed landfills, and the preparation for remediation is underway for another 57 closed landfills.

At the same time, EPEEF is carrying out the activities on the implementation of construction projects of 2 county waste management centres, "Kaštijun" and "Marišćina". EPEEF’s investments of financial resources in the construction of County Centres "Marišćina" and "Kaštijun" increased progressively from 2013 to the end of 2014, for which purpose EPEEF in 2013 allocated HRK 62,163,478.00, and in 2014 HRK 175,875,581.30.
Investments of EPEEF’s resources for the remediation of unregulated landfills in 2013 amounted to HRK 46,391,657.00, while the funding for 2014 was slightly increased and amounted to HRK 51,900,171.94.

EPEEF has made significant investments in remediation of illegal landfills - dumps or smaller unregulated spaces that were not designed for waste disposal, and often contaminate the soil, water and air. The priorities for remediation are landfills that are located in the areas of special state concern, water protection areas, in the urban areas, in protected parts of nature, in the vicinity of tourist sites, as well as those landfills for which the environmental inspection determines that they should be removed because they pose a real danger for human health and the environment.

By the end of 2014, out of 1007 contracted sites in total, 760 illegal dump sites were remediated. The Fund’s investments in the remediation of illegal dumps in 2013 amounted to HRK 1,900,000.00, while in 2014 this amount increased to approximately HRK 4,000,000.00.

With the remediation of illegal landfills and polluted areas the objectives of the Environmental Protection Act are being accomplished so as to fulfil the conditions for sustainable development, which entail the protection of human life and health, protection of flora and fauna, protection of geodiversity, biodiversity and landscape diversity and preservation of ecological stability and protecting and improving the quality of individual components of the environment (soil, water, air), particularly the sensitive karst ecosystems.

The implementation of landfill remediation activities continuously reduces the negative impacts of waste on the environment and natural resources, especially taking into account the value of Croatia as a tourist destination.
The success of the process of rehabilitation of landfills depends on secure sources of financing, one such significant source being the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency, then the expertise of teams for the development and project management, and support of administrative structures and the public at county and local levels.

By co-financing the construction of recycling yards and ensuring the conditions for primary selection ("on the doorstep"), by raising public awareness, and by providing information and education, in 2015 EPEEF will continue its activities  to encourage the reduction of waste quantities in all sectors.

With the aim of achieving sustainable and thorough conservation of the quality of the environment, conservation of the ecosystems and rational exploitation of natural resources and energy, the Fund will promote environmental protection objectives and principles, and it will continue co-financing the projects that fulfil the measures for mitigating and adjustment to the climate change, and for the protection of the ozone layer.
Recommendation 6.4
The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, in cooperation with the Croatian County Association, the Association of Cities and the Association of Municipalities, should prepare a regulatory framework (ordinance) on biodegradable waste, and, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, should promote development of biodegradable waste management facilities, with the aim to reduce landfilling of biodegradable waste.

EPEEF has invested significant resources in the system of separate collection of waste to procure utility equipment for separate waste collection, especially those relating to increasing the share of separately collected types of waste (waste that can be re-used-recycled and/or recovered and biodegradable waste), all for the purpose of exploiting valuable waste and reduction of biodegradable waste from landfills, and reducing the emissions to the environment of hazardous gases resulting from the disposal of wastes with a high proportion of biodegradable components at landfills.
By the end of December 2013, EPEEF secured co-financing in the amount of HRK 6,544,146.82 that were used by 40 units of local self-government to purchase containers for selective waste collection, of different volumes, green islands (glass, paper, PET, packaging, batteries etc.) underground containers, garden composters according to the order of priority in waste management, according to the Act on Sustainable Waste Management.
Resources of the Fund for co-financing investments in containers for selective collection of waste increased in 2014 to the amount of HRK 42,503,474.24, earmarked for the separate waste collection system in the 221 units of local self-government.

The priority of EPEEF is solving problems of waste management, especially municipal and hazardous waste, as provided in the strategic planning documents and waste management of Croatia. For this reason, EPEEF continues with significant investment of its resources in the remediation of official municipal waste landfills, remediation of hazardous waste, recovery of waste and exploitation of its valuable properties, construction of waste management centres, construction of transfer stations, sorting and composting of waste. The projected share of the Fund at an estimated investment amounts to, on average, about 50%, and for particular landfills ranges from 40-90%.