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The WBIF’s main priorities in this sector are water and wastewater, solid waste, river basin management and flood protection in densely populated and industrialised areas and environmentally sensitive areas.

The environment in the region is marked by a poor legacy, including coal and lignite reliance, illegal waste dumping, accumulated industrial and mining waste, limited wastewater treatment and energetically-inefficient building stock. Urban areas have sprawled just as the constructions for tourism have done along the coastlines. Furthermore, economic development in the Western Balkans is putting an additional strain on the environment, affecting resource use, waste management and biodiversity. Growing tourism industries are bringing in seasonal population peaks that need to be catered for.

Finally, the Western Balkans, already prone to extreme climatic events such as the 2014 floods, must plan for climate change. Higher summer temperatures and lower rainfall are likely to impact water supply, hydro energy production and energy use.

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