- Donor: Project funded by the European Union, IPA-Civil Society Facility Programme (EuropeAid/128287/C/ACT/MULTI)
- Type of contract: Grant
- Location(s) of the action: Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Period of implementation: December 2009 – June 2011
- Lead Partner: GAUSS Institute, Bitola
- Applied Research and Communications Fund, Sofia, Bulgaria
- Ecological Association HELIKS, Belgrade, Serbia
- EKOPOT – Association for development, advancement and promotion of ecological agriculture, tourism and environment protection, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The overall objective of this project was to strengthen the capacity of Civil Society Organizations from West Balkan Countries to be able to deal with the asbestos issues in these countries.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used in Europe as electrical and heat insulation, reinforcing concrete and polymers, sound insulation, etc. Altogether, more than 3000 products are known to contain asbestos. Largely ‘thanks’ to ease of mining, it is also a very cheap material. Given all its good and useful qualities, it has one major drawback – asbestos is declared a type A1 carcinogen, which is to say – it definitely causes cancer in humans.
The project Capacity Building for Banning and Phasing out Asbestos in West Balkan Countries contributed to the issue about asbestos which was marginalized in West Balkans, and actual only among limited high professional and academic circles, to gain publicity. Representatives of various professional associations and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were made familiar with the asbestos issue and unveiled this topic in their activities related to environmental or health protection. The project created a partnership and strengthened the capacity of Civil Society Organizations that increased public awareness and knowledge about the hazardous influence of asbestos on human’s health in West Balkan Countries and initiated activities for implementation of the EU Asbestos Directive in these countries.
With this project, the capacity of CSOs (from participating West Balkan Countries), active in occupational health and safety as well as in environmental protection, is strengthened for dealing with the asbestos issue. Interested CSOs are networked. Valuable experiences and initiatives for joint actions are shared between them, through a web portal and organized conferences, seminars, meetings, etc. Powerful tools are made available to them for their future activities (study, action plans, brochures, manuals, TV spot, etc.).
Educational Brochures about Asbestos
For the first time in participating West Balkan Countries, public awareness educational materials about asbestos were published. Four illustrated educational brochures, intended for professionals, workers, and the public, were published in Macedonian, Serbian, and Bosnian.
A practical guide on best practice to
prevent or minimise asbestos risks …
A practical guide on best practice to prevent or minimise asbestos risks in work
that involves (or may involve) asbestos: for the employer, the workers and the labour
inspector (А guide issued by the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee of the European Commission) was translated and published in Macedonian, Serbian, and Bosnian, and distributed to relevant stakeholders in these countries.
A web software (decision support system) for managing asbestos in premises was developed and published on www in Macedonian, Serbian, and Bosnian. The software enables every building manager to estimate the risk of exposure to asbestos by inhabitants/ users of the building (almost) in the same way as to consult asbestos experts (it is so-called expert system software).
Study about Current Situation with Asbestos in West Balkan Countries
A Study about the Current Situation with Asbestos in West Balkan Countries which analyses the current legal situation with asbestos in West Balkan Countries and reveals necessary steps toward harmonization of national with EU legislative was prepared.KAPAZ-ASBESTOS-STUDY-1
Draft Action Plans for harmonization of national legislations about asbestos with EU directives were prepared for participating West Balkan Countries (Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina). In the development of these plans, experiences from Bulgaria (which as EU member countries should harmonize its legislation about asbestos with EU directives) were used. The developed action plans were distributed to relevant national authorities.
Balkan Conference about Asbestos
The Balkan Conference on Asbestos was first such event ever held in the Balkans. Participants from Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and Albania, representatives from the relevant national authorities, CSOs, academia and experts discussed the current state with problems related to banning and phasing out asbestos in the Balkans.Report-from-the-Balkan-Conference
Training seminar for occupational health and safety specialists and inspectors was organized at the end of the project together with the final conference of the project.Report-from-the-Training-seminar-V-Gradiste
- Meeting with the Deputy Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Macedonia.
- Round Table discussion with high representatives (heads of the ministerial departments related to asbestos removal and disposal) of Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Macedonia.
- Meeting with the Head of the responsible department and with the National coordinator for asbestos, both from the Ministry for Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Serbia.
- Meeting with the Head of the responsible department from Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment of the Tuzla Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Delivering a letter with copy of published materials concerning the adoption and implementation of the EU Asbestos Directive to Presidents of the Parliaments and Members of the Parliaments, as well as to responsible ministries and other relevant governmental institutions in the West Balkan Countries participants in this project.
Public Awareness Campaign
- Eight one-page (1/1) reports about asbestos were published in daily/weekly newspapers in all three participating West Balkan Countries. Reports were published:
- In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the printed edition of the daily newspaper “Nova Makedonija” (www.novamakedonija.com.mk, first daily Macedonian newspaper, established 1944 with circulation ~ 20.000 copies per day), four 1/1 (full) page reports about the project were published.
- In Serbia, in the daily newspaper PRESS from Belgrade (www.pressonline.rs), a very popular daily newspaper in Serbia, two 1/1 (full) page reports were published.
- In Bosnia in Herzegovina in the daily newspaper “Nezavisne Novine” from Banja Luka (www.nezavisne.com), one of few newspapers from Bosnia and Herzegovina with balanced distribution among two entities (Federation BH and Republics Srpska), two 1/1 (full) page reports were published.
- Publication and dissemination set of produced materials in the project to relevant public bodies, associations, and organizations dealing with occupational health and safety, risk groups (e.g. construction companies), etc.
- Internet marketing campaign for promotion of developed web portal and initiating public discussion on the Internet. The campaign was split into two main components:
- Publishing web banner on most popular news portal in Bitola, Macedonia www.tera.mk with the aim of local promotion of the project in the region of Bitola (where is located project leader).
- Pay per click campaign through Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Google Ads were targeted to a general audience from West Balkan countries, with the aim to attract more visitors to the website www.noforasbestos.net and generated 618 clicks/visits. The Facebook campaign was realized to initiate a public discussion about asbestos (mainly among users from West Balkan Countries). NoForAsbestos Facebook group reached a number of 5004 likes with ~ 10 posts or comments per week which was a real surprise when we know limitations, as the attractiveness of the topics to the general public, language barriers, etc.