Published by admin_fpn
on September 23, 2019 ⋅ 4 min read
Cover photography: by Dušan Vuleković
Advocacy for an ecological state
Montenegro has always been considered one of the poorest countries in the Balkans. Poor because of its size, its geography and its tormented history.
Nevertheless, it has an exceptional nature that has been protected for generations because of its poverty and which today represents a major asset for its development in the years to come. This is what gives a certain credibility to article 1 of its Constitution which affirms its ecological vocation. The concept of the ecological State set out in the 1991 Constitution advantageously replaced the bankrupt self-managing socialism. Although the conflict in the former Yugoslavia at the time made this project surrealistic, it was rather well received in Montenegro and is still a dream both in the country and in the rest of the world.
Montenegrin history and culture are deeply marked by the wild nature that protected its inhabitants and which they have defended over the past centuries. This symbiosis is constitutive of the soul and the myths of the Montenegrin people (I mean all the men and women who have their roots in this land and who feel linked to its heroic past). Yesterday these values seemed outdated for some, utopian for others. Today they are regaining their full meaning at the dawn of what Jeremy Rifkin** calls the third economic revolution.
However, from narrative to action there is a gap that remains to be bridged and Montenegro has been hampered by the aftermath of a conflict and a transition it did not want. It has not dared or had no will to assert itself through this ecological project and has allowed itself to be dragged along by private interests and a development model that is increasingly being called into question and that represents a threat to itsenvironment. Above all, it is the one that mortgages its chances of sustainable development, which alone can give it the autonomy without which there is no real independence.
650000 inhabitants, 13500 km2 of which most of them have remained virgin, a long and beautiful history rooted in European history, this small state can become a “European laboratory of sustainable development”. It is to this beautiful and ambitious project that the Foundation wants to make its contribution with all those who have already been mobilized for years to convince, defend, propose and act for this ecological project. Indeed, it is not utopian to think that the ecological transition, which will take several decades for large post-industrial countries, is more easily conceivable for a small state like Montenegro by 2020.
This is why we have taken as our motto the title of the book by the English economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher “Small is Beautifull”, which was the first major ecological manifesto in the early 1970s. It is with the aim of promoting this project and participating in its realisation that the Foundation has put ecology at the heart of its various activities. It proposes to work together with all those who, inside and outside Montenegro, want to build a greener Europe for a safer planet.
* Ernst Friedrich Schumacher was a British economist of German origin, one of the leading figures in environmental flows in the 1970s. His best-known book, Small is Beautiful, was published in 1973 and reissued in Serbian in 2014. It is published by the “Kisa” publishing house. The Foundation uses the title of his book as a slogan and is considering a collaboration with Schumacher College of the University of Plymouth.
Declaration of the ecological state of Montenegro
We, members of the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro, are aware that the protection of nature, of the identity of the country in which we live and work, has become a foundation of our work. Convinced of our debt to Nature, a source of health and inspiration for freedom and culture, we dedicate ourselves to its protection, for the love we bear to our descendants and for future prosperity. We recognize that all our differences are less important than the changes in the environment in which we live. Independently of our national, religious, political feelings and convictions, we are aware that the dignity and happiness of the human being are intrinsically linked with the fulfilment and purity of Nature. Man and the creation in and around him are unique in their profound meaning. Man’s abuses have always been abuses against Nature. Our permanent struggle for human dignity will also be valid for the respect of Nature. By adopting this Declaration, Montenegro defines its respectful attitude towards Nature as an official state policy and calls upon all peoples to show wisdom in doing everything possible to avoid an ecological disaster. ”
Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro (Zabljak, 20 September 1991)