Podgorica, September 3, 2021 – The third international conference, “Green Days 2021 – Redefining Development“, which was held through a series of virtual talks, ended today after gathering more than 300 participants from ten countries. The topic of this year's conference, organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Government of Montenegro and the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, was building an economic model for the future with climate ambitions and green recovery.
During the introductory part of the conference, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development Milena Lipovina Božović pointed out that the need to improve the Montenegrin economy on the path to sustainable growth was a great challenge for our country but also a great opportunity because investing in the green economy and environmental protection means investing into the future. “Economic diversification will be imperative for the further development of Montenegro. The focus will be on improving energy efficiency and the use of renewables in order to achieve sustainable development coupled with developed agriculture and tourism and greater synergies between these sectors,” Lipovina Božovic pointed, adding out that the Government intends to base its work on seven development pillars, among which the green economy is one of the main priorities. In this context, Montenegro's strategic development goal is defined as smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. “One of the main documents that is being prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development – “The Program of Economic Recovery” – includes a green component and identifies opportunities to steer our economy towards a green transition,“ the State Secretary of the Ministry said.
Daniela Gašparikova, UNDP Resident Representative for Montenegro, reminded that the Government of Montenegro recently committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2030, with the goal of decarbonization, which means the transformation of the energy sector, transport and industry. “As part of our climate promise, UNDP will continue to support Montenegro in revising its nationally determined contributions (NDCs), even earlier than the regular five-year cycle. Positive examples from champions of transformation send a strong signal that change is possible! The Montenegrin government recently announced a new 'Plan of Economic Recover,' which is a platform to encourage further investment in preserving existing and creating new jobs. This platform must bring together the public and private sectors because without the private sector being an integral part of the solution – this vision cannot be realized. In addition, striking a balance between climate and economic goals is in line with the country's commitment to be the ecological state. “I understand that achieving climate neutrality will not be an easy or simple task for Montenegro – but I deeply believe that change is possible if we all support the set vision,“ Gašparikova said.
H. E. British Ambassador Karen Maddox reminded that the United Kingdom hosted the UN Conference on Climate Change – COP26 in Glasgow in November. “The United Kingdom is responsible for contributing to solving the problem and encouraging others to make the changes needed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. The international community is currently not on track to meet that goal. Even if we achieve all the goals of the Paris Agreement, it would lead to a global rise in temperature of more than 3 degrees by the end of this century, causing catastrophic floods, fires, extreme weather events and the loss of many species. I find this frightening. We are now asking all countries in the world to do the same – and this is our challenge for Montenegro. There are ways that all countries can help. First, we are committed to the rapid elimination of energy from coal – this can be achieved here, with the growth of clean energy, including solar one. Secondly, we protect forests – because they have a role in removing carbon from the air. Third, we need to switch to zero-emission cars. In the United Kingdom, we are doing this by putting an end to the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. I am encouraged to see an increase in the capacity to charge electric vehicles in Montenegro. My challenge for the Montenegrin Government is to develop a 'green budget' for the next financial year. There will be resistance. There will be claims that this country cannot afford to be green, after financial losses in the past two years. However, in the end, long-term economic growth and sustainability, especially in a country that relies on its natural beauty for a large part of its income, can only happen if you have green policies and green principles as a basis,“ Ambassador Maddox said.
Nina Drakić, acting president of the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, points out that the topic of this year’s “Green Days 2021“ is very relevant at a time when our country is considering redefining the development and diversification of the economy – something that the Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly pointed out. “Climate change and green recovery go beyond national borders, and are current topics at the most important European and world addresses. That is why the European Union has decided that the recovery of the economy from the consequences of the pandemic must be in line with the European Green Deal and, when it comes to the Balkan countries – the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. “These key documents adopted by the European Commission are accompanied by the implementation of numerous programs, which allocate significant financial resources for the implementation of structural reforms and relate to green and digital transformation, energy and climate plans, innovation in these areas and fair transition,“ Drakić said.
During his speech at a panel on the importance of financing green growth, Minister of Capital Investments Mladen Bojanić said that Montenegro was determined to follow the global and European trend of opting for clean energy, promoting green economic growth and encouraging innovation in favor of future energy transitions.
“The state strongly supports activities to mitigate climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which create the conditions for economic prosperity based on sustainable and low-carbon development. Montenegro is recognized as a regional energy hub and a leader in producing and using energy from renewable sources. Energy policy and legislation are moving towards harmonization together with the policy and legislation of the European Union in the field of energy“, Minister Bojanić said.
More information about the conference and the main conclusions of the event can be found on the official website of the conference - www.greendays.me, as well as on its accounts on social networks Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagramand Twitter.