Additional $4.9 Million Support for a “Greener” Serbia

More than 80 solutions from all over the country selected for green transformation of the economy and society

October 10, 2022
UNDP Serbia

Belgrade, 10 October 2022 – Today, as a part of the initiative “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia”, a presentation has been held for more than 80 innovative solutions selected for further support, so as to be implemented in practice and contribute to a quicker green transformation of the Serbian economy and society. These solutions arrived in response to 4 public calls that were issued, in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and European Investment Bank (EIB). 

Today, at the media conference organised to present the selected “green” solutions, a new partnership was announced with the Government of Switzerland, as well as additional financial support by Switzerland to the “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia” initiative and its implementation. 

“We expect that the allocated national and donor funds for implementation of the innovative solutions submitted in response to these public calls, would encourage and stimulate other donors, as well as the banking and economy sectors and, to join us on the path of Serbia’s green transformation,” said Sandra Dokić, Assistant to the Minister of Environmental Protection. 

She noted that a sustainable economic development of Serbia, paying particular attention to the environmental protection and wellbeing of all , was among the top priorities of the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. She underscored that, the Government had adopted new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in August of this year to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases and that Serbia had thus shown its clear orientation towards decarbonisation of its economy and society. 

“Switzerland is dedicated to combating climate change, both in Switzerland and all over the world. Through this contribution of $4.9 million and additionally planned $2.2 million especially dedicated to decarbonisation, Switzerland joins the common efforts of the Serbian Government, the donor community and the private sector, to combat climate change,” said Richard Kohli, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Department in Serbia. 

“On the path towards climate neutrality, every effort matters! We have no time to waste, the entire planet is involved in this race to prevent catastrophic climate scenarios,” asserted Nicola Bertolini, Head of the Cooperation Department of the EU Delegation in Serbia, and added: 

“Today we have two important pieces of news concerning our support to the Green Agenda in Serbia: we welcome the financial support by Switzerland to our initiative for accelerating green transition of the economy. Furthermore, we are announcing the results of 4 public calls. The participation was very good, with more than 140 applications, while the investment needs reached around 75 million euros. However, important efforts are still ahead and Serbia needs to make them, including adopting and implementing the Air Protection Programme 2022-2030, in order to protect the environment and health of the citizens.” 

Responding to these public calls for solutions to increase energy production from renewable resources, decrease energy consumption, stimulate a circular waste-free economy, decrease pollution and improve the quality of air, renew forest ecosystems and implement greening of urban areas – as many as 140 solutions were submitted in just 5 months, from March to July this year. Public and private companies, local self-governments, science research institutions and civil society organisations from cities and municipalities from all over Serbia, proposed their innovative solutions for the implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia. 

Out of these applications, the jury of experts selected 83 proposals for the implementation of which would in practice contribute the most to the decrease of emission of greenhouse gases, dependence on fossil fuels, saving of energy and natural resources, as well as to the protection of people’s health and preservation of the environment. Additionally, these solutions would contribute to the greater competitiveness of Serbian companies in export markets, facilitate sustainable economic development and result in opening of new green professional positions. 

“Swedish Government have cooperated for years with the Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, but also with LSG representatives, NGO and industrial sectors, in improving environmental conditions and implementing climate reforms. We joined the initiative for the implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia in order to support Serbia’s accession to the EU, especially through working on Cluster 4 and Chapter 27. The solutions submitted to address these challenges show that there are many actors in Serbia who wish to invest in green transition and become pioneers of this change in Serbian economy and society,” said Ida Reuterswärd, First Secretary of the Swedish Embassy in Serbia. 

She also welcomed the Swiss Government’s joining the “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia” initiative and assessed that this would contribute to the improvement of the legislative framework, implementation of innovative solutions that would serve as inspiration to others, as well as to increased investing in the green transition.  

“As the climate bank of the European Union, we wish to be a global driver of energy efficient and climate-oriented projects. The “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia” project is in line with these ambitions and we are glad to be able to help Serbia in transitioning to a green and sustainable economic model. Simultaneously, we believe that innovations are at the core of every economic transition, and this project confirms it, as it deals with a wide range of climate-related and environmental issues, which would consequently contribute to the advancement of Serbia and its citizens,” said Paul Hickey, urban and regional development specialist of the European Investment Bank. 

Anas Qarman, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Serbia, pointed out that in the following period, the selected teams would undergo training and mentoring, and exchange experiences in order to prepare their innovative ideas as best they can for implementation in practice. 

“The best of them would receive initial funding, to the total amount of $6.4 million, due to the funds of the “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia” initiative and the additional resources provided by the Government of Switzerland. In order to enable as many of the innovative ideas as possible to receive the necessary financial support, UNDP would enable all the selected teams to present their project ideas to commercial banks and the donor community,” said Qaraman.  

The selected solutions envisage the treatment of significant amounts of waste and wastewater from industrial facilities, the application of new technological solutions for a decreased consumption of resources and energy in industry, as well as an increased share of renewable energy resources such as sunlight and biomass.  

Additionally, the selected innovations in the field of the circular economy include the collection, separation and recycling of different waste (organic waste, plastic, paper, metal, rubber, construction waste) for the purpose of further processing into new products (i.e. compost, fertilisers, cosmetic products), or in producing biogas.  

Simultaneously, implementing all the proposed solutions for the renewal of forest ecosystems would result in a forested surface equalling 712 football fields. 

In the field of fighting air pollution, the implementation of all the proposed ideas in practice would result in a higher quality of air for 2,300,000 citizens of Serbia. 

The complete list of all the selected solutions from all four fields of the Green Agenda covered by the public calls thus far is available at this link