Dialogues on just green transition commence

October 17, 2022
UNDP Serbia

Belgrade, 17 October 2022 - With the support by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has organised the first in a series of dialogues about implementing the green transition of Serbian economy in a just manner, taking into account the specific characteristics of the sectors and regions relying on extensive consumption of fossil fuels. The aim of these dialogues is to find a common answer for the entire society to losing jobs, implement timely re-trainings of workers and diversify sources of income in the cities and municipalities that rely on coal production.

His Excellency Takahiko Katsumata, Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia, emphasised that in Japan, central and local governments, privately owned companies and financial institutions work together in order to facilitate an unobstructed transition towards the decarbonised society. Concretely, the Government of Japan organises trainings of workers for new jobs, enables company to change or diversify their fields of business, works on attracting green start-ups and helps workers in finding new jobs, highlighted Ambassador Katsumata, adding that “Even though the transition entails many a challenge, it can also be a great opportunity to promote industrial innovations and strengthen the links between economy and environment”. 

“A just green transition is a process working in people’s favour. If we implement this process in the right way, we will attain energy security, as well as a healthier and greener future not only for ourselves, but also for the generations to come. Therefore, we will work together with all the workers, unions and individuals that are involved in this process,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, Prof Dr Zorana Mihajlović.

She added that the Ministry of Mining and Energy had started to develop two important documents that would enable implementation of the green transition in a just way – Energy development Strategy and Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate up Until 2050.

“The principle of justice should be an integral part of the process of renouncing fossil fuels. With the support of the Government of Japan and in partnership with the Government of Serbia, UNDP wishes to find a way to obtain an adequate support to the regions, sectors and local communities in Serbia that depend on intense coal consumption, in order not to leave anyone behind during the green transition,” said Anas Qarman, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Serbia.

The event was participated in by representatives of the ministries competent for energy, environmental protection, labour and education, as well as by representatives of employers, major workers’ unions, civil society and international organisations.  

In the course of the panel discussions, they considered the manner in which the green transition is implemented in practice, taking into account the interests of all citizens, the ways in which the education system and labour market could adjust so as to minimise the loss of jobs and avoid social inequalities, increase in poverty and migrations, as well as the available sources and potential models for financing such an approach to the green transition.

The just green transition expert, Gonçalo Cavalheiro, presented the study “First Steps toward a Just Transition in Serbia” that was developed with the support by UNDP. The main conclusion is that the later the efforts to facilitate a just transition should commence, the less likely to succeed and more expensive the transition will be. Therefore the study’s author recommends that Serbia should begin with implementing the Just Transition Road Map as soon as possible. 

By the end of the year, two more dialogues concerning the just green transition would be held, focusing on local communities in Serbia, as well as consultations with representatives of the corporate sector.

“Dialogues on a Just Green Transition in Serbia” are organised as a part of the project titled “Just Green Transition and Decarbonisation in Serbia”, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Mining and Energy, and supported by the Government of Japan.

UNDP Serbia