Belgrade, April 13, 2022 – At the Palace of Serbia, the first National Consultations on the Environment were held today, as part of Serbia's preparations for participation in the global conference "Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all - our responsibility, our opportunity," which is to be held in June this year. These consultations have been organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Government of Sweden and in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Over 150 representatives of state institutions, the civil sector, and the academic community participated in today’s consultations, which were opened by the Minister of Environmental Protection Irena Vujović, together with the Ambassador of Sweden to Serbia H.E. Anika Ben David, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Slavica Đukić Dejanović, and UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia Francine Pickup.
In the words of Irena Vujović, “The opening of Cluster 4, whose framework includes Chapter 27 - Environment and Climate Change, is a clear sign that significant progress has been made in this area during the preceding period. Since 2014, 23 laws and 200 bylaws have been adopted, while five additional laws from the Ministry of Environmental Protection have also been prepared. The Ministry which I lead has also prepared Draft Low Carbon Development Strategy, as well as a revised Nationally Determined Contribution, which were sent to other ministries for approval, most relevantly the Ministry of Mining and Energy. In tackling these challenges, regional cooperation has a vital role to play, especially in meeting the goals of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. The series of consultations we have initiated today is of great significance, because in this way, with the participation of all stakeholders, we will look at the most critical environmental issues and prepare proposals for the national report that we will present at the conference in Stockholm. For us, cooperation at the national, regional, and global level is equally important, because it is only in such a way that we can reach adequate solutions that are crucial for sustainable development”, the Minister of Environmental Protection, Irena Vujović, emphasized.
"Serbia is selected as one of 59 countries where the Swedish Government supports consultative processes running up to the meeting in Stockholm in June! The national consultation is an important occasion for dialogue between Serbian stakeholder on key priorities for environmental action. The conclusions will also be brought to the Stockholm+50 meeting in June. I am very happy to see the strong and growing environmental engagement in Serbian society, this is also happening in Europe and globally ", declared H.E. Annika Ben David, Ambassador of Sweden to Serbia.
"It is worrying to see that even after 50 years, the world has not yet made enough progress to protect the environment and prevent climate change", stated Francine Pickup, UNDP Serbia Resident Representative, adding: "These national consultations help address key environmental challenges, as well as what Serbia needs to do to reduce environmental pollution, preserve biodiversity, and adequately respond to the challenges of climate change. This is why we gather representatives of all segments of society, including young people, so that everyone is equally involved in making recommendations", said Pickup.
As part of today's consultations, three dialogues have been held with the focus was on: protection of biodiversity and natural ecosystems, adequate response to climate change, green transformation of the economy as a way to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as activities that must be carried out so that the protection of the natural environment is included in all sectoral policies in contributing to achieving sustainable development at the national and local levels.
The online digital platform SparkBlue was also presented at the event. It enables all interested parties to be actively involved in the process of national consultations in order to contribute, engage in the dialogue, and monitor the results realized in the form of recommendations for further steps in improving the environment in Serbia.
The next two dialogues within the National Consultations will focus on the connection between the environment and public health and the role of young people in protecting the environment.
The conference "Stockholm + 50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all - our responsibility, our opportunity" will be held on June 2 and 3, 2022 in the capital of Sweden. In addition to marking the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the event aims to accelerate the implementation of activities that contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the “green” post-COVID-19 recovery.
The consultations are being held in the period during which Cluster 4 negotiations are open for Serbia, within the process of joining the European Union, and at a time of increased global uncertainty regarding the energy supply.
With the support of the Government of Sweden, UNDP is organizing national consultations in 59 countries around the world, including in Serbia, as part of preparatory activities for the conference in Stockholm. Based on the key findings and recommendations of the National Consultations, UNDP will support the preparation of a national report to be presented by the Serbian delegation at the global conference in Stockholm.