Initiative for better protection of wetlands in Serbia launched

March 7, 2023
UNDP Serbia


Belgrade, 7 March, 2023 – Within the project “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia”, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented today a new initiative that aims to improve the protection of wetlands in Serbia and preserve their flora and fauna. The initiative is supported by the Government of Sweden.

“The protection of biodiversity is a question of survival, our society is depending on biodiversity in so many ways,“ said the Ambassador of Sweden to Serbia, H.E. Annika Ben David, and added: “The support to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the initiative EU for Green Agenda in Serbia aims to strengthen the protection and increase the investments in biodiversity the coming years. There is also strong need to build a broad and participatory stakeholder dialogue on this important topic.“

Wetlands, such as swamps and peatlands, act as natural flood protection and filters for various types of pollution. They also help mitigate climate change by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, due to activities such as agriculture, urbanization and overexploitation of resources, they are endangered.

The new initiative for the preservation of these precious natural ecosystems is part of the wider support for the acceleration of the green transition of the economy and society in Serbia, in accordance with the EU Green Agenda. Nikola Bertolini, head of the Cooperation Department of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Serbia, reminded that the platform “EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia” was launched together with Team Europe in 2022, in order to implement the principles of the Green Agenda and added:

“Clearly, green transition requires further joint efforts, in Serbia and worldwide. It is my great pleasure to be here with you today and to welcome further Sweden support to the Green Agenda in Serbia. I am particularly delighted that based on the EU's initiative, valuable partners have joined and embraced the green agenda: thanks to Switzerland, Sweden and Serbia for committing additional funding to this remarkable platform, where the European Investment Bank is also called to play a major role.”

On this occasion, the new global Convention for the Preservation of Biodiversity - Kunming-Montreal, which was adopted at the 15th UN Conference on Biological Diversity in December 2022, was presented, and it was indicated how the Government of Serbia will harmonize nature protection with this agreement.

"For the Ministry of Environmental Protection, one of the priorities is the implementation of the Declaration from Sofia on the Green Agenda. Currently, intensive work is being done on the National Environmental Protection Strategy. Also, the Ministry has increased investments for protected areas in 2023 to 355 million dinars, which is all an indication that the protection of nature and biodiversity are priority areas for us,'' said Sara Pavkov, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

She reminded that Serbia, as a member country of the Ramsar Convention, declared eleven wetlands of international importance, the last of which was the Đerdap area in 2020, and pointed out that the Ecosystem Restoration Decade 2021-2030 is an opportunity to preserve and restore these ecosystems, which are both vital for the life of people, and extremely sensitive to human influence.

"In order to help Serbia preserve and protect its wetlands, we will provide support for the improvement of the legislative framework and the knowledge of experts in the field of nature protection, as well as for the application of innovative solutions and the development of sustainable financing mechanisms for the restoration of biodiversity," said Anas Qarman, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.

To give all interested actors the opportunity to be engaged in a dialogue on this topic, a panel discussion on the preservation of biodiversity and natural habitats was also held today. Representatives of the Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia, Young Researchers of Serbia, the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Development Programme participated in the panel.

This event was organized within the initiative „Protecting and investing in biodiversity and water for enhanced climate resilience”, under the auspices of the project "EU for Green Agenda in Serbia", implemented with the technical and financial support of the European Union and in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, by UNDP, in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and the European Investment Bank (EIB), with additional funding from the Governments of Sweden, Switzerland and Serbia


UNDP Serbia