Initiative for a Just Green Transition and Decarbonization in Serbia

Japan contributes to implementing the Green Agenda in Serbia

Posted April 14, 2022

Belgrade, April 14, 2022 – A new initiative for a just green transition and the decarbonisation of the Serbian economy and its industry was presented today in the of Government Serbia. It will be implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the financial support of the Government of Japan and in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Mining and Energy. The aim of this initiative, amounting to 1,010,000 dollars, is to stimulate the process of decarbonization, which involves abandoning coal as the dominant source for energy production in Serbia, while taking into account that the price and benefits of this transition are evenly distributed across society.

The green transition can bring significant benefits to the environment and human health, the economy, and society as a whole, yet at the same time it will affect the industry, mining, and the evolution of the energy sector in Serbia. It is therefore essential that the green transition be both just and strategically planned in a timely manner, so that job losses can be minimized and economic security provided for the those living in the areas of the country that rely on these sectors.

“Japan has decided to contribute a total of approximately USD 42 million to 23 countries, including Serbia, to support the transition to a decarbonized society for the future of humanity. In addition to financial assistance, Japan will provide support in the form of knowledge and expertise. Specifically, through this initiative we want to ensure that the principles of just transition are defined and incorporated into efforts for green transformation and de-carbonization of the economy. At the same time, we will assist innovative business models and green technology investments in support of de-carbonization and green economy transformation", stated Takahiko Katsumata, Ambassador of Japan to Serbia.

"Since its formation, the current Government of Serbia has been committed to green issues and the fight against climate change, which means that environmental protection and energy can no longer be regarded separately. The initiative we presented today is important because it sends the message that we should not give up on the process of green energy transition, rather it should be strengthened and accelerated, because it is not a noose around the neck, but a way to overcome problems and a source of new national and energy power”, asserted Zorana Mihajlovic, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Mining and Energy.

She added that many countries have already made significant steps in this process, but that Serbia, which is at the beginning of this process, has shown that it too is an active player in this transition, as evidenced by the adoption of the Law on Climate Change prepared by the Ministry of Environment, as well as by a set of modern laws in the field of energy, including the first Law on Renewable Energy Sources and the new Law on Energy Efficiency and the Rational Use of Energy.

Assistant Minister of Environmental Protection Sandra Dokić pointed out that this initiative is of great importance for an efficient and just green transition for the economy and society as a whole in Serbia.

“We made a significant stride in March last year when the Law on Climate Change was adopted, which envisages the adoption of bylaws and strategic documents that will determine a clear direction of movement towards a low-carbon society. This transition must be just, which is why it is necessary to take care of each individual and to establish an open dialogue with everyone who will be directly or indirectly affected. On this path, as with every major systemic change, strong partnerships are truly meaningful, so that we can unite knowledge, involve all actors, and implement all the green policies and priorities of the Government of Serbia in the most advantageous way possible", stated Ms. Dokic, emphasizing the importance of the fact that this project, funded by the Government of Japan, is initiated simultaneously with the activities of the Ministry within the Green Agenda in Serbia project, funded by the European Union, which represents a backbone of the green transition.

"A just green transition is an integral part, and not a consequence of, the process of the decarbonization of the economy. With the support of the Government of Japan and in partnership with the Government of Serbia, UNDP will ensure that, in parallel with the green transformation of the Serbian economy and society, adequate support and a fair transition is secured for regions, sectors, and local communities economically dependent on the intensive use of fossil fuels - so that no one is left behind", said Francine Pickup, UNDP Serbia Resident Representative.

Within this new initiative, UNDP will support the Serbian government in drafting a plan for a just transition towards a low-carbon economy and will call on public and private companies to propose innovative solutions to decarbonize the economy and industry, as well as to reduce environmental pollution. In addition, support will be provided for the implementation of the best proposals in practice. 

In addition to representing a sustainable solution to the global energy crisis, the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, alongside energy efficiency, are necessary for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that negatively affect climate change and excacerbate global warming.

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Serbia has pledged to reduce GHG emissions, while the green transformation of the economy and society is an indispensable part of the country's accession to the European Union and a prerequisite for Serbian products to remain competitive in the EU, Serbia's main export market.

***

The project "Just Green Transition and Decarbonization in Serbia" is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Mining and Energy, with the financial support of the Government of Japan.