Opportunities to increase sustainable investments in Serbia presented at EXPO 2020 Dubai

Posted March 21, 2022

Participants of the Forum "Sustainable Investment - a step towards fostering economic growth and advancing the post-crisis recovery"

Dubai, UAE, March 21, 2022 - Investment Forum entitled "Sustainable Investment - a step towards fostering economic growth and advancing the post-crisis recovery" was held today, in the Pavilion of the Republic of Serbia at the World EXPO 2020 Dubai. The Forum was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Development Agency of Serbia.

The Forum brought together participants from the private and public sector, government officials, international experts, as well as a large number of companies from Serbia and other European and Asian countries, to encourage the exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices, and promote opportunities for sustainable investments in Serbia.

The Forum began with a discussion on the challenges of achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs, which represent a global strategic framework for poverty reduction, fostering sustainable economic growth and creating equal opportunities for all people to prosper, while conserving natural resources of the planet.

UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, Francine Pickup, opened the Forum by pointing out that the COVID-19 pandemic and the socio-economic crisis that followed widened the gap between the necessary and the available funds for achieving the SDGs, which is especially visible in developing countries. Ms. Pickup added that this is why greater investments of financial institutions and investors from the private sector are needed, as well as harmonization of their business with global standards of environmental protection, social responsibility and conscientious corporate governance.

 "In partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, UNDP supports the improvement of the overall investment climate in Serbia with the aim of attracting and retaining foreign investments that contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country.I believe that this Forum will lead to new partnerships that will improve the level of sustainable investments in the Serbian economy", Pickup underlined.

Slavica Đukić Dejanović, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia for the 2030 Agenda, stated that according to the 2021 Report on Progress in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Serbia has made slight progress and is in a solid 34th place.

"It is completely clear that joint investments of the public and private sector are needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda," Đukić Dejanović confirmed. "With its strategic position, commitment to stability and building strong ties with all key economic partners, as well as a favourable business environment and investment climate, Serbia has all the prerequisites to encourage companies to invest in business that will have a positive impact not only on the economy and local community, but also on the sustainable development of the entire society.“

A large number of sustainable businesses which already operate in Serbia presented themselves at the Forum. Representatives of producers in the field of renewable energy and efficient water management, such as Balkan Wind farms, BGS Alfa, Metito and others, spoke about their experiences and the impact of their investments on the local community. The participants of the Forum also got acquainted with the projects of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure and the City of Belgrade in the field of urban infrastructure development, as well as with innovative solutions of Serbian scientists for improving air quality in urban areas and sustainable food production that were implemented with support of UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The 5th Serbia investment conference was also a part of the Sustainable Investment Promotion (SIP) Forum, organized by the Development Agency of Serbia and the Serbia Expo team.

The conference provided an overview of the investment potentials and opportunities when it comes to renewable energy projects. Representatives of the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia presented to the investors the energy sector with a focus on renewable energy sources, the legal framework and investment opportunities in the sector.

Nemanja Jevtović, Investment Advisor at Development Agency of Serbia, pointed out that in 2020 the gross final energy consumption from renewable sources in Serbia exceeded the average gross consumption of the European Union, and that Serbia is oriented towards further improvement and increasing energy capacities.

"The gross energy consumption average used from the renewable sources in the European Union in 2020 is at the level of 22.1%, while in Serbia it is 26.3%. Although this is an impressive result, it is also a signal and motivation to invest more in projects that will enable sustainable energy production. Today's investment conference is an excellent occasion to present potential investors with all possibilities for investing in this area", said Jevtović.

The conference also presented the opportunities for investments in solar energy, wind farms, biogas and geothermal projects, as well as potential for investments in waste disposal and landfill in Serbia.

The Forum "Sustainable Investment - a step towards stimulating economic growth and progress in the post-pandemic period" is one of the activities within the project "Promotion of Sustainable Investment", implemented by the United Nations Development Program in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.