The seventh dialogue on just green transition in Serbia

March 26, 2024
UNDP Serbia

Belgrade, March 26, 2024 - With the support of the Government of Japan, and in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held a seventh dialog on how the green transition of the economy in Serbia can be carried out strategically and fairly, considering the needs of the sectors and regions that depend on the intensive use of fossil fuels.

Innovations for a just green transition, implemented throughout Serbia by the companies from the private and public sector thanks to the financial support of the Government of Japan, were presented at the event. Thanks to these innovative solutions, 83 green jobs have been created, while the CO2 emissions will be reduced by 28.200 tons annually.

„Japan has supported efforts to ensure energy security and combat energy poverty caused by the current energy crisis, which threatens the human security of the most vulnerable. At the same time, the project has supported technologies and innovative business models that diversify the electricity generation mix and reduce the energy intensity of the economy. Today marks the conclusion of the dialogue that has been building up towards a just green transition and energy poverty in Serbia since May last year. However, this does not mean our effort ends today. Japan will continue to work towards building an eco-friendly, sustainable, and bright society, with Japanese technology and knowledge, in cooperation with Serbia, the regions and international organizations”, said Tetsuya Tsubota, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan in Serbia.

Representatives of ministries responsible for energy, environmental protection, as well as representatives of employers, workers' unions, civil society, and international organizations participated in the dialogue.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Sandra Dokić, emphasized that the green transition must be fair and inclusive, and that its focus should be on vulnerable population, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the pillars of the Serbian economy.

„Innovative public and private sector projects that are co-financed through this project are successful examples of decarbonization of the economy and we are encouraged that this kind of initial support will motivate other companies to follow the same path and start more investments in the green transformation of Serbia. The Ministry of Environmental Protection will continue to help the economy in Serbia to become competitive in the long term not only on the European market, but also on a global level," added Dokić.

Participants highlighted the need for concrete steps towards the development of new economic opportunities, in order to provide timely alternatives to economic development in regions that rely on the mining and energy sector, as well as on the industries that use coal as a dominant source of energy. They emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate retraining and creating new jobs for workers in these sectors, cooperation of national and local authorities, as well as inclusion of unions and civil society organizations in this process.

Assistant Minister of Ministry of Mining and Energy, Jovana Joksimović, said that Serbia is determined to speed up the process of energy transition, but not at the expense of energy security.

„The strategic goal of the government is to achieve energy independence at the lowest price for citizens and the economy, as well as implementing a green energy transition while ensuring the stability of the energy system and security of supply. In the period until 2030, the main goals are to increase the share of renewable sources in the production of electricity to 45 percent, to reduce the emission of harmful gases by 40,4 percent compared to 1990, as well as a significant increase in energy efficiency", specified Joksimović.

She announced that in the coming period, the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate until 2030, with projections until 2050, as well as the new Energy Development Strategy until 2040 with projections until 2050, will be adopted.

"In the last 2 years, with the support of the Government of Japan, 20 companies have switched to renewable energy and started creating new raw materials from waste, which has brought them savings and made them more competitive in the European market, while improving the quality of environment. Also, some of these companies have retrained workers for green jobs and helped vulnerable households to make their homes warmer and more energy efficient. By providing timely support to those parts of the country that depend on coal use, we are helping to ensure that no one is left behind in the green transition process", said Žarko Petrović, UNDP Serbia Resilient Development team leader.

This National dialogue is part of a broader consultative process aimed at devising a comprehensive, socially just response to the challenges of energy transition and energy poverty in Serbia.

This event was organized within the project „Innovative and Just Green Transition as a Tool for Securing Systemic Energy Security and Reducing Energy Poverty“, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Mining and Energy, with the support of the Government of Japan.