Belgrade, 1 February 2024 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia held a workshop in Belgrade on issuing corporate thematic bonds in the Republic of Serbia. The workshop was attended by more than 80 representatives of companies and banks, either in person or online.
The workshop was opened by Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Serbia, who emphasised the importance of involving private sector into the realisation of sustainable development goals (SDGs). “Realisation of SDGs is indeed possible, providing that their financing involves in part private funding, in addition to public finances. There is a basis for this, since sustainable development is beneficial for both business and society,” he said.
“To develop the market of capital in Serbia is a priority, as more than 95% of financing in Serbia is operated through banks. Corporate thematic bonds are among the instruments that will make it more varied,” said Ognjen Popović of the Ministry of Finance. In order for this market to come to life, the Ministry of Finance has started a support programme this year for the companies interested in issuing corporate thematic bonds. Through this programme, the Ministry would finance all the expenses of issuing these bonds instead of the companies and offer them legal support throughout the process. These bonds would enable companies to get affordable loans, while they would also favourably affect their reputation.
Matt Diepenbroek, an expert of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), explained at the workshop what corporate thematic bonds are, as well as their common types and advantages and the process of their issuance. The workshop was further focused on green bonds: market, legislation and role.
Green bonds are used for investing in the companies or projects that contribute to the preservation of environment, adaptation to climate change and alleviation of its impact.
In 2021, the Government of the Republic of Serbia issued the first state green bond amounting to EUR 1 billion on the global market, after adopting the Framework Document for the Issuance of Green Bonds. According to this document, the income made from green bonds shall be used to accelerate implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia, by investing in traffic network, sewage system, waste and wastewater management, protection from floods, preservation of biodiversity, decreasing pollution, energy efficiency and transition to renewable sources of energy. The seven-year bonds that mature on 23 September 2028, have the return rate of 1% per annum.
The corporate thematic bonds workshop was organised within the “EU for Green Agenda in Serbia” project, implemented by the UNDP with the technical and financial support by the European Union, in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and the European Investment Bank (EIB), where additional funding has been provided by the governments of Sweden, Switzerland and Serbia.