Talking points by Francoise Jacob, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, on the occasion of the National Urban Forum held in Belgrade.
Poštovani ministre Momiroviću, poštovana gospođo Ivanović, gospodine Tarbuk, Madame Shipra Narang Suri, kolege.
Mnogo mi je drago što sam danas, zajedno sa vama, na prvom Nacionalnom urbanom forumu u Srbiji, koji organizuju Vlada Srbije i UN Habitat, uoči 11. Svetskog urbanističkog foruma.
Preporuke sa ovog skupa biće ključne za oblikovanje održive urbane agende u Srbiji ,i biće smernice za novu vladu koja će voditi održivi razvoj zemlje u naredne četiri godine.
Sada ću govoriti engleski, inače će moj govor oduzeti previše vremena. I will share 6 points
I want to acknowledge the strong commitment of 3 key stakeholders to achieve sustainable urban development, present here today:
The government of Serbia, and more specifically the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure.
The local self-governments, as key enablers for developing practical solutions to turn the national strategy into a reality for a diverse population. We must support mutual learning among LSGs within the region and between these and those in the EU MS.
The civil society and the academia, very present today, as a partner committed to making cities better and safer places, by providing many services, spatial, architectural and social innovations for the benefit of all, within the grounding principles of sustainable development, equity and non-discrimination.
My second point is on the necessity to anchor the sustainable urban agenda within the greater Green Transformation Agenda, where we can address pollution, accelerate energy transition and energy efficiency, adjust mobility & transport strategies and infrastructure, adapt housing and construction policies towards zero emissions, and provide a safe and healthy environment for all.
My third point is on financing sustainable urban development: this should be a critical part of the strategy. It involves a mix of public and private investments and a mix of revenue sources, including carbon taxing. The EU Green Action Plan is one such tool and foresees an important role for local self-governments, with specific actions towards protecting the environment and addressing climate change. I hope there will be some concrete recommendations on this topic, along with sharing good practice for setting investment priorities, improving public procurement and accountability, using regulations and bylaws effectively.
Another important element of discussion is how to address spatial inequalities between and within the urban network of cities in Serbia. Just to give an example, Belgrade represents 32% of the population of Serbia, and about 40% of GDP. The extreme population concentration in Belgrade leads to unplanned construction, increased traffic jams and pollution. On the other hand, public infrastructures in small towns become nonviable due to the declining population. So how do we prioritise investments towards a more balanced repartition of wealth across the country?
One stakeholder that is key for sustainable urban development is the Private Sector. The private sector provides the jobs, builds infrastructure, use resources and services. The private sector is one of the foundations of the social and economic fabric of cities, it is an essential partner to co-create and share the governance of urban space. The private sector needs to take part to public debates and to policy development. It needs to be accountable for its contribution to sustainable urban development, including in the development or application of smart business solutions to reduce carbon emissions, building of climate proof private and public infrastructure, and developing non discriminating digital solutions.
Finally, I want to briefly mention the role of citizens in shaping the urban agenda. We need to support ways of engaging with the urban population in a meaningful way, to shape the future and get the buy-in for long term changes. Public consultation, public communication is becoming key to harness the energy of everyone towards a real transformation.
The United Nations operates under Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals. Our urban actions include initiatives to foster the green transformation and nature-based solutions, to fight pollution, to expand good practices for spatial planning, disaster risk reduction and sustainable housing for the vulnerable. We work on governance and infrastructure models that consider gender, youth, persons with disability, migrants and refugees in urban contexts. During the Forum my colleagues from UN Habitat, UNDP, UNDRR and UNOPS will further share their reach experience and contributions towards urban sustainability.
Želim svima uspešan dijalog i radujem se finalnim preporukama koje će prosteći sa foruma. Hvala, Merci!