Serbia's Response to Climate Change Requires Participation of the Entire Society
31 October 2022
Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27, a national dialogue on climate change was held in Serbia.
Belgrade, 31 October 2022 –The Ministry of Environmental Protection held a ‘Dialogue on Climate Change’ today. The goal of the Dialogue was to engage all relevant actors in the society in the activities that may help Serbia to adequately and timely respond to the challenges of climate change. The event was organised in partnership with the United Nations Team and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia.
Minister of Environmental Protection, Irena Vujović, reminded that Serbia has increased its climate ambition by three times within the recently adopted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
“By 2030, we plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33.3% compared to the level of emissions in 1990, in all relevant sectors,” said Vujović.
According to her, one of the most important topics at the upcoming COP27 climate conference is the increase in funding for climate change, so that more investments would be made globally to finance the climate adaptation projects.
“Serbia also needs to adapt to climate change at all levels, from citizens and local communities, all the way to the economy. We should build upon the momentum and achieve gradual transition to green and circular business models, in line with the Green Agenda to which we are fully committed. The precondition for this is to improve regulatory framework, the task which we are currently addressing at an increased pace. Upon the adoption of the Law on Climate Change, the Ministry is currently working on the adoption of a set of legislative acts in this field, as well as on the adoption of the Low-carbon Development Strategy and Climate Change Adaptation Programme. Our vision for Serbia is to create a low-carbon society with a competitive and resource-efficient economy. If we continue to work together, with the support of our partners, this is a goal that we can attain. This will improve the quality of life for our citizens and create a climate-resilient society,” emphasised Vujović.
“We face a double crisis – concerning both climate and energy, and the European Union is here to support Serbia in the concrete actions to overcome both these crises” highlighted H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of EU to the Republic of Serbia, and added: “As announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the EU will provide the direct budget support amounting to 165 million euros, to help Serbia in addressing the energy crisis. In parallel, the EU supports Serbia in increasing its energy efficiency in private and public buildings and increasing the share of renewable energy sources. We welcome the increased climate ambition of Serbia and call for adoption of long-term strategies for climate neutrality by the year 2050,” said Giaufret.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, Françoise Jacob highlighted that "Serbia has increased its targets to curve down carbon emissions by 2030 and 2050. While the legislation framework is now in place, it is essential to accelerate action and compliace on the ground, in municipalities, for and with citizens, with businesses, industries, trade and the agriculture sectors."
"On the very short term, while we address the energy crisis, we must prioritise energy, heating and cooling efficiency – this will help decrease carbon emission, decrease consumption of raw resources, increase country’s industry competitiveness, and address. Fighting climate change is the biggest emergency of our time, it must be at the center of the new government strategic plans and investment. This will unlock multiple opportunities for businesses, create benefits for the wellbeing of citizens, and rally the power and energy of the youth to build a new future in this country. The UN will continue to support the government in this endeavor, and will promote a just transition approach, designing solutions and policies that aim to leave no one behind", said Jacob.
Serbia has committed to the 33.3% decrease in the GHG emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In order to achieve this, as it has been said by the participants in the national dialogue, it is necessary to implement a number of activities, primarily by improving energy efficiency, replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy, as well as by transition to the circular model of economy. This would simultaneously contribute to the improved quality of air, water and soil, and improve the health and wellbeing of Serbian population. Furthermore, Serbian products and companies would become more competitive on the EU and global market.
Participants of the Dialogue have highlighted that the private sector may play a major role in this green transformation of the economy and society in Serbia, and that implementation of the EU Green Agenda for the Western Balkans could largely contribute to this transition.
It has been emphasised at the event that the just green transition for the benefit of all citizens of Serbia, requires additional funding, not only through donors’ initiatives, but also involving bank loans and using innovative financing models such as green bonds.
Another topic discussed has been the necessity of a timely climate change adaptation in order to protect human lives and prevent damage to property, infrastructure and economy. It has been announced that, by the end of this year, a draft of the first National Climate Change Adaptation Programme of Serbia is expected.
Within the Dialogue, the Digital Climate Atlas of Serbia was presented to the public. This online platform uses meteorological and geospatial data to provide insight into the current, observed and projected, future climate conditions for the entire territory of Serbia, as well as for particular municipalities and locations. These data are publicly available, and they enable better vulnerability assessment and planning of the climate change adaptation measures. The Digital Climate Atlas of Serbia is available at: https://atlas-klime.eko.gov.rs/.
Participants of the national Dialogue have been addressed, via a video message, by the Chief Negotiator of the Presidency for COP27 and Director of Environment and Sustainable Development at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Nasr. Furthermore, the Egyptian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Bassel Selah participated in the panel on international and European context of climate actions.
Representatives of the competent ministries in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the EU Delegation, UN agencies in Serbia, international financial institutions, as well as representatives of Serbian business sector, scientific community and the youth participated in the discussions on the climate actions that need to be implemented in order for Serbia to decrease the GHG emission and timely adapt to changing climate conditions.
The 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP27, will take place 6-18 November 2022, in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh. The main goal of this year’s climate summit is to accelerate the transition from negotiations and planning of climate actions to their implementation in practice, as well as to engage countries worldwide to commit to an additional decrease in the GHG emissions by the end of this decade.
Namely, according to the UN assessments, the decrease in the GHG emissions that the countries have committed to thus far, is not enough to stop the increase in global average temperature at 1.5°C. According to scientists, this is the threshold that humanity must not cross if it wants to avoid the worst-case climate scenario that would jeopardise the survival of life on Earth.
The Dialogue on Climate Change was organized with the support of the projects that UNDP implements in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia and in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, governments of Switzerland, Sweden and Japan, Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Faciality (GEF).