World Environment Day Marked

Belgrade, 5 June 2024 - Within the EU Green Week, the World Environment Day was marked today with an event in Belgrade featuring educational program, awards for ‘green’ innovations, the opening of two competitions and sailing to the Great War Island. The event was organized jointly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with support of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia. 

The celebration was officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environmental Protection, Irena Vujović. She stated that, by signing the Sofia Declaration in 2020, the Government of the Republic of Serbia unequivocally decided to protect the environment, which is still one of the main priorities of the government.

"Over the course of four years, a lot has been done in terms of improving the regulatory framework, as well as through investments in the field of waste management, wastewater and supporting the economy in the green transition. Cooperation with the companies is important in this area, because their ideas and solutions contribute to the process of green transformation, which is also important for citizens. The ministry that I lead also launched the national campaign 'Do not pollute, work with us!', to raise awareness of how important every small step is for improving the state of the environment," said Vujović.

“Through the Green Week, we want to create awareness, foster dialogue, promote collaborative solutions to address the challenges posed by water scarcity, pollution, and ecosystem degradation. The EU has the strongest and most complete environmental legislation in the world. A legislation that protects people, the economy and our resources. In Serbia, we invest in people’ skills and innovation, for a cleaner and better environment. Our projects help to purify water and support Serbia develop the right policies and legislation in the area of environmental protection”, said H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of European Union to Serbia. He invited everyone present to join other events within the EU Green Week, in order to learn more about these topics. 

This year, World Environment Day is dedicated to strengthening resilience to increasingly frequent droughts caused by climate change and the importance of preserving wetlands and biodiversity. On this occasion, successfully implemented initiatives for the restoration and strengthening of the ecosystem's resilience were presented by Antoine Avignon, the EU Delegation Program Manager for Environment and Climate Action. Among them, revitalization of meadow and steppe habitats for the preservation of biodiversity in Vršac Mountains and measures for early fire detection in the high-risk area of exceptional biological value Nature Monument "Lalinačka Slatina". In addition, with the support of Sweden within the project "EU for the Green Agenda", a Challenge Call for Innovations for Wetland Conservation in and around Protected Areas was launched. 

“This marks another milestone in Sweden’s continued support to environmental protection and our strong partnership with Serbia”, said Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Annika Ben David. She reminded that, as the lead donor to Serbia in the field of the environment, Sweden is dedicated to supporting our country in its efforts to combat climate change, protect natural resources, and promote green growth.  “Additionally, Sweden fully supports Serbia’s journey towards EU membership, recognizing that a sustainable and environmentally conscious approach is vital for a prosperous future within the European Union. Together, we are building a cleaner, greener future for the next generation”, added Ben David.

Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia H.E. Urs Schmid said that climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity are major challenges of our generation, which impair or impede basic human rights, such as the right to life, health, food, water or adequate housing. He highlighted that Switzerland is committed to securing a healthy environment, that is prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. “Swiss experience regarding climate change mitigation and environmental protection shows that acting now and preventively is much cheaper than repairing the damage later. Green transition certainly comes with a price but with the right incentives it produces sizable savings and triggers the development of innovative industries and new jobs,” stated Schmidt. 

Recognitions were presented to the authors of innovations that particularly contributed to the implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia in the recent period. Among them are solutions for: the production of biogas and electricity from organic waste, the use of geothermal water for heating, innovative afforestation to protect against erosion, improving the protection of rare owl species, innovative production of animal feed without the use of land.

"In the last two years alone, within this initiative, we have helped 54 innovative green solutions become reality. Their implementation already contributes to the reduction of harmful gas emissions, acceleration of the circular economy and improvement of air quality, and thus sustainable economic development. I invite private and public companies, local governments, civil society organizations and academia to apply to our innovation challenge calls, to protect the environment and accelerate the green transition of the Serbian economy and society," said Yakup Beris, UNDP Serbia Resident Representative. 

The Faculty of Dramatic Arts also joined the celebration of the Environment Day. They showed a film about the biodiversity in the wetland of Beljarica and opened a competition for "green" film and photography for art students.

Also, on the occasion of the European Green Week, and within the national campaign “Do not pollute, work with us”, a photo exhibition of 29 new green ideas, projects and innovations supported through green transformation initiatives implemented by UNDP was opened at the Sava Promenade in Kalemegdan. The exhibition will last until June 18.

This event is organized within the project "EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia", which with the technical and financial support of the European Union and in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, is implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and the European Investment Bank (EIB), with additional funds provided by the governments of Sweden, Switzerland and Serbia.

Last updated: July 18, 2024, 11:52