At the event held on 30th of August in Envoy Congress Center in Belgrade, local civil society organizations announced the launch of four initiatives for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the areas of health and environmental protection in Bor, Požega, Sombor, Knajzevac and Pirot. Financial support to four initiatives, that will be implemented in the following period of one year, was provided by the Fund for Sustainable Local Development, supported by the Swiss and German Development Cooperation and implemented by GIZ within the project “Public Finance Reform/ 2030 Agenda”.

“Knjazevac has a new transfer station with a recycling yard, however, citizens were not provided with conditions for primary waste selection nearby their homes. That was the reason why activities within our project “Clean environment – Health people” will be dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of the primary selection of recyclable waste at the place of origin” said Snežana Pavkovic from Timok club, Knjazevac.  Ms. Pavković added that four recycling islands and eight smaller containers for the selection of recyclable waste will be installed in Knjazevac, close to schools. “In Pirot focus of activities within our initiative, that we will implement in cooperation with our partners’ organization Pirgos from Pirot, will be dedicated to the development of local policies for public health”, concluded Ms. Pavkovic.

“Within our project “Citizens and local self-government together towards Sustainable Development Goals” we will investigate attitudes of our citizens and relevant experts on the most important challenges related to environmental protection that our city is facing and based on results we will develop a Local Action Plan for environmental protection for the City of Sombor” explained Srdjan Vlaškalic from Sombor Educational Center. This educational center, together with the Citizens Association for Social Protection GASI from Pozega, will also work on the development of an Action plan for public health of the Municipality of Pozega with a special focus on overcoming the consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Activities within the initiative “Sustainable is better” in Bor that will be implemented by the Association of Young Researcher Bor, aim to raise ecological awareness and knowledge of kids, youth and citizens. While the project “The first step towards a clean and resilient local community”, that will be implemented in Sombor by Foundation Grammar School “Veljko Petrovic”, will consider a model for recycling aluminum cans and bottle tops within the territory of the City of Sombor and will work on raising awareness of different community members on the importance of systematic recycling of waste materials.

The topic of the call, which was announced by the Fund for Sustainable Local Development to local civil society organizations in April this year, was based on results of the report “Serbia 2030: Development priorities – report by non-state sector” published by civil society organizations, gathered around the Platform “SDGs for all”.

“Based on official and relevant data this report states that only 35% of total waste generated in Serbia, except mineral waste, are recycled. That is less than any country in European Union and significantly less of the EU average, which is 75%. Moreover, Serbia has only 10 functional hygienic landfills, while the number of illegal landfills is estimated to be around three thousand. At the same time, 6,5% of the citizens declared to have unmet health needs, which is almost three times higher than average values in the EU. All this has a direct impact on the health and quality of life of the Serbian citizens.” said Ms. Milena Altmeyer, the project leader of the “Public Finance Reform / 2030 Agenda“ at the opening of this event. Ms. Altmeyer explained that this was the main reason why one of the requirements, highlighted in the call within the Fund, was that proposed initiatives should cover at least two of four priority areas of sustainable development defined by this report: healthy life and healthcare available to all, clean and resilient local communities, accountable and efficient use of natural resources and preservation of natural and cultural heritage.

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