The summer that has just passed has shown us how much climate change affects Serbia and the rest of the world. From weather disasters and floods to wildfires and numerous days with temperatures exceeding 37°C – these are just some of the things we all experienced this summer. The consequences of climate change are felt more intensely every year; summer months are becoming drier, while the amount of precipitation in colder months has significantly increased. Climate change is influenced by various factors, with greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the energy and industry sectors playing a significant role.
In adapting to and mitigating climate change, reforms are necessary to increase the share of renewable energy sources, improve the energy efficiency of public and private buildings, and move away from coal and fossil fuels. These changes require long-term planning and financing, necessitating a clear plan of measures and activities to persevere in the fight against climate change.
Serbia’s obligations regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda are complementary to the obligations arising from the accession process to the European Union. This is evident from the European Commission’s (EC) Communication COM/2016/0739, in which the EC confirmed its intention to integrate the 2030 Agenda into its planning documents. Additionally, this communication was accompanied by the document “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future,” in which the 2030 Agenda holds a significant place in shaping EU legislation. The document represents a consensus among the European Parliament, European Commission, and Council of the EU on sustainable development in the EU, with the aim of forming a common framework for developing policies that should integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda itself contains key SDGs that should form the basis of all public policies, both globally and in Serbia. The Goals of the 2030 Agenda, including those related to energy and climate policy, with SDGs 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities, including air quality and waste management), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and 13 (Climate Action: Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and Its Impacts), should be part of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP).
The Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP) is a crucial instrument for energy and climate policy and a document that should outline the path to a just transition to carbon neutrality for each EU member state, as well as countries in the process of EU integration, including Serbia. This important strategic document is a way for Serbia to set its direction and define the energy transition process through five pillars: 1) decarbonization by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy sources, 2) energy efficiency, 3) energy security, 4) the internal energy market, and 5) research, innovation and competitiveness.
The drafting of INECP began more than two years ago and the complexity of this document required significant administrative and financial resources, a multidisciplinary approach, and coordination between several ministries. A public debate was held from June 12th to July 28th this year, allowing interested public and expert stakeholders to contribute their comments to the development process of this important document.
Although it would be extremely important in theory to explain the contribution of INECP to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, this is not evident in the document. Among other comments submitted by the Belgrade Open School to the Ministry of Mining and Energy, it is stated that INECP is a document transposed into our legislation based on the Energy Community Treaty, and therefore, the relevant SDGs and targets of the Agenda must be taken into account when creating this document. Additionally, in line with the commitments undertaken, there is a need to create the possibility to analyze the individual objectives of INECP from the perspective of the 2030 Agenda. Linking INECP with Sustainable Development Goals would significantly improve monitoring the implementation of this document. Therefore, Belgrade Open School will continue to advocate for the integration of SDGs into all strategic and planning documents in the Republic of Serbia.