A society-wide dialogue Platform “SDGs for All” held its third annual conference under the title The 2030 Agenda in the Focus: Serbia’s Sustainable Development Path, on November 15th at the Mona Plaza Hotel in Belgrade. The conference presented key achievements of the dialogue, challenges faced by the Platform, and ways to further align Serbia’s development policies with the goals and principles of sustainable development. Through discussions involving relevant stakeholders and decision-makers at the national and local levels, the conference identified the best directions and models for aligning Serbia’s development priorities with the 2030 Agenda goals for its continued path towards sustainability.
“At today’s conference, we highlighted the key goals and imperatives of our country’s sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda provides clear guidelines, encompassing 17 sustainable development goals, and our commitment to these global goals is reflected through inclusive growth, preservation of natural resources, and care for all citizens,” stated Ivana Vukašinović, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technological Development, and Innovation, who opened the conference. She emphasized that science is crucial in achieving these goals by providing innovations and solutions to complex challenges: “Through the joint efforts of researchers, policy makers and the private sector, we want to actively shape a sustainable future, and today’s panel discussions explore the effective use of scientific achievements, which are a necessary tool for achieving the sustainable development goals.”
Over the past year, the Platform has initiated significant advocacy initiatives at the national level across all three pillars, involved 20 municipalities in its activities through inter-municipal exchanges and collaboration, and published its third Monitoring Report, comprehensively and independently monitoring the implementation of sustainable development goals.
“The recent decision of the Government of Serbia to start developing the Development Plan of the Republic of Serbia is a significant step forward, and we sincerely support it. This document is expected to shape the development orientation of Serbia. Simultaneously, it is an exceptional opportunity to more fully integrate the 2030 Agenda, which Serbia signed in 2015, into the strategic framework of the Republic of Serbia. As it is comprehensive in nature, the Development Plan offers the opportunity to systematically integrate the most relevant sustainable development goals, reflecting the needs and priorities of Serbian society and the economy as a whole,” stated Melina Papageorgiu, Head of the Good Governance Department at the Embassy of Switzerland in Serbia.
Milena Altmeyer, the project leader of “Public Finance Reform – Agenda 2030” Project, implemented by the German agency for international cooperation GIZ, highlighted that the “SDGs for ALL” Platform has taken significant steps in aligning development policies with sustainable development goals over the years, engaging and connecting civil society and all interested stakeholders, including decision-makers at both national and local levels. She also emphasized the important role of the corporate sector in adopting responsible practices and advocating for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues on the path to sustainable development. She concluded that the success of the Platform’s efforts requires a strong democratic system that supports social activism and affirms the diverse needs and aspirations of society, vital for inclusive public debate on sustainable development.
The Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, one of seven domestic civil society organizations, has been involved for three years in the broad social dialogue on Agenda 2030 and sustainable development goals, thanks to the support of the governments of Switzerland and Germany, as well as GIZ. The foundation aims to promote these goals at various levels throughout Serbia.
“The year 2030 is approaching, and we have many challenges to overcome. As a foundation, we are fully committed to reducing poverty, working to support education, economic empowerment of women and vulnerable groups, and reducing inequality. That’s why we became part of the Platform because only through synergy and collaboration can we achieve some of the set goals. It is important to bring the concept of sustainable development goals closer to citizens, or to show how it contributes to improving life in communities,” said Ana Košel, director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, who leads the Platform’s Social Pillar.
Representatives from the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Ministry of European Integration, the Republic Secretariat for Public Policy, the National Statistical Office, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, regional development agencies, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SKGO), the Swiss Embassy, GIZ, UNDP, the National Convention on the European Union, and companies Coca-Cola HBC and Delta Holding also attended the conference and took an active part at various panels.