The Environmental Protection Strategy is one of the most important documents for sustainable development of the Republic of Serbia. It represents a comprehensive umbrella framework in the field of environmental protection, which all other strategic and planning documents should be harmonized with. It will define the directions of environmental development in accordance with the five pillars of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.
The process of developing this Strategy has been coordinated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and despite some previous announcements, the creation of the final draft and the adoption of the Strategy did not take place in 2023..
In order to ensure the highest possible transparency of the process and inclusion of the representatives of civil society organizations, the Belgrade Open School, together with the Young Researchers of Serbia and the Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute, organized an intensive consultative process with civil society organizations. The consultative meetings presented an opportunity for the organizations to share their insights and provide contributions in the early stages of drafting the Environmental Protection Strategy and the Action Plan for its implementation.
The priorities and goals of the Strategy, as well as the indicators and measures were discussed during the previous cycle in spring and summer this year, while the primary focus of the meeting held on 20th December 2023, was on the first draft of the Strategy, as well as the Action Plan, that the Working Group drafted in the meantime. After this consultative meeting, specific proposals and formulations were forwarded to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
One of the most important conclusions of the meeting was that, even after the inclusion of comments into the document, there was still significant room for improvement of the first version of the Draft Strategy. It was also noted that the budget funds allocated to fulfill the stated goals are insufficient. When it comes to the data on the state of the environment, they are still not sufficiently accessible and transparent, so the Strategy should be seen as an opportunity to improve this vital segment. In addition, it is still necessary to build a stronger connection with civil society organizations and all other societal actors, since the achievement of the set goals requires active and comprehensive intersectoral cooperation.
At the Working Group meeting, it was announced that further steps will be taken in 2024. The first draft of the document will be published on the E-consultation website in February, and wider consultations with the interested public will follow its publication.
The event was organized with the support of the governments of Switzerland and Germany, within the “SDGs for All” Platform implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, European Union, and the British Embassy in Belgrade.