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On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, the national consultations Stockholm+50 in Serbia were organized as the first step before the international meeting “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity” organized by the Government of Sweden in June 2 and 3,  2022, with the support of the Government of Kenya and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The reason for holding the international meeting and accompanying events is the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Environment, which was held in Stockholm in 1972.

The aim of these consultations was to enable various stakeholders and entities to participate in the discussion, and thus strategic planning in the field of environmental protection in accordance with the principles of intersectoral cooperation and focus on including environmental aspects in the development of all other strategic and policy frameworks.

In the introductory address, the following speakers participated:

Irena Vujović, Minister of Environmental Protection, she pointed out that Serbia is committed to fulfilling the global goals of sustainable development and that environmental protection is among Serbia’s priorities. She stated that in the period from 2014, 23 laws and 200 bylaws were adopted, while the budget is growing from year to year, so this year it is 20% higher than last year. Also pointed out the importance of adopting strategic documents and the necessity of cooperation, since the participation of all is important.

H.E. Annika Ben David, Ambassador of Sweden, pointed out that the national consultations are an important opportunity for dialogue between various actors in Serbian society on the key priorities of the action for the environment. She pointed out the importance of joint action and commitment, and that the green transition must be transparent, open and inclusive. Sweden supports investments at the local level. It is encouraging that the citizens of Serbia are more and more interested in environmental protection and more and more willing to actively engage in this area.

Francine Pickup, a permanent representative of the United Nations Development Program, said that this event is a consultative process and emphasizes that solutions are not possible without urgent action. She says it is clear that there is an environmental crisis and that climate change is affecting everyone. Climate change is a threat to humanity, so we need a global vision to solve this problem. She pointed out the need to discuss issues such as biodiversity protection, the impact on global health, but also the impact of climate change on young people.

Slavica Đukić Dejanović, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, pointed out that there is a need to create a new paradigm that should take into account both the national context and the commitments made. She pointed out the importance of including environmental policy in all sectors of society, the need to reduce poverty and the fact that the goals of sustainable development are interrelated. She says that the research on the perception of citizens’ awareness of the goals of sustainable development indicates that every sixth respondent did not know what sustainable development is, while 92% of them say that there is a lot of talk about this topic, and very little work.

Within the National Consultations, 3 dialogues were held: the urgent need for action to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity for all, achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and global security crisis, and accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the Decade of Action. As part of Dialogue 3, one of the panelists was Sonja Licht, President of the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society. The key conclusions are that we need to include everyone and everywhere and understand how urgent it is, that we need cooperation and fulfilment of all previous obligations, productive communication, transparency of project results, stable funding system, public involvement, youth involvement, youth planning, planning and education , local level involvement, coordination and compromise.

The Sparkblue platform was also presented at the national consultations. The goal of the platform is to gather all interested participants who will have the opportunity to discuss and comment on all important aspects of sustainable development in Serbia in an online format.

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