Participants gather in Belgrade to discuss climate-related challenges
On June 20, the Regional Group on Environment (RWG Env) met for the fifth time in Belgrade to discuss current environmental challenges and forward measures.
The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection co-chaired the meeting. The REC, as SEE 2020 Strategy Regional Coordinator for the Dimension of Environment, was represented by Gordana Kozhuharova, Advisor to the Deputy Director for Programme Implementation, and Ruza Radovic, Head of the Business Development Unit.
“Today’s meeting was one more step towards joining forces to achieve our common goals of protecting the environment, mitigating the negative anthropogenic impacts on climate change, and increasing our preparedness to face unavoidable future challenges within the framework of the SEE 2020 Strategy,” said Radovan Nikcevic, Connectivity Expert with the RCC, emphasising that this working group is an important steering mechanism for addressing environmental issues in the region.
“Our coordination activities thus far have resulted in two regional projects [one related to enhancing environmental performance and climate-proofing, and another having to do with the water-food-energy nexus] that are expected to bring numerous benefits for the region,” Nikcevic added.
Stana Bozovic, State Secretary from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, underlined South East Europe’s vulnerability to climate change, which will only increase over time.
“Floods, droughts and other extreme natural disasters will trigger and intensify economic loss,” Bozovic said. “The Paris Agreement offers a basis for reducing adverse effects, and ensures green and sustainable development for South East Europe, which makes regional cooperation crucial,” adding that governments and ministries in the region need to provide strong guidance and support.
“The RCC, through its efforts to streamline activities at the regional level and to ensure the economic growth and job creation while considering the environment, is a reliable partner and a guarantor of regional prosperity,” Bozovic continued. “I hope that our mutual effort will make the South East Europe region an example of stability, while offering valuable lessons learnt from the EU accession process.”
The meeting brought together representatives from: ministries in charge of environment from five Western Balkan countries; the three SEE 2020 Strategy Regional Dimension Coordinators (REC, GWP-Med, and the Standing Working Group on Regional Rural Development); and other partners, such as the Austrian Environment Agency and the Austrian Development Agency.