A new beginning

May 29, 2013

EMC project draws to a close with the establishment of lasting partnerships

CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION: More than 200 people attended the EMC final conference in Belgrade. Photos: REC Serbia

The Regional Environmental Center is celebrating the success of the project "Setting up the Environmental Management Center (EMC) in Serbia", which concluded with a series of meetings held at the Sava congress centre in Belgrade. The central event was the Reporting for Sustainability VI conference, which drew more than 200 participants from business, political, public and academic communities.

The EMC project was implemented by the REC with funds totalling EUR 2.6 million provided by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Serbian Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) as contractor and main beneficiary. The aim of the project, according to the official EMC website, was to "increase the capacities of SEPA, industry, public utilities and government authorities through the development of EMC organisational infrastructure and software support with implemented models of emissions monitoring and reporting towards national institutions and the EU."

INDELIBLE INK: Serbian Minister Mihajlovic (left) and REC Executive Director Szigeti Bonifert sign the MoU.

Early in the conference proceedings, Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia Zorana Mihajlovic reviewed EMC project results since 2010 and applauded the project's successful implementation. Norway Ambassador to Serbia Nils Ragnar Kamsvag expressed confidence that the EMC project "will ensure successful reporting to the EU in the future."

Despite the project's coming to an official close, the EMC in Serbia will remain a "powerful tool for overcoming various challenges of environmental protection," said SEPA director Filip Radovic during the morning session. "The EMC will remain an integral part of our agency."

REC Executive Director Marta Szigeti Bonifert hailed the project team, thanked Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its generous financial support, and noted that the conference was "not a final event, but a new beginning."

In addition to the final conference there was an ambassadorial conference and the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and the REC. Minister Mihajlovic and REC Executive Director Szigeti Bonifert were the signatories. The parties agreed to "jointly identify priority areas for strengthening Serbian environmental reporting [...], to exchange background documents needed for project proposals [...] and to join forces for identifying best available financial mechanisms for supporting proposed activities."

CLEAR EXAMPLES: The EMC project should have long-term positive environmental impacts.

A separate agreement was also reached between SEPA, REC Serbia and Emisoft AS, the company which developed the TEAMS software for environmental accounting and management. The three signatories were SEPA director Radovic, Emisoft CEO Siren Berge, and REC Serbia director Jovan Pavlovic. "We will continue to cooperate with project partners, and will assure regular updating of our software system," said Berge.

Overall activities and results of the EMC project are described in TEAMS success: Setting up the Environmental Management Center in Serbia, a publication that can be downloaded in PDF format from the REC website.