A new dimension

December 1, 2013

Adoption of South East Europe 2020 Strategy introduces REC as regional coordinator for environment

SEE_EconOn November 21, 2013, the South East Europe (SEE) 2020 Strategy was adopted in Sarajevo at the Ministerial Conference of the South East Europe Investment Committee. The event brought together economy ministry representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as representatives of the European Commission and other regional and international partners and initiatives, international organisations and the donor community.

The strategy was developed by the RCC Secretariat in consultation with SEE governments, the European Commission and relevant regional and international institutions, following a mandate the region’s ministers of economy.

The goal of the SEE 2020 strategy is to improve living conditions in the region and to bring competitiveness and development back in focus, closely following the vision of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. It places special emphasis on: creating up to 1 million new jobs by 2020, allowing for employment growth in the region from 39% to 44%; more than doubling total regional trade turnover from EUR 94 billion to EUR 210 billion; lifting the region’s GDP per capita from the current 36% of the EU average to 44%; and the addition of 300,000 highly qualified people to the workforce.

The strategy pursues a holistic development pattern for the region and seeks to stimulate the key long-term drivers of growth within it through innovation, skills and trade integration. Like the Europe 2020 strategy, it is centred on a set of interlinked development pillars, namely.

  • ‘Integrated Growth’— promoting regional trade and investment linkages and policies that are non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable;
  • ‘Smart Growth’ – committing to innovate and compete with value-added costs rather than labour costs;
  • ‘Sustainable Growth’ – raising the level of private-sector competitiveness, infrastructure development and greener and more energy-efficient growth;
  • ‘Inclusive Growth – placing greater emphasis on skills development, employment creation and inclusive labour market participation, health and well-being;
  • ‘Governance for Growth – increasing the capacity of public administrations to strengthen the rule of law and reduce corruption in order to create a business-friendly environment and deliver public services necessary for economic development.

The ‘Sustainable Growth’ pillar of the SEE 2020 Strategy envisages some specific measures and interventions for each the following four dimensions: energy, transport, environment and competitiveness.

The ‘environment’ dimension foresees: an increase in adaptive capacity through awareness-raising and education on climate change adaptation; a twofold increase in the share of integrated agricultural land; increased annual volumes of forestation; advancements in the water, energy and food nexus; enhanced private sector involvement  in water infrastructure development and implementation of Regional Integral Water Management Framework Agreement.  All of this entails the transfer of knowledge and best practices, experimental showcase projects and awareness-raising in the fields of agriculture, forestry, water usage, energy usage for individual farmers, cooperatives, public and private companies and operators, local municipalities, community based organisations and associations and media.

National partners are ministries of environment, ministries of energy, ministries of the interior, ministries of health, ministries of agriculture and forestry, ministries of water, city and municipal authorities, and civil society. The REC will undertake regional coordination of the environment dimension in cooperation with other identified regional responsible structures and national partners.

Gordana Kozhuharova, Regional Director for SEE at the REC, emphasised at the Ministerial Conference of the South East Europe Investment Committee that the REC “is committed to the overall targets of the SEE 2020 Strategy and welcomes the opportunity to serve under its environment dimension in an effort to facilitate and stimulate sustainable growth in the region.”

The SEE 2020 Strategy measures are already reflected in REC work programmes and will be further emphasised in the future to accommodate the implementation plan with concrete actions.

More information: see2020.rcc.int