Circular economy and the environment - development opportunity for cities in Serbia

The second session of Business Friendly Club of cities and municipalities in 2021 was held on Wednesday, 29 September in Science-Technology Park in Niš.

The first working meeting of the Club following the founding session in June was the Mayor of Niš and the Club President Dragana Sotirovski. In the presence of Milan Ranđelović, Director of Science-Technology Park and NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović, in her opening speech, Sotirovski stressed the importance of strategic approach to problems and of raising awareness about environment protection, discussing practical issues faced by the Club members on the local level, and further sustainable development directions that should focus more on circular economy. Mrs. Jovanović encouraged all Club members to step forward with their local problems, stressing that NALED is their home and a place of public-private dialogue, also indicating that the session goal is to learn about the support the local governments need in order to be more successful. With regards to the meeting's central topic, Jovanović said that the Nordic region has some original solutions in the field of circular economy, environment protection and waste management, that we strive to implement in Serbia as well. 

Special guests at the session involved Assistant Minister of Environment Protection Sandra Dokić and the Head of Environment, Transport, Energy and Agriculture in EU Delegation Sakellaris Hourdas, who talked with mayors about local government development potentials in the field of environment, and presented EU and Serbia's vision, goals and priorities, as well as the financing models and institutional support to local development projects in this field. 

Representatives of the leading cities and municipalities in Serbia also discussed the strategic goals and priorities in the future work of BFC Club, indicating legal property issues including legalization, land conversion and consolidation, as the key priorities alongside the environment. In the future, the Club will also actively work on developing eGovernment services, strengthening the role of Local Economic Development Offices in their local governments, and improving the criteria of BFC SEE standard as part of the upcoming revision and adoption of the standard's 4th version.

After the session, all attendees had the opportunity to tour the Science-Technology Park, talk with its beneficiaries and learn about the features offered by this concept. Ranđelović stressed hope that other cities will also see a development opportunity in such facilities, expressing willingness to help and support potential realization of this idea.

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