Innovations reduce CO2 emissions and increase Serbia’s resilience to climate change
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) awarded today the most successful innovators who have put into practice the solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making Serbian towns and municipalities more resilient to climate change.
These solutions were implemented thanks to the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Serbia by 500,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of reforesting 145 football stadiums or planting 115,000 trees. The awards were given to 11 innovation teams from the public, private, civil and academic sectors, and six local self-governments.
The ceremony was officially opened by Ms. Sandra Dokić, Assistant Minister of Environmental Protection, and Mr. Miroslav Tadić, UNDP Team Leader for Environment and Climate Change.
“The awarded projects have shown that Serbia is rich in innovation, not only in the private and public sectors, but also in our scientific institutions and civil sector organizations (CSOs). These solutions are already showing a great impact in local communities,” said Ms. Dokić. “In addition, the Ministry has put a lot of effort into gathering data relevant to climate change from local self-governments and the private sector, and we will continue to work on this through our unified IT system. Only when we have accurate data can we plan our activities, allocate funds for their implementation, and monitor the impact of implemented measures.”
“Innovations whose implementation we have supported and which we are awarding today contribute to the protection of the environment and to the creation of new green jobs. In this way, we are helping Serbia mitigate the impact of climate change on its society and economy,” said Mr. Tadić.
The awards for Innovation Leaders were given to the Public Utility Company “Toplana-Šabac”, the companies Esotron, Jugo-impex E-reciklaža, Green Energy Point, Sanicula, Telefon – Inženjering and Global Sustainability Experts, the Institute “Mihajlo Pupin” and the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, the CSO National Association of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, and the City of Kraljevo.
The implementation of their solutions will increase the energy efficiency of district heating, increase the share of renewable energy sources (biomass, biogas and solar energy) in the overall energy mix, contribute to digitalization and resource conservation in agriculture, using waste to produce new products, fertilizers and energy, introduce circular business models, promote sustainable transport, purify the air in urban areas, and provide an early warning system to prevent forest fires. These solutions have also created 35 new green jobs.
The total value of funds invested by the awarded teams in implementing innovative solutions, with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, amounts to around $11 million.
The innovation awards were also given to six Serbian local self-governments: Kragujevac, Kruševac, Kraljevo, Niš, Šabac and Sremska Mitrovica. They were awarded for implementing IT systems for collecting open data on greenhouse gas emissions and for preparing local low-carbon development plans. The IT systems and the development plans will provide these cities with better insight into data on greenhouse gas emissions in the areas of energy, transport, waste management, agriculture and
forestry. This data will be used to monitor measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to better plan new measures in the future.
Finally, special prizes were awarded in the following categories: Contribution to the reduction of carbon footprint – won by Jugo-impex E-reciklaža from Niš, Best digital solution – won by the Public Utility Company “Toplana-Šabac”, Greatest impact in the local community – won by CSO Bio Idea, and Best innovation – shared by the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research and the Institute “Mihajlo Pupin”.
All the awarded innovations were implemented within the Climate Smart Urban Development project, which UNDP has implemented over the past five years, in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).