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Over 5 Billion Euros Poured into Ecological Initiatives Throughout Serbia

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In Serbia, over five billion euros have been invested so far in wastewater treatment, improvement of air quality, and other ecological projects. The Ministry of Environmental Protection states that one of the most complex projects in implementing the Green Agenda will be the construction of the regional waste management center ‘Kalenić,’ which is intended to serve 15 cities and municipalities and half a million residents.

In 2020, at the conference in Sofia, Serbia committed to implementing the Green Agenda, along with other Western Balkan countries, meaning aligning environmental regulations with those of the European Union.

The implementation of the Green Agenda is a lengthy, complex, and costly process, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection is working to align the Environmental Protection Strategy with the Green Agenda. The goal is to create a strategic document with action plans based on the pillars of the Green Agenda: decarbonization, circular economy, pollution control, sustainable food production, sustainable rural areas, and biodiversity conservation.

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Construction work on the Regional Sanitary Landfill ‘Kalenić,’ located near Ub, began in October of last year. It is a joint project involving 15 local self-governments from the Kolubara and Mačva administrative districts and the city of Belgrade. The completion of the project is expected in the second half of 2025. The primary objective of the regional waste management center is to establish a system based on sanitary regional landfills, with a total of 12 currently planned.

One of the goals is to close all non-sanitary landfills due to methane emissions.

Researchers from the scientific institute ‘Mihajlo Pupin’ have invented three devices enabling air purification. These devices represent a smart, energy-neutral system for reducing air pollution in urban environments. The devices create a protected zone within a semi-sphere with a diameter of 25 meters, where harmful particles are removed from the air. They are intended for busy locations with a high human circulation, such as schools, kindergartens, shopping centers, and bus stations.

The main advantage of these devices lies in their low maintenance costs. If these devices were mass-produced, they could significantly improve the situation in urban areas within a year.

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The patents are currently located in front of the ‘Ušće’ shopping center, and their promotion is expected at the end of the month.

In 2021, the ‘Mihajlo Pupin’ Institute implemented the ‘Smart Field’ project, which focuses on the rational use of natural resources, specifically water and soil. Serbia has adopted a Circular Economy Development Program, based on recycling, allowing packaging waste to end up on store shelves instead of landfills.

Furthermore, the Regulation on Construction Waste Management has been adopted, aiming to improve the management of municipal packaging waste and stimulate the development of infrastructure for separate collection of household and service sector packaging waste, small trade, and hospitality.

The Ministry is working towards aligning cross-border carbon from 2026 so that companies in Serbia see decarbonization as a business policy that will enable them to increase exports, primarily to the European Union market. The cross-border carbon alignment mechanism is an environmental policy instrument of the EU, foreseeing the application of the same carbon costs on imported products as would apply to facilities operating within the EU.

The main goal of the EU is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, which implies that the amount of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere equals the amount of those gases removed from the atmosphere. In other words, the same amount of harmful gases removed from the atmosphere should match the emissions generated during the creation and transportation of a new product. To achieve this goal, the European Union needs to involve non-member countries and the entire continent.

Serbia is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, and the Energy Community Treaty. Serbia has received two types of assistance for the implementation of the Green Agenda: EU4GREEN and EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia.

The European Union funds the EU4Green project with 10 million euros, and the Austrian Development Agency contributes one million euros. The project is implemented by the Austrian Environment Agency in collaboration with the state authorities and institutions of the Western Balkans. The EU Delegation has secured approximately eight million dollars for financing the EU Green Agenda project in Serbia, the Swiss Government has provided an additional seven million, the Swedish Government two million, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Serbia has allocated just under one million dollars. The project is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In November, the European Commission presented a new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans for the period 2024 to 2027, involving six billion euros in assistance, with two billion as grants and four billion in the form of favorable loans and capital investments. This aims to accelerate the social and economic convergence with the EU, including integration and decarbonization of energy markets.

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