Coalition 27 presented its third annual report “Chapter 27 in Serbia: still under construction”. The report tracks changes in the field of environment and climate change in Serbia.
“The report addresses the problems that have accumulated over decades, which can be solved only with the full commitment of the Government and a determination to place the environment and climate change high on the priority list,” said the director of the Young Researchers of Serbia Tanja Petrovic on behalf of Coalition 27.
The intention of the report is to show that climate change and environmental quality is not only an obligation stemming from the negotiations with the EU, but a matter that concerns the health of all citizens. It covers the period from September 2015. to October 2016. and addresses seven areas: legislature, quality of air, water, nature protection, industrial pollution and risk management, chemicals management and climate change.
The report found that legislature in the field of environment and natural resources is largely adopted by urgent procedure, leaving no room for transparent and timely public debate. As for the Green fund, the framework established by the Law on the protection of environment will not be efficient and will not contribute to the adoption of EU principles, especially the “polluter pays” principle.
Serbia still has no integrated water management system, and less than 10 percent of wastewater is processed. The Government is neglecting nature conservation, and industrial pollution remains a challenge. No progress was made toward adopting air quality plans, even though the World Health Organization estimates that the economic costs resulting from premature deaths caused by air pollution in Serbia amounted to 33,5 percent of GDP.
The existing policy framework does not adequately address key issues in the area of climate change nor is it aligned with EU policies and laws. The Serbian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) indicates that Serbia aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 9,8 percent compared to 1990, which stipulates an actual increase of 15 percent as emissions are currently 25 percent below 1990 levels.
The Government must integrate climate change policy into other policy areas and align existing climate change commitments with EU climate targets up to 2020, 2030 and 2050. This work should begin with the immediate ratification of the Paris Agreement, which is planned by mid-2017.
The report shows there is still a lot of work in the field of environmental protection, although Serbia is expecting confirmation from Brussels to open Chapter 27. According to estimates by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia (PKS) adopting EU standards will cost EUR 13-15 billion, and it will not be possible without the allocation of 1-1,25 percent of gross domestic product. Serbian investments in the environment now amount to 0,25 percent of GDP.