Online Conference “Environment Policies and Economic Growth: Experiences from Japan, the EU and Serbia”

ISAC Fund, with the support of the Japanese Embassy in Belgrade, is organizing a new international online conference Environment Policies and Economic Growth: Experiences from Japan, the EU and Serbia. The conference will be held online via Zoom Platform and Facebook live on February 10 and 11.

Environmental degradation and climate change are an existential threat to the world knowing no borders and we can deal with this issue only with joint forces. The entire world strives to increase economic growth, but this trend has to go alongside environmental protection. Serbia is no exception and learning from the experience and best practices of developed countries in this field is of immense importance.

Serbia is currently faced with large amounts of air and water pollution, coming from various areas – old dirty industries, coal-producing power plants from the previous century, an increase of traffic and congestions, lack of environmental enforcement on foreign-invested industries and mining, and overall lack of environmental awareness.

The experience of Japan as one of the world’s strongest economies on how to couple development with environmental protection is extremely relevant, especially when it comes to dealing with dirty technologies. Japan could also be an important actor for advocating and supporting Serbia’s EU trajectory, especially when it comes to a sustainable economy, which would, at the same time, be beneficial to the Serbia-Japan relations as well.

Presenting a European Green Deal the EU set its goal of making its economy sustainable by ending greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, decoupling economic growth from resource use and leaving no person and no place behind. Chapter 27 (Environment) of the accession negotiations is one of the most complex and challenging chapters in Serbia’s EU integration process. If Serbia does not respect the EU standards, it will eventually face not just with obstacles in the EU negotiations due to its development based on dirty technologies, but it will likely pay the cost in the future for the outputs of facilities that use dirty technologies through direct taxes or penalties.

The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness about the environment and explore the different experiences in trying to move towards a sustainable and clean future for Serbia. We want to convey the message that sustainable economic growth is possible using concrete examples and best practices from Japan and the EU. Quantity of investments should not be given an advantage over the quality of those investments at all costs, as the environmental price in the future could be dire. At the same time, we have to bear in mind that Serbia currently lacks the billions of dollars needed to clean up its economy and the environment and will need assistance from abroad to help fulfill its obligations.

With that in mind, the following questions and topics will be raised and discussed during the conference:

  • The case for the global leadership of the EU and Japan in sustainable development and environmental protection?
  • How has Japan reconciled economic development with environmental concerns?
  • What is the new EU Green Deal, and what does it mean for the EU and the region?
  • Towards a greener development model in Serbia? How could the experience of Japan help?
  • Can Serbia exist in a bubble when the EU aims towards a more green and socially responsible development approach?
  • What is more costly for Serbia: greenification or the current model of development?

Speakers in the panels will be well-renowned experts, professors, and practitioners from Japan, the EU, and Serbia.

The draft agenda of the event is available here.

You can follow the entire event via Facebook live on ISAC’s Facebook page.