Adapting to Sustain - Climate Change Awareness Raising Workshops in Novi Sad and Nis

29 Jun 2014

imageMs. Ana Repac, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Climate Change Department

Two workshops dedicated to raising knowledge and level of awareness on climate change related facts and challenges for the Republic of Serbia were held in Novi Sad and Niš (26th and 27th of June). More than 100 participants, representatives of local self governments, CSOs, business, academic community and media, attended these workshops. Workshops were organized under the framework of the UNDP/GEF project “Second National Communication to the UNFCCC for Serbia”, in cooperation between UNDP and Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Serbia. Organizing partners were local non-governmental organizations “Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development -CEKOR” from Subotica and “Center for civil society development - Protecta” from Nis.

Particular attention was given to the preliminary results of vulnerability assessment for agriculture, forestry and water resources in Serbia, proposed adaptation measures, as well the consideration of consequences that projected climate change may cause to natural and manmade environment, health and economic development.

The increase of the average temperature is expected by the end of the century according to both developed climate change scenarios Prof. Rajkovic from the University of Belgrade quoted that “biggest seasonal change will occur in summer, and by the end of Century it will exceed 4°С according to both scenarios”. He also underlined that “there will be decrease in the amount of rainfalls and the biggest seasonal decrease is envisaged for the summer period, which, by the end of the Century, may exceed 30% according to both scenarios”.

Climate change projections indicate that there will be significant increase in the occurrence and intensity of severe weather events (such as recent flood events) on the whole territory of the country.

Very productive discussion was initiated among participants of both workshops namely focusing on the impacts of projected climate change on some of the key economic sectors, such as Agriculture, Waters and Forestry.

The 2009 European Commission White Paper points out the options for EU actions regarding climate change adaptation in several sectors of the European society. The identified risky sectors list comprises agriculture, forests, fisheries and aquaculture, coasts and marine ecosystems, energy, infrastructures, tourism, health of humans, animals and plants, water resources and biodiversity.

Trend and variability of expected temperature and precipitation, especially during the vegetation period, point out on vulnerability of agricultural production. Professor Dragutin Mihajlovic from University of Novi Sad,  pointed out that negative effects of climate change on agricultural production are reflected also through increase of soil erosion, changes in plant growing dynamics (crop phenology), occurrence of pest and plant disease appearance etc.” It is expected that climate change can significantly affect yield and timing of farm operations and also a possibility of the second harvest. Professor Mihajlovic also pointed out that “There is no doubt that CC will affect quantity and quality of yield of main crops in Serbia, in particular economically vital species such as winter wheat, grape, maize, sugar beet, soybean.

When it comes to the Forestry, participants concluded that “joint impact of increased temperatures and change in precipitation regime will led to more frequent and intense droughts events in Serbia which will have generally negative influence vegetation and forests. Establishment of new forests will be more and more difficult as the time goes by due to the climate change. Further postponement of afforestation actions will considerably decrease the adaptive capacity of the entire society”.

“Water sector is particularly vulnerable to the projected climate change in terms of expected water scarcity in the long run” said Dr. Dejan Dimkic, water resources expert from Institute “Jaroslav Cerni”, and pointed out that generally, South-East part of Europe and the entire Mediterranean, will be most vulnerable to the expected lack of available water in the future. This will induce need for construction of systems for transporting water from water sufficient regions to those with water deficiency. There is already evident trend in decrease of average water flow in rivers of Serbia. Based on climate change scenarios, annual precipitation change is ranging from +5% in first half of the 21st Century up to -20% by the end of the Century. These facts will have significant impact on all other aspects of life and economy.

 

Participants of both workshops had an opportunity to learn more about national policy and legal framework on climate change from the presentation that was delivered by representative of Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ms. Ana Repac. Ms. Repac described main elements and findings of Initial National Communication of the Republic of Serbia to UNFCCC, as well as on going activities for preparation of Second National Communication. Ms. Repac also said that “transposition and implementation of EU acquis in the field of climate change represents significant challenge and priority of the Ministry”. Representative of the Ministry presented recent legislation developments, GHG Inventory and other related project activities that support establishment of the EU Emission Trading Scheme and sustainable measuring, reporting and verification systems when it comes to GHG emissions.

UNDP representative Mr. Miroslav Tadic elaborated on the process of development of Second National Communication, introducing all chapters of the document and pointing out the importance of education, awareness raising, capacity building and technologies needs assessment in relation to improving implementation of climate change policy in Serbia. He also stressed the importance of Serbia’s compliance with requirements of international agreements, such as UNFCCC in the context of the ongoing EU accession process. “EU accession process and forthcoming negotiations will also strongly be correlated and interlinked with Serbia’s capacities and readiness to comply with the requirements of multilateral environmental agreements” pointed Mr. Tadic, and he added that this is where UN agencies, such as UNDP, may provide significant support and expert assistance.

 

International expert on climate change policy, Mr. Seth Landau, explained that “municipal governments should seek for potential sources of financing actions and projects that contribute to either mitigation or adaptation to negative consequences of climate change, in order to sustain”. Among other issues, he pointed out possible UN financing (namely through GEF and its thrust funds, CDM mechanism under the UNFCCC, and specialized UN agencies), EU funds such as IPA, Life +, Horizon 2020, bilateral donors, etc, different credit lines (incl. EBRD, WB, KfW etc.), combination of grants and credit lines. Interested participants were advised to refer to the Ministry of UNDP for further assistance in developing proposals for funding and seeking available funding options.

Final conclusion of all participants is that this is very important topic, and the multisectoral cooperation is necessary, as well as continuation of dialogue between decision makers, stakeholders and beneficiaries in order to mainstream climate change concerns into the sectoral and national development agenda.