Unlocking the Potential of Biomass to Fuel Sustainable Development in Serbia

Mar 26, 2015

Today’s conference on "Sustainable Growth from Biomass", organized jointly by the Embassy of Finland in Belgrade, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), brought together policy makers, leaders of industry, local governmnet and civil society, to discuss optimal strategies for unlocking the potential of biomass to fuel Serbia's development.

The purpose of the Conference was to inform and connect economic and institutional actors from Finland and Serbia, with the aim of creating conditions for intensifying investments in the use of biomass for energy purposes. The conference was organized within the framework of the visit of the Finnish business delegation to Serbia.

The conference participants wer addressed by Ms. Mirjana Filipović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Mining and Energy of Serbia, Ms. Stana Božović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, Mr. Marko Čadež, President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Miloš Banjac, Assistant Minister of Mining and Energy and Mr. Dusan Jovic, from the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.

The Finnish delegation was led by Mr. Matti Attonen, Deputy Minister at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, who was accompanied by Mr. Sixten Sunabacka, Strategic Director, Ministry of Employment and Economy, Mr. Marko Nokkala, Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Mr. Lauri Sikanen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE).

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the Conference was addressed by Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UNDP's Resident Representative in Serbia.

Biomass is individually the most important renewable energy sources in Serbia, but it still isn’t adequately utilized. The reasons for this are numerous and lie in the fragmentation of the ownership structure, demanding logistic and lack of necessary infrastructure.

With this in mind, the conference was an opportunity to present Finish experience in the field. Finland is known worldwide as one of the leading countries in the field of utilization of biomass for energy production with efficient and environmentally sustainable technologies. This is due to great abundance of biomass as a renewable source in Finland and the exceptionally well developed and strategically favorable regulatory framework in this area.

It is hoped that the conference will lead to greater cooperation between Serbian stakeholders and colleagues from Finland, thus contributing to a higher degree of utilization of this renewable energy source in Serbia.

The Conference was also the opportunity to present the results and activities of two biomass projects in Serbia: “Mapping of the Municipal Spatial, Infrastructural, Resource Related and Logistic Prerequisites for Electricity and/or Heat Generation from Biomass in the Srem District” implemented by SCTM and supported by Finnish Embassy and the project "Reducing Barriers to Accelerate Development of Biomass Markets in Serbia", which is funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and implemented by UNDP, the Ministry of Mining and Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.