“EU for forests in Serbia” is a two-year twinning project of the European Union, in which experts from Austria and Slovakia participated during the previous two years, and for which the EU allocated one million euros, in order to make Serbian forests, and therefore the entire ecosystem, healthier.
The completion of the project was marked today, on International Day of Forests.
Mr. Sakellaris Hourdas, Head of Section, from the EU Delegation in Serbia said that forest policy and timber trade were important topics, especially in the context of natural resources.
“I am pleased that this twinning project met all targets and even exceeded them. I would like to thank Slovakia and Austria, that provided the expertise. I am glad to see that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management is also satisfied”, he said, adding that this project is a good example of why twinning projects are becoming more and more popular.
Healthy forests for healthy people – the motive of this year’s International Day of Forests, which accurately reflects the irreplaceability of forests, said Saša Stamatović, acting Director of the Forest Administration. He reminded that forests have an impact in protection against erosion, as well as a positive effect on air, soil, climate and create a healthy environment for people and society.
“The end of this project is also the beginning of cooperation, which we will materialize by signing a cooperation agreement between Austria, Slovakia and Serbia”, concluded Stamatović, adding that he was very satisfied with the results of the project.
Mr. Veljko Odalović, State Secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management is grateful for the financial and professional assistance that came from the EU, Slovakia and Austria.
“International Day of Forests is a good time to promote the outcomes of this project. This is one of the most vital topics for every country. Supporting capacity building leads to something that is a common good. The importance of forests and their sustainable management impact the climate picture. They prevent soil erosion, landslides, and floods. And there is also the economic part of timber production, which is important for every country”, he said.
The event was also attended by the Ambassador of Slovakia to Serbia, Mr. Fedor Rosocha, as well as the Austrian Ambassador to Serbia Christian Ebner. He noted that climate change affects forests, but at the same time forests are part of the solution to climate change.
Notably, forests cover more than 30% of the territory of Serbia. The increase in average temperatures, due to global warming, increases the probability of fire outbreaks, which is a threat to forested areas. On the other hand, forests can play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change, given that they annually absorb one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Therefore, the preservation of forest ecosystems is crucial for the protection of the planet and for the quality of life of future generations.
Serbia is considered a country with medium forest area.
Key tasks of this project, as explained by Jozef Turok, resident twinning advisor, is the development of a forest policy process, forestry financing system and drafting of a law in the area of timber trade.
The European Union is a world leader in environmental protection. The EU supports Serbia on its path to a healthier environment. Donating over 400 million euros in grants for environmental protection, the EU is the largest donor in this area in Serbia.
With the financial support of the EU, Serbia is working on the development and implementation of environmental protection plans at a strategic level – a sustainable environmental protection system that creates a healthier environment and raises the quality of life.
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