The Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee Aleksandar Jovanovic met today with the Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia Jørn Eugen Gjelstad to discuss the ecological situation in Serbia.
Jovanovic declared the ecological situation in Serbia very bad, adding that the Law on Environmental Protection, though good, yields no results because, as he said, it is almost never applied in practice. That is why, said Jovanovic, it is his idea as Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee to have sessions outside of the National Assembly in the places where the people are faced with ecological problems so that they could take active part in the debate and finding solutions, however, he claims, he has not been met with understanding by the Committee members from the assembly majority. He informed the Ambassador of his activist work so far and problems he encountered in the field.
Jovanovic stressed that it is necessary, first of all, that the citizens get precise information about the resources at Serbia’s disposal and in what amounts so as to make a strategic plan for their exploitation with the strict observance of the law, making sure that it does not damage the environment. He agreed with the Ambassador about the need to use renewable energy sources, pointing out the underused potential of geothermal sources and solar energy.
The Ambassador expressed satisfaction with the meeting, saying that it is very important that the Committee Chairman is someone who has become well-acquainted with the ecological situation in the country through activism. He spoke about the best practice examples Norway as one of ecologically cleanest countries applies and expressed interest in strengthening cooperation with local communities in Serbia in terms of environmental protection. He underlined the importance of communication with the citizens and civil society organisations, because raising public awareness on the importance of environmental protection and transparency in the work of the institutions is the key of success in environmental protection. He stressed that Serbia should evaluate its agriculture and organic production, decrease the use of coal and increase the use of renewable energy sources in the energy system, through the construction of wind farms, use of solar energy and Serbia’s water resources.
Speaking of water resources, Jovanovic said that he would launch an initiative to make them a constitutional category and as one of the ways of establishing cooperation with local communities he proposed donating solar panels to the families living without electricity on Stara Planina.
“Not only would that promote environmental cooperation between the two countries, it would enable the citizens to learn on a practical example of the advantages of using renewable energy sources, in this case, solar”, concluded Jovanovic.