The joint message from the opening of the conference “Towards Sustainable Development in Serbia: UN 2030 Agenda”, organized by SeConS development initiative group in cooperation with the Open Society Foundation in Serbia was that Serbia is set to harmonize national policies with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UN 2030 Agenda represents the framework for formulating a new Sustainable Development Strategy, and other sector policies which are more directly aimed at specific sustainable development goals contained in the Agenda.  

Kori Udovički, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and President of the Interdepartmental Working Group for Implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda pointed out the importance of institutional reforms in Serbia, as they affect all sustainable development aspects. “The European Union is not a development institution. Its dialogue is based on the assumption that a country has reached certain standards of development, but does not provide answers to the question – how do we achieve these standards”, Udovički said. She added that Serbia, in keeping with the new UN 2030 Agenda, must on its own come up with its vision for its own development, as well as respond to the challenge of returning the dialogue between state and society back into institutional frameworks.

According to Irena Vojačkova Solorano, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, the dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals has progressed in Serbia more than it has in other countries. In her opinion, the conference on sustainable development was an excellent opportunity to review what Serbia has achieved so far and what it wants to accomplish.

Professor Slobodan Cvejić, PhD, Research Director at SeConS, said that what we learned from the process of observing the Millennium Development Goals in Serbia was that instruments which can be used for implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda usually already exist in national policies, and that a broader circle of stakeholders, organizations and individuals should be included on time to ensure that the implementation of the Agenda is rational and efficient.

After panel discussions, participants of the conference reached a number of conclusions concerning the implementation and monitoring of several of the UN 2030 Agenda goals. The common conclusion at all panel discussions was that transparent and efficient state institutions are of crucial importance for realizing any sustainable development goal, and that a broader social consensus must be reached regarding specific development goals as well as methods for their achievement. In addition, it was concluded that, with regard to the implementation and monitoring of sustainable development policies, the state can find partners in the corporate sector, among non-governmental organizations, as well as academic circles.

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