- The embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in Serbia, under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers, organized a series of events on the topic of the circular economy, in Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Niš and Belgrade. The aim of the conferences was to raise awareness of key local partners about the importance of the circular economy, strengthen the determination to continue implementing the principles of circular economy in Serbia, and transferring Nordic experiences and knowledge in this important area. The partners of the Nordic embassies in the project are: the Nordic Business Alliance (NBA), the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED), the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina, as well as the cities of Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Niš. At the conference in the Science and Technology Park Niš, Ms. Elina Ojala, Environmental Manager of the City of Lahti, spoke about how the city of Lahti became the Green Capital of Europe in 2021. Numerous environmental challenges in cities where the majority of the population lives, were the reason the European Commission In 2006, launched a competition for the title of Green Capital of Europe, which aims to promote innovative solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development. The many years of complete transformation of the Finnish Lahti were a clear example to all European cities of how to take care of the environment. In Lahti, homes and schools rely on 100 %t renewable sources and have a unique groundwater system. 99% of household waste is recycled. The area that was once a landfill is now an open green area, and the city has already reduced its total gas emissions by 70%, while 51% of the city’s traffic takes place by public transport, cycling or walking. In Lahti, they are heated with the help of recycled fuel and bioenergy plants. One of the most original things in Lahti is the carbon trading model. Residents sign up through a mobile app that gives them carbon dioxide limits that they will adhere to every week. If they stay within the limits, they are rewarded, which is a great incentive to use public transport or bicycles. Through the application, citizens earn benefits and services in the form of bus tickets and discounts on local products. In the coming years, increasing attention will be focused on biogas, bio-waste and green waste in Serbia by working on finding solutions at the local level that contribute to the circular economy and reduce the disposal of green waste in landfills. This was discussed in the panel Smart City and Circular Economy: how to turn green waste and waste sludge into energy and resources for the benefit of citizens and the local economy and Nordic countries – with Nordic companies and municipalities – have many years of experience in innovative solutions and investments at the local level.
- Finnish ambassador in Serbia Mr. Kimo Lahdevirta spoke about the priorities of the Finland chairing the EU Council in the second half of 2019 at the presentation held at Eu Info Corner in Nis. During the presentation of the priorities of the Finnish EU Presidency the Ambassador also emphasized the importance of enlargement of the Union as well as the unity of the entire continent. “If we want to succeed in the future, I think we must all be together, not only EU member states but all European countries,” said Ambassador Lahdevirta. Finland took over the rotating six-month presidency of the EU Council from Romania on 1 July this year. Priority issues include strengthening shared values and the rule of law, competitiveness and social inclusion, taking on the role of global leader in the fight against climate change, and overall protection of citizens’ security.
- The exhibition entitled Innovative Finnish Design was organized by the Embassy of Finland in Belgrade, NGO Young Ambassadors and the Eu Info Corner Niš. The exhibition addresses the question of how design finds application in communications technology, shipbuilding, healthcare, the furniture industry and many other areas? How do new technologies condition design? For Finns the design is a way of solving problems, a way to apply new techniques that characterize them and an opportunity to develop services and new business opportunities. It is well known that Finland is in the top ten countries in terms of patented inventions per capita due to the fact that it has always welcomed new technologies and then develop them further The author of the exhibition is Jarno Peltonen, former director of the Helsinki Design Museum, who wanted to point out the importance of design for the Finns.
- Nis City Mayor Darko Bulatovic and Finnish Ambassador to Serbia Perti Ikonen planted five new birch trees in the park in front of the City Garden at the Fortress in tribute to Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence. The program marking the centenary of Finland’s independence in Serbia consists of a series of events presenting Finnish culture, art, economy, as well as the lifestyle itself. The biggest jubilee project is the planting of 100 trees throughout Serbia.
- Nordic Business Alliance delegation visited Nis. The cooperation with companies in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and attracting investors from these countries, as well as facilitating the procedures for their business operation in Nis were the topics of the meeting between the city management and the representatives of Nordic Business Alliance. The goal of Nordic Business Alliance in Serbia is to promote and strengthen the network and cooperation between Nordic companies and Serbia and to contribute to the development of business relations and activities (between the Nordic countries and Serbia)
- The project Strengthening Good Governance at the Local Level, funded by the Embassy of Finland in Belgrade, will be implemented by NALED in partnership with the cities of Subotica and Nis. The Embassy of Finland and NALED signed a cooperation agreement on the project in December 2013, and the project will be completed by December 2014. The goal of the project is to define local development policies and focus on faster EU accession, as well as highlight the unique models that selected cities apply in their day-to-day business. In particular, the project will increase transparency in the work of local government, modeled on the Scandinavian countries, which is characterized by a highly developed pluralistic culture and competitive provision of public services. When the private and civilian sectors are involved in the performance of public affairs, citizens assess the legitimacy of the government precisely by focusing on creating a favorable environment and solving public problems. Accordingly, the project will enable the introduction of European standards through transparent budgeting, respect for environmental standards and the values of a democratic society. Pilot cities will be positioned as progressive environments that set the model for other cities and municipalities in Serbia that strive for high standards in the work of the local government. The project will include engagement of the consultants who will develop a set of indicators, conduct an analysis of selected cities, hold training and summarize the results and recommendations in the brochure. In cooperation with the Embassy of Finland, guest lecturers from abroad will be invited to participate. The completion of the project will be formalized by a national conference attended by mayors, representatives of the government, the diplomatic corps, the economy, local governments, civil society organizations, the media and local and foreign experts. NALED will promote selected cities through media, social networks and newsletters.
- The delegation of businessmen from Finland led by the Ambassador of Finland to Serbia Mr. Pekka Orpana visited Nis. The representatives of 10 companies coming from different sectors mainly focused on district heating, waste management, construction, healthcare and data protection and they had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the City and the business community of Nis.