Mr Gerhard Sippel , Country Director Serbia, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ GmbH

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Sustainable Development

Our goal is to help our counterparts to find good solutions to their problems on their way towards sustainable development. We provide advisory support or technical assistance

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, is commissioned to implement contributions to Serbian development cooperation projects, said Mr Gerhard Sippel, Country Director of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Serbia.

Which major reforms in Serbia will be supported by GIZ in the midterm?

You might say that GIZ will therefore support reforms deemed important by Serbia and donors who want their contributions to be implemented through GIZ. These donors typically include Swiss Development Cooperation and the European Union besides Germany. At the moment, we receive most of our commissions from Germany and we do not expect this to change over the midterm. Our focus will therefore mirror priority areas of Serbian-German development cooperation. We will continue to work towards EU rapprochement, further strengthening good governance, economic development, vocational training, advances in energy efficiency and renewables, to help improve living conditions for everybody. GIZ is not a donor, neither do we finance big investment programmes. Our goal is to help our counterparts to find good solutions to their problems on their way towards sustainable development. We provide advisory support or technical assistance. Our national and international experts work with many Serbian institutions. Joint Serbian-German pilot projects generate lessons learnt which can spread quickly to scale up their impact.

For example, we try to assist Serbian institutions to achieve greater energy efficiency in more than 16,000 schools or kindergartens. One of the first steps we worked on was the introduction of the Serbian Law on Energy Efficiency and the Serbian energy efficiency action plan.

Generating energy from biomass has much potential in Serbia and will help to decrease dependency on fossil fuels. We work with the Serbian Ministry for Agriculture and Environmental Protection to improve the political and economic framework conditions, raising public awareness not only of problems but – more importantly – of solutions, and facilitating access to the private sector into this thus far underdeveloped sector of the economy.

How much has GIZ involvement helped in the current efforts of the Serbian government in improving business climate and overall business framework?

In the past six years we have been working to further improve conditions for business in Serbia. We facilitated public-private dialogues in different fields such as organic agriculture, information technologies, quality standards and SME strategies. We worked closely with local authorities to develop SME support programmes for SMEs such as business incubators or the formation of business associations or clusters.

Why has GIZ decided to support the development of the circular economy in Serbia and what are the long term goals?

The German Federal Government supports Serbia’s efforts in establishing environmental standards of the European Union and commisioned GIZ to implement the German contribution to this process. Increased recovery and recycling of waste will “close the loops” of waste materials which will contribute to energy savings and reduced environmental pollution. A circular economy emphasizes resource efficiency, financial savings the grothe of new business opportunities.

Waste prevention, eco-design and recovery may contribute to net saving of 600 billion EUR, or 8% of annual turnover of EU companies, with a simultaneous reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. Estimates hold that a 30% increase of resource productivity will increase GDP by 0,8 % and generate 2 million new jobs in the EU until 2030. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that a circular economy in Serbia could generate 30,000 new jobs and increase competitiveness of the national economy, especially in the recycling sector.

Taking into account the recommendations of the European Commission, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Economy and the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the process of developing a national strategy of circular economy in the field of waste management was launched aiming to ensure long-term sustainability. It is estimated that in the agriculture and food sectors packaging and electronic and electrical products have the biggest potential for circular business models in Serbia.

Over the past years, you were very much involved in projects related to support to young people through education and professional orientation. How well these programs faired and what would be in your focus in the near future?

We are working with young people to address vocational education and professional orientation issues. With the Ministry of Youth and Sports support youth to be better position themselves on the labour market through an integrated approach. The approach is implemented through career guidance and job counselling, short and medium-term vocational training, job placements and youth self-employment and entrepreneurship training and support.

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