Climate Change Strategy
The adoption of a national cross-sectoral Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan will enable Serbia to implement a comprehensive national strategic and legal framework for climate action (mitigation and adaptation) in compliance with international obligations and pledges on greenhouse gas mitigation (Paris Agreement and EU accession). The Republic of Serbia has been part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2001 and the Kyoto Protocol since 2008. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is the national focal point for the implementation of the Convention and the Protocol.
The Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan will identify priority emissions reduction measures and define the responsible institutions for specific options together with timelines for implementation and overall financial resource requirements. The cost-effective greenhouse gases mitigation potential for Serbia will be identify and assess through the preparation of transparent scenarios. These will cover key economic sectors for the years 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2050. These scenarios will be mindful of the trajectory required to meet global targets out to 2070. The Strategy will also provide a framework for adaptation policy addressing the priority areas of agriculture, forestry and water management.
The Strategy will contribute to both Serbia achieving its climate change objectives as well as benefiting the Serbian economy. It will give clear guidance for future investors (infrastructure and development) as well as creating conditions for increased industrial and commercial competitiveness.
Serbia – State of play regarding mitigation and adaptation
Republic of Serbia is prepared and contributes to global climate change combat in line with its capacities, national circumstances and determined development goals. Contributions of the Republic of Serbia to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on global level are even more significant when taking into account observed and expected climate change and impacts on sectors and systems.
According to the analysis performed at the national level, period 1960-2012 is characterized by a trend of mean annual temperatures of 0,3°C per decade. Depending on the scenario, a temperature increase ranging from 3.2 to 4°C can be expected by the end of the century as well as a precipitation deficit of 20%. These changes will be accompanied by intensive – mainly temperature, extremes. Largest climate change impacts are observed and projected in agriculture, hydrology, forestry, human health and biodiversity sectors.
Since 2000, Republic of Serbia was faced with several significant extreme climate and weather events which caused considerable material and financial damage as well as human casualties. Two distinct events were the 2012 drought and the 2014 flood. 2012 drought was particularly severe, contributing to reduction in yield of certain crops by 50%. Estimates show that droughts from 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2012 caused more than 3.5 billion EUR worth of damage, while the 2014 floods caused more than 1.5 billion EUR. Estimates show that material damage incurred by the forest fires in the period 2000-2009 was well above 300 million EUR.
The total damage caused by extreme climate and weather events, since 2000, exceeds five billion EUR and more than 70% of the losses are associated with drought and high temperatures. Second major cause of significant losses was floods. Total estimated investment in implementation of projects that can be considered as adaptation measures in the period 2000-2015 amounts to approximately 68 million EUR.
In order for Serbia to fulfil its international obligations, with a main focus on UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection as a competent institution in cooperation with relevant governmental institutions (Ministry of Mining and Energy and Serbian Environmental Protection Agency) developed Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that were adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, on 11 June 2015. Republic of Serbia was among the first ten countries in the world and first in the region to submit its INDCs to the UNFCCC Secretariat in June 2015.
INDCs of the Republic of Serbia were developed on the basis of GHG emission data in 1990, official data and projections, national strategic and planning documents and current and planned legislative framework which is primarily derived from the process of harmonization with the EU acquis. Total national GHG emission reduction until 2030, in accordance with the “scenario with measures” is to be 9.8% compared to 1990 emissions.
In accordance with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, Republic of Serbia initiated activities on revision of the INDCs mainly through IPA 2014 project “Climate Strategy and Action plan”.
At the same time, Republic of Serbia has set up major components of the institutional and legal framework necessary for combating climate change. Basis of adequate planning and climate policy consists of accurate, consistent and transparent GHG emission data (GHG inventory). Credibility of the GHG inventory largely depends on the quantity and quality of relevant data. In the forthcoming period it is necessary to define clear and precise procedural competences for collection and submission of data, improve quality of the data as well as QA/QC (quality assurance and quality control system) and procedure for uncertainty assessment, reporting and archiving.
Establishment of a system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) is one of the main requirements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as the EU Acquis. Recognizing the importance of MRV for progress monitoring but also for improvement of planning and implementation of climate change policies, Republic of Serbia has set up certain important elements of this system.
Establishment of a complete MRV system, or rather system for collection of climate change relevant data and information, started with a financial and technical assistance provided by the EU (through IPA project „Establishment of a mechanism for the implementation of the MMR“) while the ministry in charge of environment and climate change is responsible for the implementation of the project. Complete MRV system will include monitoring of GHG emissions, policies and measures, GHG emission projections and mitigation measures, as well as reporting on the latter and monitoring of activities relevant for planning of adaptation to climate change, etc.
Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (MMR), implemented in EU member states, is a legal act that regulates monitoring and reporting on all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions defined under the Kyoto Protocol. MMR represents a legal framework for the creation of policies and measures with appropriate projections, fulfilment of obligations towards UNFCCC regarding national programmes, greenhouse gas inventories, national systems and registries of EU member states and the EU itself.
According to the law, Serbian Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is responsible for the development of a national GHG inventory. SEPA is also responsible for the implementation of quality control procedures in order to ensure transparency, accuracy, completeness and consistency of input data, emission factors and other parameters, as well as for calculation of GHG emissions in accordance with its QA/QC plan.
Aside from the legal framework that incites and stimulates certain types of activities, GHG emission reduction is achieved mainly through implementation of concrete infrastructural projects. In order to reach specified GHG emission reduction potential per sector, priority activities were identified for the sectors of energy, waste and forestry. Implementation of these activities requires foreign technical and financial assistance.
Anthropogenic climate change, but mainly increase of concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, can be undoubtedly detected nowadays and quantified by measuring changes of many elements of the climate system. Goal of adaptation is reduction of potential negative effects of climate change. Also, it aims to ensure functioning of the system or, if possible, its improvement, in case positive effects of changes occurs. This can be achieved by applying proper planned measures in natural and socio-economic systems. Future risk and vulnerability analysis in selected sectors (water management, agriculture, forestry and biodiversity) will allow identification of priority adaptation measures, which is also a part of the project “Climate Strategy and Action plan”.