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Learning From Champions

As this special edition shows, Nordic countries have been exerting considerable efforts to assist Serbia in its green transition, by sharing Nordic experiences in this field, increasing awareness of local stakeholders with regard to the circular economy and providing proposals on ways to continue implementing these principles in Serbia

Norway is the most sustainable country in the world. Sweden, Finland and Denmark are hot on its heels – this is how one notable website explains the position of the Nordic countries when it comes to green transition. These countries have for years been leaders in many areas, including governance, innovation, human capital and environmental indicators, and it comes as no surprise that they took the lead on cooperating with Serbia in this highly neglected area.

Just to get an idea of how important climate change, environmental policies and sustainability are for the political agenda, consider that – just a few months ago – the Norwegian parliament approved a proposal to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, two decades earlier than planned. The European Union, for example, aims to be climate neutral by 2050.

On the other hand, Finland has become the world’s first country to establish a roadmap to the efficient and sustainable use of resources in close collaboration between representatives of the public and private sectors and the general public. It features measures that impact on the state administration, towns and cities, businesses and the daily lives of the Finnish people.

Denmark is leading the way when it comes to green transition. It has successfully cut its CO2 emissions by more than half since 1996. In 2019, 47% of all electricity generated in the country was sourced from wind power. The Danes are working to drive the global transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient society. Their work encompasses renewable energies, energy efficiency, water management, waste management, climate adaptation, the circular economy and integrated urban solutions.

Nordic countries are at the forefront of green transition and are leading the way on the development of a more sustainable economy

Sweden, the world’s first country to pass an environmental protection act, way back in 1967, also hosted the first UN conference on the global environment in 1972. Over the course of the last decade and more, Sweden has ranked among the top ten on the globally respected Environmental Performance Index and is a country that prides itself on its exceptionally clean air, clean water and low emissions.

Those are, in short, the profiles of the Nordic countries that stand at the forefront of sustainability rankings, and that have pledged to make their region the world’s most sustainable and integrated by 2030, and to demonstrate leadership in the fight against climate change.

The Nordic countries are also best practice ambassadors. In an effort to support Serbia in 2021, the embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers, launched the project ‘Strengthening the Circular Economy in Serbia – Nordic Experiences’.

Throughout the implementation of this project, the Nordic countries have presented examples of good practice and highlighted the importance and benefits of the circular economy. They have also been involved in many parallel activities, including legislative changes, administrative infrastructure development and hands-on practical projects regarding waste management and similar areas across Serbia.

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