The 2014 floods should have represented a clear call that it is necessary to adequately improve the flood defence system. Given that this obviously didn’t happen, the fact that there is still a high risk of possible damage and losses comes as no surprise
A ccording to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN’s Country index), Serbia currently ranks as the third worst country in Europe. The countries that have a lower rating are Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania. This is a complex index with a value that depends on two key dimensions. The first dimension is the vulnerability of individual sectors to climate change, which considers six sectors: public health, food production, water resources, infrastructure, human habitat and ecosystem. The second dimension of this index is readiness to adapt to altered climatic conditions, considering the components of economic, social and governance readiness. If we observe only the part of the values of the index that relate to the vulnerability of individual sectors to climate change, Serbia is in the worst position among countries in Europe. In global frameworks, Serbia is in the middle of this list when it comes to both the aggregate index and when it comes to vulnerability.
One of the reasons for this high vulnerability is the fact that, in the case of Serbia, climate change brings a significant increase in the number and intensity of extreme weather events and climate extremes, and that first and foremost means heatwaves and high temperatures, droughts, extreme precipitation and accompanying storms, which can have negative consequences on public health, agricultural production, water supply etc., but also increase the risk of floods, forest fires and habitat loss for certain plant and animal species etc.
It would be good if recent experiences caused by major storms don’t remain yet another missed opportunity, but rather a clear call that we must make adaptation to climate change one of the priorities
Adaptation to climate change represents a way to improve this currently unfavourable situation.
Unfortunately, Serbia has yet to adopt an umbrella document that would represent a solid basis to conduct this complex process, and the first such document is only expected to be adopted in the months ahead, or with the adoption of the Programme for Climate Change Adaptation.
Serbia’s lack of preparedness to handle climate change, and the absence of adequate plans and programmes, is also reflected in the consequences of events that we’ve witnessed over the last few months. Such a situation is more than clear if we observe the consequences of the floods that took place in late May and early June and impacted more than 80 municipalities in Serbia, as well as the consequences of July’s stormy weather. We also had devastating floods less than ten years ago, in 2014, which made it abundantly clear to us that climate change is no longer a risk of the future, but rather that it already has a direct and measurable negative impact on our lives. That plainly didn’t happen.