H.E. Jan Lundin, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Serbia

This is How We Cook the Change!

Within our UNDP project Climate Smart Bio-waste Challenge, we Ideas To Waste want to pave the way for a larger and climate smart waste reform in Serbia. We are looking forward to receiving innovative business ideas for reducing food and green waste

A journey to a sustainable future leads through many exciting initiatives and encompasses literary everybody interested in contributing to a better world, with less waste and a cleaner environment. The Swedish involvement in the Western Balkans shows how you can start from culinary challenges and progress to potentially large scale innovations, leading to a clean and healthy environment.

🔴 How has the Swedish Embassy engaged in food and sustainability issues?

– Food is on our plate and in our minds every day! It connects many parts of life, nature, society and the economy, and is an excellent way to discuss Agenda 2030! When I was the new ambassador in 2017, the idea emerged to produce a sustainable cookbook, Swedish Culinary Diplomacy, with cooking experiences from the Swedish Ambassadorial Residence. This soon turned into a regional project called Food for Tomorrow, where five countries in the Western Balkans and Sweden exchanged experiences on sustainable food production! Food lovers and entrepreneurs from the region made more than 15 different events.

With an online challenge, we gathered 700 participants from 75 countries, inventing the most sustainable recipes that now included waste and food produced locally. The next step on our food journey was to shift the focus to food consumption. We engaged students and food entrepreneurs in challenges to reduce food wastage from cooking, and this has now turned into a new cookbook: Agenda 2030 Cookbook – Food for Tomorrow, which is soon to be finalised, to share ideas on how to reduce food wastage! This year we are paying special attention to better food in schools, and we reach out to schoolchildren to help them learn about health, sustainability and food!

There are many possibilities for exchanges of experience, innovations and trade between Serbia and Sweden. Many good ideas are already developing in Serbia!

🔴 How does the Embassy focus on food connected to the Swedish development portfolio in Serbia?

– They go very well together! Sweden is the major bilateral donor for the environment to Serbia, providing more than two million euros per year! Our focus is on supporting Serbia in moving towards the EU’s environmental standards for a clean and healthy environment. Healthy food can only come from a clean environment. For many years, Sweden has supported waste and water management and investments but also improved chemical management and reduced industrial pollution.

Swedish and EU support helped launch the start of waste recycling in 17 municipalities. We work closely with the Serbian Government, but also with local administrations, to develop reforms. We have this year launched several projects to strengthen Environmental democracy – engagements of businesses, civil society and young people in the environment and climate change. In our UNDP project Climate-Smart Bio-waste Challenge, we want to pave the way for a larger and climate-smart waste reform in Serbia – innovative business ideas for reducing food and green waste will be coming!

🔴 What possibilities exist for exchanges of experience, innovations and trade between Serbia and Sweden?

– Many! The EU has a strong focus on innovation and clean technologies, and Sweden is well advanced, while many good ideas are already developing in Serbia! At the Kopaonik Business Forum, we had a round-table discussion at which Swedish companies like IKEA and Tetra Pak shared their innovative solutions and showed how they work with sustainability in Serbia.

In the project Climate-Smart Bio-waste Challenge, we will place a special emphasis on exchanges of experience. Let’s see what ideas will come out of the innovation call that’s now open for applications in Serbia. And let’s not forget that Sweden imports delicious blueberries, raspberries and honey from Serbia!

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