The business sector and civil society need to work together to monitor and support reforms during the European integration process, as well as work to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – this was a key message of the event, organized by the Belgrade Open School with the support of the Kingdom of Sweden.
At the Integration-Innovation event, business and civil sector representatives gathered to create new opportunities for the involvement of the two sectors in policymaking and advocacy. H.E. Jan Lundin, the Swedish Ambassador to Serbia and Vesna Đukić, Director General of the Belgrade Open School (BOS), officially opened the event on behalf of the organizers with numerous guests in attendance.
“So far, the cooperation between the two sectors has been reflected mainly through sponsorships and donations, and less through the pursuit of common, developmental goals and a joint approach to decision-makers and the general public. Many European examples demonstrate that major positive changes in society have been implemented through the cooperation of all three sectors of society, “said Vesna Đukić, BOS’ Director-General, who has been successfully engaged in developing human resources, promoting public policies and empowering the business, civil and public sectors for almost three decades now.
Ambassador Jan Lundin underlined the importance and opportunities that are created by establishing cooperation between business and civil sector.
“We need to create a common vision of what sustainable development means and make it concrete by defining the role of each actor – business, civil and public sector. This is why today’s meeting is of great importance for concretizing and creating a common vision. As soon as that is done, then it would be possible to fulfil it” Ambassador Lundin added.
The event introduced new models of cooperation between the civil and business sectors and analyzed the existing models in Europe and the world that apply to our country. The event guests were addressed by Ola Andersson, advisor at the Embassy of Sweden in Serbia, Nikolaus Hutter, founder of New Paradigm Ventures from Vienna, Dejan Turk, CEO of Vip mobile and A1 Slovenia and Milorad Bjeletić, Executive Director of the Belgrade Open Schools. They agreed that the cooperation between business and the civil sector was much needed to create and improve public policies that would benefit citizens the most.
“Civil society lacks profit, while the business sector lacks a greater impact on society. That is why the solution to these problems requires both sides because we are rapidly entering the world of changed rules. I think the business sector needs to wake up to this great opportunity. Civil society organizations, such as the BOS, play a very important role in the merger of the two sectors, and the business world is engaged for more important reasons than profit itself, “said Nikolaus Hutter, who had the opportunity to work on the cooperation between business and civil sector in several European countries.
The Belgrade Open School, as part of the project “Civil Society for the Advancement of Serbia’s Accession to the European Union”, which is implemented with the Swedish support, will continue to foster cooperation between the two sectors through a series of activities in order to launch new initiatives based on shared values.