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The Youth forum of the European Movement in Serbia has organised in conjunction with the EU info centre a public debate on the topic of “Young, Green, but Experienced: Green Practices in Serbia”. Over 60 young and interested people had the opportunity to hear the opinions and ask questions to the speakers; Marko Vujić, assistant at the Faculty of Political Science, Žaklina Živković from the Group for analysis and creation of public policy and Dušica Trnavac Bogdanović from the organisation of Young explorers of Serbia. The moderator of the debate was a member of the Youth forum, Anastasija Pejović. The assembly was concluded with a message of the necessity of additional involvement of the youth in green initiatives and activities to raise awareness regarding the importance of green practices in Serbia.

The discussion was opened by Marko Vujić as he evaluated the fact that much has been done by the Republic of Serbia regarding ecological practices in terms of regulations, while, lamentably, the situation is entirely different in practice. More precisely, the state has developed numerous strategies, while very little from them is truly implemented. Furthermore, Vujić reiterated a number of times that he holds that the state has to stand behind a serious and thoroughly thought-out ecological policy, to whose creation, but also implementation and assessment a systemic approach must be taken.

Žaklina Živković explained that green practices represent a broad term that encompasses not only ecology and other scientific disciplines as for instance agriculture, energetics, human rights etc. “Apart from this, green policy is a manner of thinking, a manner of organisation, and also a manner of production”, she said and stating that she believes that any change must begin with the citizens, that it is paramount that every individual start from him/herself, his/her close surrounding, by questioning his/her habits and putting in motion new initiatives.

Dušica Trnavac Bogdanović talked about the importance of civil society for policy regarding the protection of the environment. She explained that organisations of civil society cannot create public policy, but can assess them and comment, and through this influence their development, which represents an equally important aspect of the process of social change and the raising of public awareness.

The moderator Anastasija Pejović subsequently asked about the current state of green practices in Serbia, Žaklina Živković said that the best solution was local activism, as well as decision-making at a local level, which has been attempted in Serbia in a couple of occasions. However, it was concluded that the units of local governments did not have enough capacity, which returned decision-making on questions of the environment to the central level and thus caused ecological policy in Serbia to regress. From time to time we see local initiatives and protests, they are, however, caused by ecological incidents, hence making it impossible to talk about a green practice. Žaklina concluded that we remain a passive society in regards to ecology.

Marko Vujić solidified his argument that investment in education, formal as well as informal, is necessary to allow us to learn more, and thus raise our awareness of ecological problems, and possible solutions. He found that young people have lately shown great interest in education about the environment, stating that the Master’s programme on ecological policy at the Faculty of Political Science is one of the most demanded at the University of Belgrade. He concluded that it is necessary to introduce a new subject that would deal with the subjects of environmental protection in primary and high schools, but also at Universities.


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