The regional conference on Green Economy

Highlights from the Regional Conference “Green Economy and Sustainable Development”

Project PartnerOn the 27th-28th of May 2021, EDEN Center held the regional conference “Green Economy and Sustainable Development” via the Zoom platform, organised as a set of diverse sessions, with interesting panellists and speakers from the region.

The purpose of the conference was to provide a space for interaction and to provide a space for interaction and to share knowledge, good practices and vision to enhance CSOs involvement in the transition to a green economy; to foster networking of actors, CSOs and youngsters to improve the environment and mechanisms for state-civil dialogue at all levels; to build bridges of future initiatives for the green shift of the region; and to raise public awareness about the importance of environment protection, green economy, green entrepreneurship and sustainable development.

On two days, the regional conference was attended by more than +93 participants from the Western Balkan countries, where more than +30 panellists joined the panels of discussions, where their standpoints and insights based on their experience and work were shared with the others.

The first day of the regional conference was focused on the integration of green economy principles into the policy-making, governing, and profit sector for the sustainable development of the region.

The conference was opened with the welcoming remarks of Mrs Ornela Cuci, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who stressed the importance of environmental institutions synergy among Western Balkan country in the function of sustainable development of the region. The welcoming remark of Mrs Cuci was followed with the welcoming remark of Mr Edvin Pacara, Programme Officer, environment, Climate and energy, at the Delegation of the European Union to Albania, who emphasized that the Green Agenda will allow Western Balkan countries to embark on the green transition at the same time and build capacities for an economy model based on green and circular economy principles.

In the following of welcoming remarks, the 1st session “Western Balkan Green Agenda – The new perspective of Green Economy in the Region” took the spotlight, with a panel of discussion composed of key stakeholders engaged in local and international level of green and environmental policy-making, such as representatives from CAN Europe, European Environmental Buro (EEB), WWF Adria, CEE Bankwatch, FORS Montenegro. During the first panel, the points that were addressed were – the opportunities and challenges of the EU-funded Green Agenda for the Western Balkan and the importance of acting collectively with joint efforts.

The 2nd session of the conference “Circular Economy – the business green shift, challenges and opportunities” was thoroughly focused on the profit sector, with a different narrative and context. At the beginning of this session, an overview of business models that applies Circular Economy principles to the country, followed by a panel of discussion with role-model cases, who integrate green principles into their business. The main outcomes that were discussed among the panellists were the advantages that their business have gained by integrating green principles, in terms of social, environmental and economic aspects.

The 3rd session of the conference “Sustainable Development at the local level – Governing with green economy principles” headed the discussion on the meaningful role that the local governance plays in promoting the green economy and which are the opportunities to enhance their role in this process. The panel of discussion was shared with key experts in the country. During the discussion, the points that were stressed by the panellists was the lack of capacities on H&R, infrastructures and policies (incentives)

The 2nd day of the regional conference was focused on the “Youth and CSOs engagement for the green shift in the Balkans”.

The 1st session of the second day “Environmental CSOs networking for a sustainable region” opened on the 2nd of the conference. The panel was composed of key national and regional environmental CSOs networks who shared their insights based on their experience on how the synergy among CSOs influence environmental policy-making and the promotion of green economic models. The panel also collectively emphasized the impact that coordinated actions could bring, by demonstrating it with different cases of their network portfolio.

In the following, the 2nd session “Youth networking for Green Economy in the Balkans” brought youth experts focused on sustainable development and green economy, youth workers and youth environmental activists involved in empowering youth of the region with green skills and knowledge. The panellists interacted and shared their perspective on youth involvement and role in promoting sustainable development.

And last but not at least, the conference was closed with the “Youth leading for sustainable development policies and actions” session, composed of Young European Ambassadors (YEA) from 5 different Western Balkan countries. In this session, YEA shared their vision for the Balkan in 2050 and they addressed their message to the decision-makers. Besides, in this session, other issues were elaborated, such as – the opportunities that Green Agenda offer to young people to turn environmental challenges into opportunities, the lack of environmental intergenerational decision-making and vision on long-term.
In the end, the conference was closed with closing remarks of Mrs Ermelinda Mahmutaj, Executive Director, EDEN Center.

The agenda of the regional conference can be found here and more information for the invited panellists can be found here

Watch the recorded videos of the online conference at the zoom platform through EDEN center facebook page

  1. 1st day, 27 May: (a); (b)
  2. 2nd day, 28 May

This activity came as part of the “Green Economy for an Advanced Region” project, funded by the European Union and implemented by FORS Montenegro in partnership with EDEN centre from Albania, SMART Kolektiv from Serbia, Centre for support and development from B&H, EKO Svest from Macedonia and Association Slap from Croatia.