With students at the helm, Serbia is mobilizing in the fight against climate change. University of Belgrade students have been protesting and taking action during the week of Sustainable Development that took place from May 6-10.
Climate change and air pollution are one of the most burning issues of today. Global warming and air pollution are threats to biodiversity, health, sustainable development as well as national and international security. Recognizing the seriousness that climate change poses for survival, the United Nations Council has organized an emergency session dealing with climate change issues on a global scale. At a session held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 23, 2019, the UN Secretary-General invited government representatives and decision makers to take into account the views and ideas of young people, he wrote in his op-ed in the Guardian.
The climate protests launched in Belgium in January after the speech of a fifteen-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg quickly gained global attention. Youth around the world united to raise awareness of the governments to make plans on how to prevent further destruction of the environment.
The first ecological protest in Serbia
The first ecological protest of this type in Serbia was held on January 25 as an initiative of students to preserve the Stara Planina rivers. In the coming months, ecological protests, organized by the students of faculty of Biology and ecology as well as the other faculties in Serbia, took place in several cities including Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis, and many others.
A week of sustainable development was held from May 6-10 at University of Belgrade in Belgrade, Serbia. With the main aim to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment, this event was an amazing opportunity for students to present their own eco-friendly ideas as well as listen to lectures, take part in debates and many more.
What happened to the Paris Agreement?
This week of sustainable development at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade attracted great attention from the ambassador of Denmark and the French ambassador who took part in ecological action and planted trees in the courtyard of the faculty. The event was enhanced by a film screening of students of the master program of environmental politics, as well as a lecture on the Paris Agreement.
On the other hand, law school students have had the opportunity to participate in the program of creating and implementing environmental law laws within the traditional “School of Environmental Law”, which is held every year at this faculty. With the help of the OSCE Mission in Serbia as well as UNDP offices, participants of this interactive seminar had a unique opportunity to apply law and policy knowledge and draft legislation on sustainable development, as well as a series of documents on climate change and its impact on international security, as well as the future of Serbia.
The Draft Law on Improving Sustainable Development in Local Communities will be forwarded to the Ministry of Environmental Protection which will be considered in the future, while students participating in the School of Environmental Law will spend the following period working on projects within the UNDP Office in Serbia
Besides educational institutions, some international organizations who are operating in Serbia also took part in Sustainability Week. The EU info center, just one of many organizations that seek to promote European politics and the organization of numerous forms of non-formal education in Serbia, which aim to empower European values. It also works to educate young people about the many opportunities that activism offers to them both in the local community and in other European countries.
In addition to educational workshops for students, various competitions have been organized in order to give those who have ideas or projects an opportunity to present their works in a unique way.
Students have been working hard to raise awareness and take action on climate change, hopefully, politicians will listen and follow suit.