Serbia country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
Serbia has long been striving to integrate environmental protection and conservation objectives into several sectoral policies. The overall goal of all these activities is to support sustainable growth in Serbia, which will encourage innovation and competitiveness, protect the environment and health while ensuring that no one is left behind (Republic of Serbia, 2019).

Achieving the SDGs in Serbia is indivisible from the process of its accession to the EU. Set out in the National Plan for Adoption of the EU Acquis from 2018 to 2021, special attention is paid to harmonization with the EU acquis, international standards, and implementation of agreements on six priority areas, including agriculture, environmental protection and climate change as well as  energy and industry (Republic of Serbia, 2019). 

Serbia’s action towards SDGs with an environmental dimension focuses mainly on SDGs 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15.

According to a public survey, many young people in Serbia (80 %) believe that environmental protection should be among the government’s key priorities. In discussions and the overall prioritization process of the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2019 and 2020 programming, the key areas identified for support in the coming years are environmental protection and climate change. Furthermore, there is a special focus on continuing the investments in infrastructure for processing waste as well as those in the reconstruction and modernization of public facilities as part of efforts to improve energy efficiency (SDGs 2, 6, 7, 9, 12 and 13). In addition, Serbia considers the preservation of biodiversity (SDG 15)  as the most important SDG with an environmental dimension as it poses an obligation towards both the present and future generations. The country also recognizes that circular economy plays a major role in supporting SDG action, particularly on SDGs 9, 11, 12 and 13 (Republic of Serbia, 2019). 

At the local level, due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, emergency management and local resilience to natural disaster risk reduction are becoming a priority among the local communities (SDGs 11, 13). A possible mechanism for achieving greater sustainability in cities is ‘local green councils’ to assist in decision-makers in respect of local acts affecting environmental protection (Republic of Serbia, 2019).

Serbia submitted a VNR to the UN in 2019.

Serbia established an Interministerial Working Group with representatives from the relevant ministries and tasked with proposing guidelines and measures for achieving the 2030 Agenda (UNECE, 2016). 


Republic of Serbia, 2019, Voluntary National Review of The Republic of Serbia on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Republic of Serbia, accessed 13 November 2019.

UN DESA, 2019, ‘Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – Documents and Reports’, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA, accessed 29 November 2019.

UNECE, 2016, Planning, implementation, follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland, accessed 29 November 2017.


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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