The conference “Transition Countries and Water as a Factor of Stability” was held on September 7 and 8, 2016 at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was organized by Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources (JCI), in collaboration with UESCO Category II Center “Water for Sustainable Development and Adaptation to Climate Change” (WSDAC) and PUC Belgrade Waterworks and Sewerage.
The conference was formally opened by Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, president of the Republic of Serbia. During the opening ceremonies, academician Vladimir Kostić, president of SASA; Dr. Milan Dimkić, director general of JCI and professor at the University of Novi Sad/Faculty of Technical Sciences; Dr. Soontak Lee, professor of Yeungnam University, governor of the World Water Council (WWC) and chair of the International Hydrologic Environmental Society; and Mrs. Nataša Milić, director of the National Water Directorate at the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection made keynote presentations.
The goal of the conference was to examine the priorities, challenges and needs of integrated water management at different levels – global, regional and local, with a special focus on countries with transition economies.
The gathering was organized to initiate activities aimed at strengthening water governance, human resources and financial and educational systems, so that they are able to respond to water sector challenges.
On the first day (September 7th) at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the conference agenda included topics related to international cooperation in the field of water, water management issues of transition countries, and experiences of international water organizations, programs and initiatives in various Danube countries and Serbia, as well as topics related to financing and other economic aspects of the management of water and other natural resources. The speakers were distinguished domestic and international experts in the fields of economics and water management, university professors and academicians (UNESCO, JCI, Vienna Waterworks, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River – ICPDR, SASA, Council of Danube Countries and Regions, Water Management Institute of BOKU University – Austria, European Commission – Joint Research Centre, and Danube Strategy – Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
On the second day (September 8th) at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Economy, the agenda included topics relating to spending on and investment in water management in Serbia, such as: project preparation and implementation, financing of water sector projects, potential sources of funding, and needed steps to upgrade the water sector in its water supply, sanitation, flood protection and other segments. The speakers were domestic and international experts in
the fields of economics and water management (Serbian Ministry of Finance, JCI, PUC Belgrade Waterworks and Sewerage, Kladovo Municipality, independent consultants, and the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area – IAWD).
Specialists and scientists from Serbia in the fields of water management and economics, attendees from construction and consulting companies (JCI, Energoprojekt), government officials, representatives from public utilities (Belgrade Waterworks and Sewerage and other water supply utilities from Serbia), and experts and scientists from western European countries (Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Hungary) and South Korea also made presentations at the conference.
The gathering was attended by representatives from SASA, the Serbian Academy of Engineering Sciences, the Serbian Ministry of Finance, the Serbian Ministry of External Affairs, the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, a number of embassies in Serbia, and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Economy. The conference also attracted a large number of water sector companies and was attended by representatives from water utilities and water management companies across Serbia (Šabac, Obrenovac, Leskovac, Sremska Mitrovica, Kladovo, Čačak, Zaječar, Novi Kneževac, Belgrade, Užice, Lebane, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Grdelica, and Sombor), as well as Serbia Waters, Waters of Vojvodina, JCI, Energoprojekt and other companies operating in the water sector, and scientists, researchers and students from the universities of Belgrade and Novi Sad.
The conference was held under the auspices of the president of the Republic of Serbia, the Serbian Government, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Serbian Academy of Engineering Sciences, the Serbian Water Pollution Control Society, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD), the Association for Water Technology and Sanitary Engineering, and the Waterworks and Sewerage Association of Serbia.