The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic opened the Conference “Science Meets Parliaments” on National Science Day, saying that the objective of the debate at the National Assembly House is to draw attention to the importance of science in the legislative process.
“This is an important step forward in the cooperation and mutual understanding of politics and the scientific community so that they can work together to make Serbia a modern country that moves in step with the developed world” said Gojkovic, stressing that it is important that we as a society understand that science and innovation are the key factor of economic, social and overall development.
Gojkovic said that the National Assembly and the Government are committed to reform in the fields of science, education and technological development to set the groundwork for the development and improvement of the position of scientists and researchers.
Gojkovic reminded the attending that the Serbian Assembly had passed a new Law on Science and research two days ago to encourage the development of the field by providing security for researchers though a combined funding model – budgetary and project. The Parliament Speaker said that the first important step was taken in December last year when the Assembly, at the Government’s proposal, passed the Law on the Science Fund, setting up a new institution and providing young researchers with the first opportunity to develop their ideas.
Developed countries and those striving to become ones, provide ample funding for research, innovation and human resources recognizing that it is not an expense but an important investment, said Gojkovic stressing that she believes that Serbia is now following the same path by investing more into science and education, which is a source of realistic optimism.
Gojkovic also reminded the attending of the big investments into science and technology parks in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis that are vital for creating the much needed link between education and science and the economy and an incentive for young people to advance, improve and try their chances in Serbia.
“For the state, that means that the best and brightest will continue to work in the country and have the opportunity to help make Serbia more developed, modern and a leader in the region and beyond”, said Gojkovic, adding that one big success and result of the joint efforts of the scientific community and the state is Serbia joining CERN.
It is important to involve the scientific community, as much as possible, into addressing current issues, the goal being to open and encourage the much needed dialogue between the scientists and MPs at the National Assembly House, said Gojkovic pointing out that the challenges of climate change are a topic that deserve full attention and dedication especially in view of the recent floods caused by unexpected rainfall around the world.
“I believe it is time for Serbia to soon get a Law on Climate Change in view of our duties from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the need to harmonize the national legislation with the EU acquis, as well as the fact that our people are suffering more and more of the negative impact of climate change”, said Gojkovic, adding that she is ready to, as Chairperson of the Parliament’s Environmental Protection Committee, in addition to public debate, organize a public hearing on the law before the new legislation is put to Assembly debate because it is important to hear the voice of science.
The Conference at the Serbian Assembly is organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Centre for the Promotion of Science, to mark 10 July, National Science Day, with the topic renewable energy sources, climate change and water, air quality and greenhouse gases.
Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Mladen Sarcevic, minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy Prof. Dr Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Montenegrin Minister of Science Dr Sanja Damjanovic and EU Ambassador Sem Fabrizi also spoke at the opening of the Conference.