In the course of the OSCE PA Autumn Meeting held on 4-6 October in Marrakech, the members of the Serbian delegation took active part in debate of the Mediterranean Forum.
The delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, headed by Stefana Miladinovic, comprised MPs Dusica Stojkovic, Vesna Markovic and Branimir Jovanovic.
This year’s Mediterranean Forum was attended by over 200 parliamentarians from 56 OSCE member states and partners, as well as many observers and guests. The theme of the Autumn Meeting was “Promoting Security Across the Euro-Mediterranean Region: The Role of the OSCE and its Partners”.
The meeting was opened by keynote speeches by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli and the President of the House of Councillors of the Kingdom of Morocco Hakim Benchamach.
The OSCE parliamentarians discussed the economic connectivity of the Mediterranean region, climate change and migrations, the Mediterranean region’s cooperation with African countries and combating religious extremism.
In the course of the meeting, as the OSCE Special Rapporteur on Digital Agenda, the Head of the National Assembly’s standing delegation Stefana Miladinovic spoke about the importance of the digitalization process in modern society, with a special focus on the OSCE member states.
“Digitalization affects all spheres of life. It brings a qualitative change into society and a new way of acting and thinking. Unfortunately, some parts of the world still underestimate the importance of digitalization despite some factors’ efforts to raise awareness on it. I dare say that the corporate and service sector are more open to new digital solutions. Awareness of the importance of this process does exist at the institutional level, however, the implementation could be faster”, said Stefana Miladinovic.
At the panel on climate change, MP Dusica Stojkovic presented the National Assembly’s work on the adoption of a legislative framework concerning the issue.
“No region in the world is spared climate change, some are affected more some less. Serbia is subject to more days of extreme heat, danger of floods and forest fires, decimation of forests and increased energy needs for cooling. As an EU candidate, Serbia has a lot to do in this area. By adopting the Climate Change Strategy it finally set up the national strategic and political framework to combat climate change in line with its international obligations and goals to decrease greenhouse gases. Serbia’s activities on adapting to climate change have been recognized and we hope that our response would contribute to a faster and more comprehensive organization of an adaptation system.”
MP Branimir Jovanovic took part in the ad hoc committee on combating terrorism.
“One of our tasks should be to pass laws that would cut off the channels that provide funding for terrorist organizations. Two decades ago, in Serbia we had the misfortune of seeing the people on the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metohija fall victim to terrorist attacks, so we know how important it is to combat terrorism”, said Branimir Jovanovic.
In the panel on “Combating Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief”, MP Vesna Markovic spoke about the tradition of religious tolerance in the Republic of Serbia, drawing attention to the violations of the right of the Serb community to use Cyrillic script and the usurpation of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in some countries of South-East Europe.
“We cannot speak of prejudice against one religious community. In some of our neighbouring countries, Serbs face serious violations of human rights - the right to language, script and religion. We are facing a usurpation of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church. We just wish that these countries apply the same principles we apply towards their nationals. We have to promote diversity because multiculturalism is the biggest civilizational value”, said Vesna Markovic.