Šumadija and Western Serbia Regional Stakeholder Group kicks-off
Representatives of 11 private and public institutions active in the non-wood forest product (NWFP) sector attended the first Šumadija and Western Serbia stakeholder meeting on June 12 in Belgrade. As part of StarTree’s stakeholder engagement activities, initial stakeholder meetings are currently taking place in each of the 14 case study regions.
The theme of the Šumadija and Western Serbia meeting was “Cooperation between public and private (SME) sector in the area of NWFPs”. On the agenda was the presentation of the StarTree project, the importance and objectives of the stakeholder engagement process and discussion on the current state and main problems in the cooperation between private and public institutions as well as the main challenges and opportunities of the NWFP sector in Serbia.
The meeting started with short participant introductions and the presentation of the StarTree project, its objectives and main activities. The stakeholders expressed their interest in the project and their willingness to participate and actively contribute to its activities.
The group discussed the importance of NWFPs for the development of the forestry sector in Serbia, the current consideration of NWFPs in forest management, the state of the NWFP market in Serbia, and the legal and institutional framework of the sector.
Meeting participants agreed that the NWFP sector could play an important role in the development of the forest sector in Serbia. However, the NWFP sector is not well organised and as such is not considered an important generator of business opportunities and promoter of rural development. Furthermore, weak collaboration between public and private institutions, and complicated administrative procedures are also factors inhibiting the smooth development of the sector.
The general consensus was that the StarTree project could significantly contribute to establishing more fluent dialogue between the main actors in the NWFP sector in Serbia.
All photographs by Djordje Grubic.