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Climate change adaptation in Serbia: the role of ınformation networks

Stupar, Aleksandra
Mihajlov, Vladimir
The importance of problems caused by global warming and increased GHG emissions have been recognised by the international community which responded to this challenge through a growing number of studies, agreements and policies dealing with climate change prevention, mitigation and adaptation. The shift to green economy is confirmed as the highest development aim, while establishing a balanced relationship between environmental policies, economic efficiency, technological upgrading and behavioural transition is one of main global assignments of our epoch. The importance of knowledge and innovations is also emphasised, while their availability, diffusion and exchange represent a key-reinforcement of green transition, especially in societies which are facing severe economic, social and environmental problems caused by sensitive local circumstances. The case of Serbia, which is the focus of this article, presents one of possible paths towards climate change adaptation, conditioned by more than two turbulent decades of the recent history of the country. Since democratic changes in 2000, environmental issues have become visible on institutional (governmental) level - through introduction of new environmental laws, research funding, preparation and implementation of specific documents or strategies, and on non-institutional (non-governmental) level - as different environmentally focused initiatives, usually supported by international, regional or local funds. However, on both levels information networks represent an inevitable structural ingredient, which enables a sustainable and locally adjusted approach to climate adaptation. Following global trends, information networks in Serbia are mainly used in the domain of public communication of climate changes, covering three major thematic areas of climate adaptability - human behaviour, ecological awareness and general efficiency. Considering all these specificities, the article provides a review of detected practices related to the use of information networks in climate change adaptation on both global and local level, stressing the possible benefits and limitations in the context of Serbia. The first part of the article introduces a global background of the problem of climate adaptation, summarising major environmental trends, research problems and policy responses, and emphasising the relation between climate change and urban(ised) environment. The second part is dedicated to the case of Serbia, focusing on three aspects - general condition of the environment, the legal framework and the perception/recognition of urban context and its environmental effects in recent development documents. The third part is focused on the relation between information networks, built environment/cities and climate changes, providing an overview of global trends and Serbian practice, while possible improvements of detected local weaknesses are given in the concluding part.