25. December 2023.
In a bid to strengthen and expand its longstanding partnership with foreign embassies and bilateral chambers, NALED hosted a meeting on December 21 at its premises. The gathering introduced the fourth edition of the BFC SEE Standard with the aim of fostering dialogue and establishing an external monitoring role for the future implementation of the BFC standard.
The workshop brought together representatives from foreign embassies and bilateral chambers, emphasizing the commitment to enhance the business environment in the SEE region. NALED, known for its decade-long efforts in advocating and facilitating reforms for sustainable socio-economic development, considers the BFC program as one of its flagship initiatives.
President of the Executive Board of NALED, Dejan Đokić, warmly welcomed all participants and informed the participants of the importance of the BFC SEE Program to the local economic development. In his opening speech, Đokić disclosed the standards revision process and its alignment with trends in the economy market, thereby enabling uniform development of the region. He emphasized that the Executive Board of NALED, comprising of influential representatives of private and public sectors, as the main patron of the BFC SEE Program will continue to provide guidance and all the necessary help in order to continue the development of the whole region through this systematic approach.
Executive director of NALED, Violeta Jovanović, introduced the participants with CORE Partnership - a network, established in 2012, where the BFC program operates as a unique platform for improving competitiveness in SEE. The network, comprising over 20 members from Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Podgorica, Skopje, Belgrade, Tirana, Prishtina and Rijeka, collaborates with various stakeholders, including chambers of commerce, associations of municipalities, development agencies, line ministries, civil society organizations, and academic institutions.
The director of the department for good governance and projects, Ana Ilić, presented the novelties of the fourth edition of the standard, which, among other things, includes criteria related to digitization, circular economy and social responsibility. After that, a discussion was opened on the subject of the inclusion of embassies and bilateral chambers in their support to the BFC SEE program.
During the discussion, the representatives showed interest in supporting the Program through the promotion to their members, but also through the external monitoring roll. This would have the potential to significantly benefit foreign economic partners and, thus, can contribute to the further development of economic cooperation between cities/municipalities and international partners. We believe that coordinated efforts will amplify the positive effects of the BFC SEE program on the conditions of doing business across Serbia and the Western Balkans.
In January, another meeting will be held to include other representatives to make sure that all interested parties are included and informed about the BFC SEE Program, and to hear their opinion on how they can support the Program and continue to work on developing good practices in the SEE region.
NALED expressed anticipation for continued collaboration with its partners and looks forward to furthering the success of the BFC SEE program in the region.