02/01/2024 | Projects

Sustainability in Fashion and Food Industry as a part of the EU Green Deal and the UN Agenda 2030 strategies, and the role of Western Balkans

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Sustainability stands as a pressing concern in our times, striving to enhance the quality of life through its core pillars - environmental, social, and economic aspects. Achieving sustainability necessitates the collective pursuit of sustainable objectives, ones that should be embraced as a universal responsibility. This pursuit isn't confined to specific industries but must permeate all sectors, notably the fashion and food industries, given their substantial consumption patterns.

This initiative aims to cultivate a shared theoretical and practical foundation on sustainability within the realms of fashion and food industries. Its goal is to raise awareness among diverse stakeholders, fostering innovative production methods. By advocating for sustainable mindsets and practices, we aspire to cultivate a lifestyle that aligns with initiatives like the EU Green Deal, UN Agenda 2030, and EUSAIR.

Presently, a significant challenge lies in the rampant overconsumption facilitated by an inundation of products in the market. This excessive consumption contributes to waste generation throughout the product life cycle - from production and logistics to eventual disposal - culminating in widespread pollution. It's crucial for individuals in the WB region to comprehend the repercussions of irresponsible production and consumption, and actively engage in steering towards a more sustainable future. WBAA members and prospective students we recognized as good local as well as regional ambassadors of sustainable development.

The key activity of this WBAA project was definitely high-profile international conference, orchestrated by the Western Balkans Alumni Association, centered on Sustainability in Fashion and Food Industries within the Western Balkans, as part of the EU's Green Agenda, EUSAIR, and the UN's Agenda 2030. This event convened at Hotel Ambasador in Niš, Serbia, on February 25th, 2023.

Under the guidance of regional project coordinators Tatjana Spahiu (WBAA Chapter Albania) and Mladen Mitic (WBAA Chapter Serbia), alongside support from WBAA Regional Board Member Milan Stojanovic, the event successfully brought together 21 WBAA members from across the region, over 20 prospective local students, and representatives from NGOs, local enterprises, and other pertinent stakeholders. The event was further enriched by the presence of esteemed professors from Greece and Bulgaria.

The primary objective was to underscore the significance of sustainability in fashion and food industries, emphasizing the EU Green Deal, UN Agenda 2030, and the necessity for collaborative efforts, both regionally and internationally, to achieve these objectives. Additionally, the project aimed to spotlight WBAA and EU-funded mobility programs, providing a platform for student mentorship guided by WBAA activists.

Furthermore, attendees had the opportunity to explore the city of Niš with a professional guide and relish the delights of traditional ethnic cuisine from southern Serbia.

Tatjana Kosova

Albania, Tirana, 22th December 2023