Belgrade, 12 March 2020 – The Kopaonik Business Forum, the country’s most influential economic gathering, this year focused on Industry 4.0 and related issues: the challenges of the future. It was attended by 1,300 participants including the Prime Minister and ministers of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, high-level representatives of the business community, university professors, representatives of the non-governmental sector and international institutions. More than 120 journalists reported from the event.
The organizer of the Forum, the Serbian Association of Economists, accepted UNICEF’s proposal for children and young people to be represented at the Kopaonik Business Forum in 2021. UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Regina De Dominicis, opened her address to the participants on the last and most attended day of the Forum by saying that:
“Young people around the world are letting us know that this is their time and their future. They are the ones initiating the changes they want to see. With that in mind, we should take note of the fact that the voices of young people were lacking at this important gathering. It will be a great honour for UNICEF to find a way, together with our dear partners from the Serbian Association of Economists, to include them in this important event next year”.
The idea was openly endorsed by the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and the Minister of Youth and Sports who participated in the panel with the UNICEF Representative in Serbia.
UNICEF highlighted the challenges faced by children and young people today, focusing on environmental degradation, the learning crisis and population dynamics. UNICEF used this opportunity to share evidence of problems, as well as of opportunities being provided by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, giving examples of solutions tested and applied in the ongoing reform processes, especially in Serbia, by leveraging the power of innovation and partnerships.
Regina De Dominicis praised the vibrant IT start-up ecosystem in Serbia and its keen interest in contributing to social good, as demonstrated by the high rate of response from teams from Serbia to the last UNICEF Innovation Fund call, as well as by the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (https://startupgenome.com/reports/).
The Serbian part of the report was carried out by Digital Serbia (https://www.dsi.rs/en/members/), with support from UNICEF and the Ministry of Innovation. At the end of the address, UNICEF urged all participants - Government ministers, representatives of state institutions, the business sector, international institutions, civil society, and the media to prioritise investment and actions for and with children and young people.
“Innovations, as the driving force behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution, have an incredible, almost unlimited potential to reach more children and young people in new ways. Not only through technology, but also through creating new partnerships, new ways of working, new funding sources, and new ways to identify and accelerate promising platforms, so I urge all of us to connect and accelerate results for the benefit of children and young people”, said Regina De Dominicis.
Addressing the participants at the closing of the Forum, Aleksandar Vlahovic, President of the Serbian Association of Economists, called on all participants to support UNICEF and to join its Call for Action.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia