Digitally-enabled Development for a Sustainable Future in Eastern Europe

This JRC Report is based on the materials and presentations delivered during theinternational conference on “Digitally-enabled Development for a Sustainable Future in Eastern Europe”, convened in Vrdnik, the Republic of Serbia between 18 and 20 September 2019.

Digital technologies are profoundly changing our societies. They affect innovation in all sectors of the economy, including traditional ones such as agriculture, but also industries and services. Emerging trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and data together with standards and digital platforms that altogether act as key enablers for digital innovation. At the same time, innovation cycles are accelerating, services innovation is gaining importance and collaborative innovation matters even more. Sector-specific dynamics are driven by differences in opportunities such technologies offer for innovation in products, processes and business models, as well as differences in the types of data needed for innovation and the conditions for digital technology adoption (Paunov, 2019). Digital technologies act as a catalyst to development and, if harnessed, can help reverse negative trends in the Eastern European region. Still, good practices are fragmented and rooted to a particular often local context, which does not permit the region to fully benefit from the multitude of opportunities.

Considering those bounding conditions, the organizers of the conference brought together a variety of stakeholders, representing the public sector, civil society, academia, and business, in order to (i) exchange good practices, (ii) establish partnerships, and ultimately learn from each other. The phenomenon of digital transformation is very broad, therefore, the attention of the event focused on the following domains: regional and spatial planning, next-generation farming, smart cities and governance of land tenure. Within this context, the international conference on “Digitally-enabled Development for a Sustainable Future in Eastern Europe”, co-organised by the Republic Geodetic Authority (RGA), European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC JRC), the World Bank (WB), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN GGIM) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), was convened in Vrdnik, Republic of Serbia, from 18-20 September 2019. The Conference was opened by the Honourable Minister Nenad Popović, Minister Responsible for Innovation and Technological Development, and hosted by the Republic Geodetic Authority, the conference included more than 200 participants from 20 countries, and international organisations. With more than 40 speakers contributing, participants discussed the impacts of digital technologies from global, regional, national, and local perspectives; and provided examples demonstrating digital transformation and good practices in Eastern Europe, with a focus on sustainable data sharing and utilisation. These examples were framed by progress on, and the linkages between, the emerging Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF), the INSPIRE Directive, and National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDIs) being developed and managed by countries.

The highlights of the 31 presentations of the event are included in this JRC report, emphasising the focal and the common points among the core topics of the conference. The content of the report is divided into the following four groups of abstracts:

  • Transformative technologies. This part starts with an overview of disruptive technologies followed by topics related to geospatial intelligence, blockchain, artificial intelligence applications in agriculture, and ends with an abstract related to digital transformation and data-driven innovation in the EU.
  • Integrated Geospatial Information Framework and INSPIRE. The second part of the report covers novelties related to the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE), the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF) in general, its linkages to INSPIRE, and the progress in the establishment of NSDIs in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
  • Digital transformation in Serbia. Part three provides good examples of digital transformation in Serbia in the public sector with an emphasis on emerging practices in the Republic Geodetic Authority and from the private sector showing examples of digital transformation in agriculture.
  • Digital transformation – Good practices from Eastern Europe. The final group covers several concrete examples of digital transformation related to blockchain, smart cities, agriculture, education, cybersecurity, video identification and NSDI in Eastern Europe, including Serbia, Republic of North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro,

Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin on May 6, 2020
Modified on May 6, 2020