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Regional News

Supporting the Green Economy transition in Eastern Europe

East European states were trained by UNEP this week on ways in which the transition to a Green Economy can continue to take place in their countries.

Held on 9-10 February in Romania’s Presidential Palace, government, civil society and business representatives from 19 countries attended an event to discuss existing and potential moves to support energy efficiency in buildings, green labelling and procurement and renewable energies for example.

“The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has truly provided new momentum for sustainable consumption and production, both as goal 12 [on responsible consumption] and in 12 other goals,” said Jan Dusik, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, at the event.

A regional eco-innovation centre or working group on SCP expertise could now be set up in the region as part of the 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), under which the meeting was held, he noted.

The countries shared success stories and challenges thus far and identified areas for future actions at both national and regional level.

Mr. Laszlo Borbely, Chairman of Committee for Foreign Policy of Romania, highlighted how building political will and empowering parliamentary action is key for the success of the SDGs. Awareness-raising among youths will be essential for changing mentalities and applying the goals on the ground over the next 15 years, he added.

Greater involvement of non-government stakeholders – and in particular the private sector – will be crucial for accelerating implementation of SCP and the overall 2030 agenda, said H.E. Christiana Pasca Palmer, the Romanian Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests.

Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) - synonymous with a Green Economy – should meanwhile feature prominently in the upcoming Environment for Europe conference of Ministers, she added.

Growth without harming the planet

The 10YFP programme aims to develop and replicate policies, tools and initiatives that promote sustainable consumption and production, eradicate poverty and decouple countries’ economic growth from environmental degradation.

Policies for supporting SCP in Eastern Europe can come under national strategies for sustainable development or the environment, as well as specific legislation such as on ecological areas. Some 124 countries have already appointed national 10YFP focal points worldwide.

This week’s event was organised together with Romania’s Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests and sponsored by the European Commission and the Federal Office of the Environment of the Swiss Federation.

For more information please contact katie.tuck@unep.org

(image: H.E. Christiana Pasca Palmer, Romanian Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, addresses delegates)


Warm solutions to decades-(c)old problem in Banja Luka

   




A new project to overhaul a district heating system in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka could save up to 20,000 tons of CO₂ each year and €4.5 million in heating costs. 

The new project launched in Banja Luka’s City Hall today will feed into an action plan for securing major efficiency gains for the city’s district heating system, bringing both financial and climate benefits.

The city’s heating network - the second-largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina - experiences significant losses during energy transport and end-use. Boilers used in the heating system currently have an average age of 35 years and lose up to 60% of generated heat, while poor insulation means that up to 40% of heat supplied is then lost in the district’s buildings. 

To tackle the problem, the City requested help from the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The project will conduct city-wide mapping of the energy flow in the heating system and identify leaks using an unmanned aerial drone equipped with a thermal camera. The potential efficiency gains discovered would feed into an action plan for modernising the heating system.

District heating is one of the biggest sources of GHG emissions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Initial calculations demonstrate that modernising the heating network could reduce fuel consumption by 27% or 4,500 tons of crude oil each year - corresponding to a reduction of 20,000 tons of CO₂ each year and €4.5m in fuel cost savings for the City. 

For more details please click here


New climate and air quality monitoring stations for Bosnia and Herzegovina

UNEP has opened two new air monitoring stations in Bosnia Herzegovina and brought two existing ones back to full function, significantly helping the country monitor climate and air quality in line with national and EU law and prevent further illnesses and deaths from outdoor pollution.

Thanks to the new and refurbished stations - located in the cities of Prijedor and Goražde - accurate data will be available to monitor climate changes and announce pollution alerts to the general public, as well as to measure the impact of policy measures to improve air quality. 

The move to boost air quality monitoring was announced at the Bosnia Herzegovina’s Parliamentary Assembly today in an event organised by UNEP together with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. 

For more details please click here.




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