As members of the Network of Energy Efficient Capital Cities in South-East Europe (NEEC SEE), representatives of the cities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Skopje, Podgorica, Tirana and Freiburg as a model city, gathered at the 7th Energy Week Zagreb.
The event was held in form of a working partner meeting and addressed, among other topics, the merging of two European Union initiatives – Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt, into the new integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative. The meeting highlighted the new twist in the global sustainable development agenda addressing the importance of the climate change aspect in reference to energy efficiency.
During the meeting it was announced that the new initiative is adopting the EU 2030 objectives and an integrated approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This, of course, poses new challenges for the members of the newly emerged joint initiative and calls for certain readjustments, including in reference to the development of the new action plans, which are to include the climate aspect.
The NEEC meeting, furthermore, saw a review of results in Southeastern Europe and discussion on challenges such as strengthening of the capacities of municipalities for planning and implementation of newly introduced Sustainable Climate and Energy Action Plans (SECAPs), the creation of more favourable energy and climate framework in SEE countries, ensuring of financial support (EU funds, public-private partnerships, ESCOs) and conducting awareness raising on local, national and regional level. Dubravka Bošnjak, representative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationalle Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE), reiterated that the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy brings together local and regional authorities who voluntarily commit to implementing EU’s climate and energy objectives on their territory. They commit to developing SECAPs for 2030 and to implementing local activities relevant for the topic of climate change mitigation and adaptation, she stressed and used the opportunity to invite all signatories that have previously committed to the European 2020 targets or to Mayors Adapt to also sign up to the 2030 targets.
The host of the meeting was the City of Zagreb. The organization of the meeting was supported by the GIZ ORF-EE.