The City of Pirot in Serbia has become the 13th local authority to join the Clean Air Regions Initiative, initiated by the Energy Community Secretariat.
The Clean Air Regions Initiative (CARI) incentivizes ambitious regions and communities in the contracting parties to take action in the sector of air quality on a voluntary basis and to achieve improvements via the introduction of measures such as domestic heating, industry, and traffic.
Pirot is now in the company of the six municipal authorities in BiH – Banovići, Kakanj, Maglaj, Tuzla, Živinice, Lukavac (BiH), two in Serbia – Novi Sad and Niš, two in Montenegro – Pljevlja and Podgorica, and one each in Albania and North Macedonia – Korça and Bitola, respectively.
Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues in the said contracting parties.
The initiative was launched in 2021
According to the Energy Community Secretariat, Pirot’s decision to become a part of this effort underscores its commitment to improving air quality for their residents and the environment, the secretariat said.
“l, the undersigned elected local representative of the City of Pirot, express my willingness to join the Clean Air Regions Initiative and to identify with the goals and aims as stipulated by the Clean Air Regions Declaration,” Mayor Vladan Vasić said in the document marking the local authority’s entry into the organization. Pirot is located in southeastern Serbia near the border with Bulgaria.
Nine cities and municipalities in the Western Balkans launched CARI at the first Energy Community Just Transition Forum in June 2021. Three joined the initiative at a later stage.
Local air quality plans as main goal
Mayors of the communities within CARI collectively agree to work towards creating, adopting, and maintaining local air quality plans and to implement corresponding measures to reduce air pollution within their respective areas.
Under the initiative, local authorities support and contribute to the achievement of its goals, share experiences and learn about progress of other regions and municipalities by participating in the secretariat’s events.
It is an open-ended initiative, allowing municipalities that align with its objectives to join voluntarily, the secretariat added.