The United Nations Development Program UNDP, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, announced a Public Call to local governments, public and private companies, civil society organizations and scientific research institutions to develop and propose innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and start the fight against climate change.
Serbian Minister of Environment Goran Trivan said that Serbia is committed to its climate change mitigation and adaptation goals as well as to creating a society whose economy and development should become resilient to altered climate conditions.
In achieving these goals, local communities’ potentials have a major role, Trivan said in his opening statement at the gathering related to the project “Local development resilient to climate change”. But local governments, he added, despite some progress, still need a lot of work, investment and support to come their way. That is why the Ministry has launched this project.
The project itself could be considered as pioneering venture for several reasons, Trivan explained. “For the first time, we have funds from the national budget allocated for financing projects related to climate change, for the first time in Serbia there is a chance for local communities to launch their own creative forces and new ideas. Finally, we are initiating a change in the way of thinking so we can deal with the consequences of climate change in Serbia with creativity, innovation and greater advocacy”.
The project, set to run for five years, will spend USD 12 million on innovative solutions that contribute to GHG reduction, greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. It will also fund solutions in the fields of transportation, innovative business models, technical and technological innovations as well as the use of informational technology.
The Public Call consists of two challenges: Open Data Challenge and Innovation Challenge.
The goal of the first challenge is to identify shortcomings in the greenhouse gases emission monitoring in local communities throughout Serbia and design solutions that local communities could implement in order to establish quality and easily accessible (open) databases about GHG.
Second challenge is to propose solutions for reducing GHG emissions coming from the process of providing and using various public utility services, and at the same time to contribute to socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development of the communities.
Further details and application forms could be found here.
The UNDP deputy resident representative Steliana Nedera said that the Open Data Challenge is in line with digitization as development priority of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. She also said that the Public Call is designed to stimulate partnership work in response to the challenges.
In addition to the awards for best ideas and concepts, the participants of the challenges will receive continuous expert-advisory support, help to find sources of co-financing and promotion, Neder explained.
Ola Andersson from the Development Cooperation Section of Swedish Embassy in Serbia said that today’s problems in the field of environmental protection are the source of new jobs in the future.
What is expected
Solutions in software, technical and technological fields, and business models that best meet needs and priorities of local self-governments are expected in response to this Public Call.
Proposals should refer to energy, transport, waste management, agriculture and similar areas in which improvements could be achieved through: providing energy from renewable sources; development of “smart electricity networks”; improvement of waste management, recycling and production of energy from waste; energy-efficient public lighting; optimizing public transport and increasing the use of non-motorized modes of transport; introduction of sustainable systems for lighting, heating and cooling, energy efficiency of public buildings and households, etc.
Local development resilient to climate change project is implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Partners at the projects are the EU Delegation to the Republic of Serbia, the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Government of Switzerland, as well as other national partners such as the Innovation Fund and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
The project will contribute to achieving the national goals that the Republic of Serbia took over through the signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and through the process of accession to the European Union.