Implementation of climate change strategies - a challenge for Kosovo

27 September 2018 - The European Union Office in Kosovo and Balkan Green Foundation (BGF), within the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) during the "Climate Diplomacy Week 2018" organized a roundtable discussion on the topic: "Is Kosovo Ready to Tackle Climate Change?"

In the opening speech, Balkan Green Foundation's Executive Director Visar Azemi stated that the issue of climate change is a reality that is haunting Kosovo every day. According to Azemi, Kosovo, though small, has the potential and the obligation to significantly reduce the release of greenhouse gases and to be an example in the region for the adoption of new and innovative technology for the production and consumption of clean energy.

The roundtable was divided into two discussion panels where the first panel discussed legislative coherence and gaps in executing the implementation of strategic plans on climate change.

Ivana Mijatović Cernos of DG CLIMA, European Commission, said that although Kosovo is not a signatory to the Paris Agreement, it should devote itself to reducing emissions, setting new policies on climate change, and building technical capacity - paving the way for economic, social and environmental development in the country.

Representing the Ministry of European Integration, Ilir Muçaj stated that Kosovo's main challenge is the inability to be part of international mechanisms, but climate change is included in government-drafted programs as Kosovo has the obligation to adopt state policies in step with trends and directives set by the European Union.

Further, Rinora Gojani from Balkan Green Foundation, stated that Kosovo has a long way in terms of integration into the European Union, as there are obvious delays in implementing the regulations that the EU is drafting. Further, Gojani said pressure should be made in pushing forward the implementation of global warming combating strategies, strengthening the necessary state actions, and prioritizing climate change topics.

On the other hand, Avni Sfishta from GIZ said that on behalf of the German Government, GIZ is supporting Kosovo in the field of energy efficiency, stressing that energy efficiency and renewable resources, in addition to positive effects, create a labor market and contribute to reducing impacts as a result of climate change.

Further, the second panel discussed the key challenges and actions needed to mitigate climate change in Kosovo, discussing key opportunities and obstacles to prevent further environmental degradation.

Avdulla Alija from University of Prishtina said that the constant challenge to address the topic of climate change is the lack of scientific research, figures, and facts on the subject in Kosovo. According to him, much work must be done not only in the adoption of strategies but also in the research and study of their effects on the environment and society.

Further, Chad Briggs, from RIT Kosovo said that the lack of data on the current state of the environment and climate change should be taken into account - which makes it difficult for the process of drafting appropriate energy and environmental policies in a structured and continuous manner.

Also part of the panel was Trim Ilazi from PEN NGO, who stated that air pollution (especially in the autumn/winter season) is alarming in every area. Ilazi said that it is necessary to raise awareness and social culture about air pollution and the environment and that efforts should be made to influence the institutions responsible for taking adequate action to minimize climate change in the country.

In the open discussion, representatives from local institutions and civil society organizations agreed that it is essential for the general public to be informed about the importance of taking adequate measures to effectively tackle climate change - which is creating critical social and natural challenges across the globe.

For the second time, "Climate Diplomacy Week 2018" is an initiative organized by the European Union Office in Kosovo, aimed at raising awareness of climate change and mitigating the negative trends in climate change in Kosovo.

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