23 April 2021
Balkan Green Foundation’s Programmes and Operations Manager, Rinora Gojani, took part on the ‘CoopAIRation: Air Quality and Energy Transition in Kosovo and Serbia’ debate organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Prishtinë and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Beograd.
The discussion brought together two speakers, Ms. Gojani and Mirko Popovic from Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) in Belgrade, in this debate where the aim of the discussion was to provide an overview of the key challenges as well as to present possible modalities for enhancing cooperation in tackling the issues resultant of air pollution.
Throughout the debate, listed as the key contributing factors in the exacerbation of air pollution in both Kosovo and Serbia, but also the region, were the heavy reliance on fossil fuels, both for energy production and household heating, significant pollution in urban areas, as well as lack of data and information on the quality of air.
Uniformly, the speakers underscored that reducing the emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases is a priority which is strongly interlinked with existing energy, transport, economic and health policies, among others, and that change is needed to alter and create a basis that will lead advancement and the betterment of the present situational state of affairs.
They also underlined the prevailing non-compliance to the obligations of the countries of the region signatory to the Energy Community Treaty, but also non-adherence of the national legislations and policies that are in place in favour of a just transition to a cleaner and healthier environment. In this regard, Ms. Gojani marked that ‘These legal frameworks and schemes should not be seen as only judicially obligatory, but also imperative to the well-being and livelihood of the citizens.’
The need for consensus action and regional cooperation was strongly emphasized, as such efforts focused on common vision could serve as essential pathways towards the development and advancement of policies that will address and alleviate the issue of air pollution in the Balkans, but also support the joint commitment and efforts that stand as requisites to meeting the gaps with respect to EU acquis in order to benchmark the progress in this field and ultimately attaining EU integration.
Ms. Gojani also marked that channeling united actions from the political realm, decision-makers, civil society organizations, but also of the citizens are utterly important in the transformation to a cleaner, healthier and decarbonized region. She underlined the work of Balkan Green Foundation as well as CSOs in general in driving change and garnering momentum in advancing this vision forward, by acting as bridges between of citizens and government.
Click on the link to watch the full debate.