Capacity development for climate policy in the Western Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Project description

Title: Capacity development for climate policy in the Western Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia - Phase II
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Countries: Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia supraregional: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Lead executing agency: Ministries and subordinate authorities in the partner countries with responsibilities mainly in the energy, environment and climate sectors
Overall term: 2013 to 2018

Context

Climate change is likely to have significant negative impacts on the project region. In its Fourth Assessment Report (2007), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts a temperature increase of 3°C in Central Asia by the year 2050, accompanied by a considerable reduction in water supply, especially in the summer months, and a further rise in extreme weather events. This development is fostering desertification trends and a sizeable decrease in agricultural yields. Growing conflicts over limited resources are also jeopardising geopolitical stability in the region. Eastern Europe is expected to face a 20 to 30 per cent drop in annual precipitation by 2050. A substantial reduction in harvest yields is forecast in South-Eastern Europe in particular. The mountainous Caucasus region will also be affected by changes in glacier melting patterns. In Russia, the thawing of soil along the southern edge of the permafrost poses additional challenges.

The high level of energy intensity in the region’s big economies indicates a significant potential for mitigation. At present, the legal, institutional and financial conditions for effective climate change mitigation, including sustainable energy policy, are limited there. Consequently, countries are unable to unlock their potential to increase energy efficiency and use renewables. A change in political thinking is taking place owing to the considerable increase in energy prices. Countries without significant energy resources are less and less able to supply their populations with subsidised energy. Energy-rich countries, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, are missing out on potential foreign exchange revenue from energy exports due to their inefficient use of energy.

Objective

Bilateral climate policy dialogue with participating countries is strengthened and provides impetus to improve conditions for climate change mitigation.

Approach

The project supports climate policy dialogue processes and advisory services in Eastern European and Central Asian countries. It strengthens technical expertise, instruments related to climate change mitigation and institutions in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate adaptations to the impacts of climate change.

The project’s approach is based on flexible and timely interventions at the request of partner countries. The selected individual measures provide impetus for improving the conditions for climate change mitigation actions in the partner countries. The project will have a broad impact through new strategic approaches, technologies and climate policy instruments. For instance, pilot measures will feed into government programmes, receive further funding from international donors as promising approaches and attract private sector investments.

These measures are being implemented in cooperation with a large number of partners, including civil society actors, universities, associations, consulting firms, such as GFA Consulting Group GmbH, and individual experts.

Results

More than 50 individual measures have been implemented or have already been completed. The different formats include round tables, pilot initiatives, training sessions and conferences, but also long-term thematic advisory services.

For instance, a uniform, reliable and time-related database was created for the project region with a status report on renewable energy (RE). Moreover, a network for future data collection and distribution has been established.

In Kosovo, selected public water utilities were analysed for potential savings and cost-benefit analyses were drawn up that can serve as the basis for measures for more efficient management.

In Kazakhstan, the government received advice and support on elaborating a legislative framework to implement a green economy strategy.

In Uzbekistan, one of the country’s first commercial solar systems was planned and started operating at an agricultural enterprise in the agricultural region of Jizzakh.

Ukraine received support as it developed and implemented a municipal programme of energy efficiency reforms.

In Georgia, a study was drawn up on the potential and feasibility of UNESCO biosphere reserves. It serves as a foundation for building capacity and resources for a planned UNESCO biosphere reserve in the region of Kakheti.