Clean Air Regions Initiative held its first workshop
The first workshop of the CEGT's (Center of Excellence in Green Transition for the Western Balkans) "Clean Air Regions Initiative" (CARI) programme was widely recognized as a great success. Presentations were delivered by acknowledged international and Hungarian air quality experts for the mayors and environmental experts of participating municipalities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North-Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
The CEGT was established in Budapest as an organizational unit of the Western Balkans Green Center (WBGC), together with the Energy Community Secretariat, to support the concept of circular economy and to share expertise and innovation with Western Balkan countries to boost their green economy, energy, and climate policy initiatives.
In her welcome speech, Barbara Botos, Deputy Minister of State for Climate Policy at the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (MIT), emphasized that air quality and climate change are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing each other, therefore we all have a common duty in taking effective measures. Participants learned about details of the “HungAIRy” project, led by the Hermann Otto Institute, or the air quality improvement programme in the highly industrialised Malopolska region of Poland.
The workshop provided an opportunity to evaluate and share air quality improving measures, best practices, and experiences to reduce air pollution, but also addressed issues related to public outreach, data collection and the application of innovative solutions.
The first day of the workshop was devoted to introductions and status overview, while the second was focused on experiences and successful environmental projects. All agreed that the most polluting sources in the participating municipalities are domestic heating, industry and transport, and that interventions and related investments should be concentrated on these areas. With the knowledge gained, participating municipalities can start to develop their own air quality action plans.
By the end of the CARI program, the air quality action plans will offer a wide range of regulatory, urban planning, awareness-raising and sustainable economic development solutions to improve air quality in the municipalities. The action plans may also identify investment needs which could be financially supported by the WBGC-program.
The CEGT will support municipalities participating in the CARI program through regular training, conferences, and advocacy. In the upcoming period, the CEGT plans to bring in sustainable finance and green jobs as thematic areas for engagement.