Forum outlines path to sustainable energy future for Energy Community Members
The first Sustainability Forum took place under the auspices of the Energy Community and the Balkan Green Foundation on 9 June 2017 in Vienna. Gathering over 120 stakeholders, the Forum provided a unique platform to discuss how the region can transition towards a sustainable energy pathway.
Director of the Energy Community Secretariat Mr Janez Kopač said:
“The message of today’s forum is clear. There is no other alternative for the Energy Community members than to follow the path towards a sustainable, low-carbon future. Sustainability measures are opportunities for job creation, economic growth, health improvements, and never a burden. A smart energy transition requires an integrated approach, such as in green technologies embracing the region’s renewable energy and energy efficiency potential. It is equally important to avoid regret investments.”
Executive Director of the Balkan Green Foundation, Mr Visar Azemi, said:
“Countries of the Western Balkans need to diversify their energy mix, taking the lead in energy efficiency investment, to enable economic development, regional prosperity and climate justice. The Energy Community should not only monitor achievements and failures, but also play a role in the process of WB integration into the European Union. Additional efforts are necessary to overcome resistance to new developments in renewables and energy efficiency, which is only hindering economic progress.”
The participants underlined the importance of mainstreaming climate policy across sectors and welcomed the Energy Community’s stepped-up role in the climate field. The Energy Community Sustainability Charter was considered a key instrument for driving reforms, which should be reinforced at the upcoming Western Balkans 6 Summit on 12 July in Trieste.
The event brought together Ministers responsible for energy, environment and climate change of the Energy Community Contracting Parties and Observers, high-level officials of the European Commission, central and local government officials, representatives of the private sector and international financial institutions, civil society, non-governmental organisations and academia.
The Forum was followed by the first joint informal Council meeting of ministers responsible for energy, environment and climate on 9-10 June.