Key Topics

The EUKI-projects in Czech Republic work on the topics of Awareness, Energy, Mobility, Cross-cutting Climate Policy, Climate-Proof Finance, Buildings and Municipalities.

This lessons-learned report by EUKI project Cyclurban+ highlights its pilot-cases and possible measures for local authorities. Several examples give evidence that they were successful.

House with solar panels in Dolní Lomná, Moravian-Silesian Region, Czech Republic

Czech Climate Journalism Begins to Take off

Climate and Energy Fellowships for Journalists in Europe

Czech climate journalism begins to take off. The consequences of climate change in the Czech Republic are very similar to those being felt in Germany.

New method proposed for assessing the benefits of road construction

Directing EU Funds towards Climate Neutrality

This study by Clean Air Action Group (CAAG) has shown that the use of the current EU guides has led to an unjustifiably high number of new road constructions.

A Database Bears Fruit

EUKI project ‘Directing EU funds towards climate neutrality’ gave recommendations to about 100 representatives of national and local governments, business groups and academics in 8 countries on the climate-friendly spending of 240 billion EUR in total. Through analysing 58 best practices from these countries, the team also formulated policy recommendations on public infrastructure investments that reached over 75 mio. people.

This analysis by EUKI project ClimArchiNet summarises the findings and experience gained in the course of the project and highlights the problems and challenges of sustainable construction in the Slovak Republic. Recommendations and innovative solutions to help the construction sector contribute to the (Slovak) goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 are also given.

Decarbonisation: How the Czech industry thinks about Sustainable Finance

Interview



Decarbonisation: How the Czech industry thinks about Sustainable Finance

by GIZ/EUKI, Karel Voldřich

Supporter of the ongoing EUKI project Sustainable Finance for Industry Decarbonisation is the International Sustainable Finance Centre (ISFC). We spoke with Karel Voldřich, Head of Industry Decarbonisation at ISFC, about the decarbonisation of the Czech heavy industry, their work as an NGO and the importance of networking.

What is ISFC currently working on?

Right now, as part of an EUKI funded project, we are organising two workshops on how to finance the decarbonisation of the heavy industry in the countries of the Visegrad Group. The first workshop was focused on green bonds and the second one will be focused on non-financial reporting or ESG[1] reporting. We want to summon policymakers and representatives from the financial and industrial sector. We are connecting these three parties to facilitate discussion and training in financial reporting.

The purpose of these events is actually not only to share information, but also to create opportunities to connect and network, because that’s one of the intentions and bigger goals of our projects. A platform to share knowledge and exchange best practices.

 

Now that’s exactly what EUKI stands for: networking and exchanging experience! Have you experienced any other EU funding program which supports this kind of networking?

All projects we work on entail a certain part of networking, but for the EUKI project, as it is designed, the convening part is probably the biggest. I think in the Czech Republic and in other Visegrad countries as well, what we are missing is not the technological development in the heavy industry, but the communication between parties and stakeholders involved in decarbonisation. Such as policy representatives, representatives of the heavy industry and, since it’s all about finding financial tools, of course staff from the financial sector.

[1] Environmental, Social and Governance

“So I do see improvement with this government compared to the previous one on sustainability topics and the transparency of communication, but I still feel like there is a lot of potential to improve.”

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What is the final goal of your project and how do you approach it?

Our first goal is to build a financing roadmap suggesting potential tools for financing decarbonisation. Both public and private sectors are in control of these financial tools, yet they are rarely met with a realistic plan to progress. To decarbonise heavy industries, you need a vast amount of money. And that’s difficult to get. State subsidies and private fundings are limited, so you must be creative. The second goal is to create and sustain a central European platform for people to connect and exchange, with the aim to accelerate decarbonisation projects. The feedback we received from our workshop participants was very positive, which confirmed our hypothesis the platform is indeed missing, and they are very happy to participate.

The public opinion is that decarbonisation is too expensive and that there is no market for it. What is your answer to that?

I’m glad you’re asking that question. True is, it is expensive. It requires hundreds of millions or billions of Euros only in the Czech Republic, which is excessively large expense for industrial companies, as their margins are not that high. To say there is no market, and we cannot do it, my answer is: we have to! That’s the only way to become a sustainable region by 2050 and to achieve the net zero target. We must find a way. The heavy industry in the EU has to be extra ambitious, because if those facilities go bankrupt, then the carbon-intensive production will be outsourced to other regions without a progressive plan on decarbonisation and potentially even higher CO2 emissions.

The Czech Republic is an industry nation. How is the feedback from the Czech industry, are they seeking your expertise and consultancy?

The industry in the Czech Republic is a conservative sector, not used to working with NGOs or think tanks. It’s not a usual practice in the Central and Eastern Europe and difficult for them to put us into the right box, as we offer our help free of charge. We have to work hard to earn their trust. One way to facilitate the discussion between the sectors is through our CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, the biggest event of its kind in the region. But in fact, the heavy industry is more focused on decarbonisation, than people usually think. If you look at the Steel Makers Association or the Cement Association websites, decarbonisation and sustainability is about 80% of the content, it’s their primary focus. They have to be able to decarbonise their production, otherwise they will not live through the next decade. What’s important now is that we all have to work together and to be able to pull this off.

Thank you very much for the interview, Karel.

Portrait Štěpán Vizi

“Maybe we can benefit from that in the future”

At the #EUKICON22 Štěpán Vizi talked to us about the consequences of the energy crisis in the Czech Republic and how the government and new Czech EU Council presidency are coping with it. He is also talking to us about the role of EUKI in Central Eastern European countries and his Czech German podcast “Karbon”.

This survey by EUKI project Climate Heros tracks the level of awareness and engagement of youth regarding matters related to wildlife preservation, climate change and sustainable development.

Youth Activists against the Climate Crisis

Climate Heroes

From the community



Youth Activists against the Climate Crisis

by Irena Raičević, WWF Adria

As the climate crisis becomes one of the most important global challenges we’re facing today, it’s more important than ever to engage as many people as possible in building solutions and working towards positive change. Young people especially are a major group with a lot of untapped potential in the area of climate activism, which is why WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) offices in Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia, UNABG (United Nations Association of Bulgaria), and CEPF (Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation) are working with youth to help them develop into climate heroes for the future of the planet.


Climate Heroes

For the second year in a row, the EUKI-supported Climate Heroes project worked with young people in Central and Eastern Europe, providing them with knowledge and support to start their own environmental initiatives.


Climate Heroes: Youth Voices for Sustainable Living started last year, and in its first phase engaged 49 young people from the region, many of whom are still active in the field of climate change activism. During the project, they launched a total of 20 initiatives, the 12 most impactful were presented during the first regional forum which was hosted online in the autumn of 2021. Learn more about the first cycle of the project.


This year, in the second round of the project, around 60 young people from the region participated in the educational and capacity-building project, then organized into groups and began working on their ideas for climate change mitigation. This year, it was possible to organize the regional forum in person, so their efforts culminated in a 3-day trip to meet their peers and fellow climate activists face to face. The regional forum was held in Brno, Czech Republic, where 33 selected participants from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and the Czech Republic were able to present their initiatives, exchange experiences, and share knowledge and ideas.

VIDEO

screenshot climate heroes girl with mega phone

Regional Climate Heroes Forum


When asked about impressions, the overwhelming majority of participants had a positive experience and many of them highlighted the importance of connecting and meeting others with similar interests, sharing different perspectives, and learning from each other. “I found it interesting that the participants had different approaches to the problem of climate change. Each Initiative came to its solution in a beautiful and creative way,” one participant shared, while another added: “We can’t do much on our own, but we can do something and influence others”.


Participants presented their work and achievements to the audience of their peers and to the jury, who selected three initiatives with the potential biggest climate impact. Along with the three awarded initiatives, two more initiatives received special recognition for best presentation at the forum. However, all of the work by the young people involved in the project was highlighted as relevant and crucial by the jury and the organizers, with the hope that these young people continue their good work, and inspire many others to get involved. We want young people to lead us to a brighter future because the future belongs to them!


The winning initiatives for 2022

  1. Bianca Rusu from Romania with her initiative We Can Do It, consisting of a workshop dedicated to inspiring teenagers to recycle plastic in creative and artistic ways, giving new life to used and no longer needed items.
  2. Adam Smolka and Jakob Mandik from the Czech Republic came up with a way to build a gym bicycle that produces electricity when used so that people can charge their phones for free and sustainably while exercising.
  3. Simona Hildebrandova, Kristina Shimkova, Tibor Mitro, and Natalia Banichova, also in front of the Czech delegation with an initiative aimed at addressing the problem of air pollution around schools and drawing attention to the importance of biodiversity in the urban environment. They achieved this through interactive workshops and planting flower beds in collaboration with students from their local school.

Other initiatives worked on topics such as raising awareness through digital campaigns, like Gen Eco with their social media networks and Together4Planet, through video campaigns. Sea Frame on the other hand took a more direct approach with its campaign to increase visibility and draw attention to environmental problems.


KompostIN and Sustainable Food Revolution focused on food waste and food production and their impact on the environment. While Food for Earth goes to the root of the problem by tackling soil degradation.


EcoHub is working on creating a climate change guide to help people reduce their carbon footprint, while the team behind Eko stopovačka used digital tools and quizzes to bring fun and games to learning about ecology.


In addition to presenting their work and networking, participants had the opportunity to go on a mobility tour of the city and visit a sustainably developed neighborhood designed for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The regional forum was a great conclusion to months of learning, dedication, and innovation, but also a great chance for young people to find like-minded individuals, get inspired and motivated to continue in their fight against the climate crisis.


As one of the participants commented during the Forum: “Anything you wanna do you can do and there are people who will support you, you just need to go find them and fight for what you want”.

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