Climate action is a mission that European countries can only solve by working together – and the second networking conference of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) brought together more than 120 climate actors from 16 countries to this end. For two days, the participants discussed specific approaches and solutions to one of the most pressing problems of our time. Focus was also on European networking.
More than 120 committed climate actors met for the Networking Conference in Berlin. Photo: GIZ/André Wagenzik
“The EUKI is more than just a financing instrument. It creates cooperation and brings together partners from all over Europe”, emphasised Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), in his opening speech. With the Networking Conference, the EUKI has created a platform for active climate actors to share information and ideas. During the two days, staff members from implementing and partner organisations of the EU-wide EUKI projects learned from the experiences of their colleagues. “The atmosphere was exciting, the workshops and speeches were inspiring and the participants were very progressive,” remarked one participant.
Climate protectors discuss problems and opportunities in their countries of origin at “country tables”. Photo: GIZ/André Wagenzik
Sharing of information
Numerous workshops and thematic working groups invited participants to share their ideas and experiences. Included among the topics were the future of mobility, national energy & climate plans (NECPs) and local climate activities on the Croatian island of Krk. Vjeran Pirsic reported from Krk about the project which is aimed at creating a CO2-neutral island that can provide its own energy – an approach in which all seven island communities are involved. Participants from eight different thematic areas and different regional contexts were encouraged to think about innovative ideas on climate action and subsequently presented their project work. Christia Alexandru from the Business4Climate+ Cypriot project commented: “I especially liked the project marketplace. It was a great way to meet people, learn more about their projects and to create networks.”
“What role can journalism play on the road to a carbon-free future?” was the topic of a workshop with Carel Mohn (left) from Clean Energy Wire. Photo: GIZ André Wagenzik
Networking across borders
Successful climate action requires networking across national borders and policy levels. The European, national and local levels all spoke in Berlin. Romanian State Secretary Ion Cîmpeanu and his German counterpart Jochen Flasbarth met to share information. Both stressed the importance of European cooperation in climate action. Akshay Patki of the Dutch Directorate-General for Climate Policy (DG CLIMA) presented the EU’s plans for a climate-neutral economy. “We must create modernisation and leave no one behind,” he emphasised.
State secretaries and mayors spoke about the importance of the EUKI. From l-r, Leszek Tabor, Ion Cîmpeanu, Susanne Geils, Jochen Flasbarth. Photo: GIZ/ André Wagenzik
Mayor Leszek Tabor (Sztum, Poland) and Mayor Susanne Geils (Ritterhude, Germany) provided insights into their town twinning. Within the framework of the EUKI project BEACON, the two municipalities are involved in an intensive exchange of technical information to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “It surprised and inspired us how systematically the topic of communal climate action was approached in Sztum,” said Geils. Ritterhude has adopted the Sztum climate action concept ‘with the intention of entering into the process of developing an updated climate action concept’. “Both communities are facing similar challenges,” confirmed her Polish colleague Tabor.
The second EUKI Networking Conference took place in Berlin on March 5 & 6. More than 120 climate actors from 16 European countries and 44 EUKI projects took part. The EUKI is thus pursuing the fulfilment of its mission to network climate action in the European Union. In addition to the annual conference, the EUKI also offers trainings, workshops and webinars within the framework of the EUKI Academy. On behalf of the BMU, the EUKI currently finances a total of 64 projects in 24 EU countries, contributing to the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement and the EU2030.