Together for a Climate-Neutral Europe
The EUKI Networking Conference “Fit for Climate Action – Together for a Climate-Neutral Europe” took place on 23 and 24 November 2021. During the two-day event, more than 300 participants from EUKI’s climate projects joined virtually from 31 countries to sketch the pathways to European Climate-Neutrality. The conference covered speeches and key notes from 8 international speakers. Amongst others, German and Slovenian Environment Ministries, the European Commission and the EUKI Secretariat were represented.
Day 1: Vertical Inspiration for European Climate Action
The opening of the EUKI Networking conference was streamed live globally and watched by more than 600 people in total. In the first keynote speeches, German and Slovenian State Secretaries Jochen Flasbarth and Dr Metka Gorišek highlighted the importance of cross-border collaboration for European climate action and the vital role of so far more than 150 EUKI-funded climate projects:
“EUKI was born of the belief that we in Europe are stronger together than alone. The contacts that have been established are a source of motivation on the path towards a climate-neutral EU.”
Yvon Slingenberg, Director of EU Climate Action and one of the main architects of the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” package joined live from Brussels. Following the question of how EU member states will be able to deliver the European Green Deal, she emphasised how important a whole economy approach is at this stage. According to Miss Slingenberg, the transition to a climate-neutral EU must be threefold: a socially fair transition tackling inequality and energy poverty trough climate action; a competitive transition offering new opportunities through industrial and sectoral change; and a green transition ensuring the protection of nature and increasing Europe’s natural carbon sink.
To jump to another level of governance: Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, was invited to speak about his engagement in local climate action. His inspirational contribution on Tirana’s just transition towards a climate-neutral city was as inspiring as rich in ideas. Even more: Veliaj clearly moved the participants – a task not easy to accomplish in an online conference – and many questions were asked.
Day 2: From the Community, for the Community
The second day of the EUKI Networking conference was workshop day. Representatives from the EUKI Community – our projects – offered 13 sessions and a great opportunity for other participants to learn how climate action is being done in other European countries.
We hope that same as in the years before, some of the connections made during the EUKI Networking Conference translate into new project ideas and consequently new EUKI projects. Therefore, Benjamin Struss from the EUKI Secretariat and Caterina Salb from BMU opened the 6th EUKI Call for project ideas at the closing of the conference.
Until 12 January, non-profit entities from across the EU and accession candidate countries are once more called upon to submit convincing ideas that contribute to climate change mitigation in Europe.
You can watch the speeches and discussions with Erion Veliaj and all other speakers here in full length.