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Hungarian EUKI Community Conference 5 & 6 October 2022

Organised by the EUKI Academy and CEEweb, the Hungarian EUKI Community Conference will present a unique chance for all Hungarian EUKI projects to network and learn from each other. Next to sharing experiences and good practices, this event contributes to a more continuous flow of information between the EUKI projects. Together we want to develop/build a steady approach to European and national climate policy issues and challenges. This shall also help to increase the effectiveness of the individual EUKI projects.

Participants will have the opportunity to discuss current and future challenges to the Hungarian green transition with Hungarian and German representatives. The EUKI project’s lessons learned, success factors and common challenges will be compiled and exchanged. A Climate Action Simulation and a “walk-shop” around Budapest round up the programme. The organisers CEEweb and EUKI Academy are looking forward to your participation.

See the preliminary programme below (still subject to alterations):

Day 1

9:30 – 10:00       Registration & Welcome Coffee

10:00 – 10:15     Welcome by

  • Ulrike Leis, Deputy Director of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
  • Julia Gross, German Ambassador to Hungary

10:15 – 11:45     Panel discussion: Current chances and opportunities for the Hungarian green transition

                           Moderator: Peter Olajos, President of CEEweb

                           This event will be streamed via the EUKI Academy.

  • Noémi Dálnoky, Hungarian Ministry of Regional Development and Utilization of EU Funds
  • Matthias Casper, Counsellor of European Climate Policy, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
  • Barbara Kovács, Head of the Department for Climate Policy, Hungarian Ministry of Technology and Innovation (TIM)
  • László Szabó, Director, REKK Foundation for Regional Policy Co-operation in Energy and Infrastructure (REKK Foundation)

11:45 – 12:15     Coffee Break

12:15 – 13:45     “ConversTations”, Moderator: Csaba Mezei, General Secretary of CEEweb

Introduction of all Hungarian EUKI projects in a gamified manner

13:45 – 15:00Lunch

15:00 – 17:30     Climate Action Simulation with En-ROADS Climate Policy Simulator

                          Moderated group exercise of interactive climate policy simulation. Commitment is needed by participants to engage for the whole duration of the session.


  • Viktor Jósa, CliMates

18:00 – 20:30     Gala Dinner

Day 2

9:30 – 10:00       Registration & Welcome Coffee

10:00 – 10:15     Welcome and introduction by Aleksandra Khirv, Project Lead CEEweb

10:15 – 11:45     EUKI projects exchange I, Moderator: Aleksandra Khirv, CEEweb

                           Each project shares lessons learned, success factors and challenges before running a quick Q&A session.

  • “From advocacy to implementation. How EUKI projects helped community energy in Hungary”:
    Ágnes-Szalkai Lőrincz and Bence Kovács,
  • “Breaking barriers to low-carbon investment in Budapest”: Ada Ámon, Head of Department for Climate and Environmental Affairs, Municipality of Budapest
  • Making the carbon taxing FAIR”: Anna Bajomi, Habitat for Humanity Hungary

11:45 – 12:15     Coffee Break

12:15 – 13:45     EUKI projects exchange II, Moderator: Aleksandra Khirv, CEEweb

                           Each project shares lessons learned, success factors and challenges before running a quick Q&A session.

  • “Complexity of the biomass energy – lessons learnt”: Adam Harmat, WWF Hungary
  • “How to predict CO2 emissions from transport – TEDiT tool “: Ágoston Princz, CAAG
  • “Consolidating Ambitious Climate Targets with End-Use Sufficiency (CACTUS)”: Mária Bartek-Lesi, REKK

13:45 – 15:00Lunch

15:00 – 16:30     ”Walk-shop” around Budapest, Moderation: Katalin Tarr, CAAG

                            Guided field visit around Budapest city center with the visit of “good and bad practices” of EU funding allocation in Hungary.

18:00 – 20:30     Dinner

Download the Agenda here

Steps towards optimised management with forest carbon sinks in Slovenia

Creation of forest development models and scenarios

Forest development models and scenarios are crucial for understanding the effect of different measures on the amount and sustainability of forest carbon sinks. They were developed by The Department of Forestry (Biotechnical faculty of Ljubljana, University of Ljubljana). The task was completed in march 2022 with the preparation of models and scenarios that predict the effect of various management scenarios on the state of forest carbon sinks in three different beech-fir-spruce forest types in Slovenia. The modeling results have also served as the foundation for creating management recommendations that would optimize existing management practices in Slovenia.

As a part of Output I, the first version of the digital tool was created in cooperation with both project partners. The digital tool is based on the results of modelling and scenario creation. It utilitzes data gathered in forestry databases of the Slovenia Forest Service. The tool offers forest management planners an overview of past forest carbons sink developement trends. It also offers support in the process of decision making, as it enables forest management planners the selection of future measures that will ensure coordinated achievement of all forest management goals including optimised management with forest carbons sinks.

Slovanian forest © Matevž Konjar

Forest management planning guidelines and policy recommendations

Forest management planning guidelines elaborate measures that will contribute to better mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Slovenian forests. They are based on the results of modeling and other existing scientific developments. Guidelines have already been implemented in the regional forest management plans for 2021-2030. Regional forest management plans are a strategic foundation for creation of management unit forest management plans. They elaborate concrete measures that need to be taken in order to achieve all forest management goals including mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

To ensure structured and sufficient integration of proposed measures into practice a list of policy adaptations has been compiled. The list includes a set of legislative, organisational, and financial adaptations that require implementation into Slovenia’s existing forest management system. To identify the main challenges that need to be addressed, analysis of the existing legislative backgrounds, financial mechanisms and best practice examples has been performed. Results of situation analysis have been combined with results of survey in which 34 of the leading national forestry and environmental experts expressed their perspectives on the challenges and potentials for the optimisation of forest management regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation. The proposals for management optimisation and policy recommendations were gathered in the document draft that was later presented and further amended at the national training workshop that was held on 18th May 2022 in Mašun, Slovenia. During the workshop, representatives of 10 different public and private institutions and ministries have reviewed the proposals. They offered additional inputs and comments that were later included in the document.

National training workshop that was held in Mašun, Slovenia © Matevž Konjar

Communication and networking with large forest estate owners and managers

In the process of communication and awareness-raising of owners and managers of large forest estates, the project consortium continued organisation of meetings. The aim was to inform owners about the importance of active management as a key tool for climate action. They got an opportunity to present their experiences with forest management as well as examples of good practices and new business opportunities, which they believe will contribute to achieving the goals of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, development of circular economy, preservation of biodiversity, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Feedback provided by forest owners and managers was considered in the process of preparing policy recommendations. They were also invited to participate in national training in Mašun, Slovenia.

Awareness raising and dissemination

In the recent period, different activities were performed aiming to raise awareness of various groups about the importance of active forest management as a tool for achieving a goal related to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

In cooperation with the BIO4ECO project, the Forests for Future project consortium organised an international conference that was held on 31th March in Slovenia. At the conference, participants from 6 countries presented examples of various political and technological solutions (use of renewable forest biomass, implementation of new digital tools into the process of forest management, etc.) that have the potential to contribute to climate transformation and development of the circular economy.

The concept of climate action and the role of forests in the process of mitigation and adaptation to climate change was also presented to preschool and school children as a part of the event “Forest, water, mill” (Slovenian – “Gozd, voda, mlinček”) that was organized on 25th May 2022 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenia Forest Service traditionally organises the event as a part of Forest week. This year 829 children had the chance to explore the causes and basic principles of the greenhouse effect (global warming) and the response of tree rings to fluctuations in environmental factors. They also got seeds of European silver fir (Abies alba) that they could seed and nurture at home.

On 10th June 2022, the project consortium, in cooperation with the Austrian forestry society (German – Österreichischer Forstverein) organised a field excursion in Trenta, Soča valley. The excursion was organised as a part of the Austrian forestry days 2022 (German – Österreichische Forsttagung 2022). On the excursion, participants were introduced to Slovenian forest management practices and projects that Slovenia Forest Service is participating in and are aimed at developing new management approaches and policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate action(Forests for Future, DINALPCONNECT, RockTheAlps, GreenRisk4Alps).

The project consortium has, in collaboration with projects LIFE Systemic and BIO4ECO, prepared media champagne posted on different social media channels to inform the broader public about the importance of active forest management as a tool for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Published content was stored on public profiles of Slovenia Forest Service and will be permanently accessible.

Preschool and school children at the event “Forest, water, mill” in Ljubljana, Slovenia © Matevž Konjar

Future goals

In the coming period, the project consortium will perform fifteen training workshops where the following topics will be presented:

  • presentation of basic concepts and definitions,
  • the forest management planning guidelines for mitigation and adaptation to climate change,
  • the forest development models and scenarios,
  • the digital tool – training of its usage,
  • policy recommendations.

The first workshop will be dedicated to the leading staff of the Slovenia Forest Service and some national decision-makers. The other 14 workshops will be devoted to forest management planners and heads of local foresters at all fourteen regional units of Slovenia Forest Service.

Presenting the project in the forest © Matevž Konjar

Several scientific and professional articles are being prepared for publishing in international and domestic journals dedicated to forestry. As a collaboration between projects, we will actively attend a summer school as part of the LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE project. We are preparing a project presentation for the annual EUKI conference and the IUFRO international symposium.

As we realized within the implementation of the Forests for Future project, it is necessary to actively raise awareness of both professionals and the general public to understand the issue. We will continue to raise general awareness of the importance of forests for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

SEE´s Climate Champion wanted

Cooperation among different regional organizations is nothing new in the Western Balkans. However, at the transboundary level, partnerships must increase for an effective climate policy. The Climate Bridges project wants to show how much is already being done and introduce the many faces of climate protection in Southeastern Europe to the broader public. Especially since climate change does not stop at borders, sharing ideas and experiences across borders is needed to mitigate its effects and advance the transition to sustainability.

Participating in the contest is easy. Everyone that has implemented or is implementing a climate or sustainability-related project in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia or Albania can apply. Applications can be submitted through the online form on the Climate Bridges website by 30 June. In September, an international jury of organizations from the Alpine region and the Western Balkans will award the best projects in five categories (decarbonization, circular economy, biodiversity and nature protection, sustainable agriculture and depollution). In addition to the promotion of the awarded projects, networking opportunities and transboundary knowledge sharing, the winners will also receive a prize money of 1’000 euros. The first climate champion of Southeastern Europe will be announced in November 2022 in Sarajevo. All applicants will be invited to the event that will also offer workshops and trainings.

Further Information

Key Take-Aways from Multi-Level Collaboration in the Three4Climate Project

Findings on the European Green Deal (EGD) and the role of cities

  • There is a need for participation and commitment on all governmental levels. While the commitment of the national level is crucial since this is where EU policy is implemented, cities themselves need to be engaged already in the design of EU initiatives and funds to ensure that national plans can be translated into concrete local goals.
  • Fit for 55 must mean fitter for cities. The Fit for 55 Package recognises the need to put local authorities under the spotlight and promotes not the one but rather many locally adopted energy transitions. At the same time, supportive measures need to be put in place for the implementation of the envisioned urban transformation in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency etc.
  • Everyone – including all citizens – needs to take action. To make progress in the transformation towards climate neutrality, local administrations need to raise awareness among their citizenry to enable them to participate in and contribute to local climate action.
  • Many (particularly small) municipalities face a resource gap. One of the major challenges on the ground is a lack of staff who can handle the application for and implementation of European projects.

Further Information

Insights into funding challenges and opportunities for local implementation

  • Municipalities and the public sector should lead by example, but often lack funding. The legislative proposals of the Fit for 55 package targeting, amongst others, energy efficiency and renewable energy supply, urge local public authorities to lead the way. However, in many cases municipal investment is insufficient, also because of a lack of funding available at the local level.
  • Municipalities need investment concepts to become drivers of innovation and to translate national climate plans into concrete measures. To support municipalities in developing appropriate investment concepts, the European City Facility (EUCF) can be mentioned as a best practice European initiative. One solution proposed to municipalities is to aggregate fragmented smaller projects into larger ones to make them more attractive for the financial sector.
  • Municipalities can profit from expanding their cooperation with other cities. Municipalities could benefit from cooperation projects by establishing new or joining existing networks with other municipalities to tap into their expertise and to develop new projects together.
  • EU funding to support the recovery from the COVID-19-pandemic in the member states is an opportunity for driving the green transition. The Recovery and Resilience Facility, the key instrument of the NextGenerationEU fund, requires that national recovery and resilience plans include a minimum of 37 % expenditure for climate investments and reforms (for more insights into funding opportunities, see the BEACON reports on Financing Climate Action in Municipalities).

Learnings about the needs of schools to engage in climate education

  • Climate education needs to be (properly) integrated into national strategies and the curricula across subjects. As major barriers to enhancing climate education and action in schools, teachers and headmasters identified the lack of climate education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) requirements in national learning objectives, as well as the lack of a holistic approach to incorporate climate education and ESD in all subjects.
  • Teachers require training as well as financial resources. Further training and guidance for teachers on didactic methods and the provision of learning material for all ages with emphasis on ESD is necessary. Many teachers are promoting climate education and climate projects because of their personal motivation and in their personal time. It is important to establish incentives in terms of payment for extra work and reducing standard teaching hours to free up time for interdisciplinary project work on climate action and sustainability topics.
  • The EU has set up initiatives to promote climate education and climate action in local communities and schools. The Education for Climate coalition seeks to co-create a Europe-wide participatory education community to support the changes needed for a climate-neutral society. The community is to be led by teachers and students with their schools and networks and other educational actors. The European Climate Pact is an EU-wide initiative inviting individuals, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe. Individuals and organisations can apply to become Climate Pact Ambassadors who act as a bridge between civil society, local stakeholders and the European Commission. The Three4Climate project connected its participating parties with these initiatives to establish further networking.

The main achievements of the Three4Climate project in a nutshell

Despite the COVID-19-pandemic, the Three4Climate project enabled the establishment of an international network between the cities of Loulé and Braga (Portugal), Maribor and Kranj (Slovenia) and Bielefeld and Radolfzell (Germany). This was possible due to a total of ten virtual Three4Climate Campus meetings in 2020 and 2021, three virtual study tours, a student competition, four Climate Action Days at the participating schools, three teacher exchange visits one of which could be conducted in person, as well as a virtual European Dialogue event and the project’s final event.

At the closing event of the project, the representatives of the participating municipalities and schools mentioned knowledge sharing of good practices and ideas as a key benefit of the Three4Climate project. Teachers emphasised that getting to know colleagues in other countries who are actively working on raising awareness about climate change had an encouraging and inspiring effect. Cooperation between municipalities was not only strengthened across borders, but also within the same country through the project activities. Similarly, the ties between municipal administrations and local schools have grown closer which has already sparked future plans. Links to matching EU initiatives and their relevant contacts have also been established with the Three4Climate participants to follow-up on further climate initiatives and respective funding opportunities.

Both teachers and municipal representatives have signaled that they would like to continue the collaboration even after the Three4Climate project’s official end and further cooperation for example in the form of climate partnerships is already foreseen between some of the Three4Climate schools.

Three4Climate Final Event

The conference opened with welcome remarks of the project team and a video review of the project, highlighting major milestones and key achievements. The Three4Climate (T4C) project was set up to run in parallel to the current trio of the EU presidencies of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia with the aim of fostering multi-level collaboration for climate action and translating the spirit of the trio presidency into tangible cooperation at the local level. The event gave an opportunity to representatives of the Ministries of Environment of the three countries to reflect on their efforts in moving towards climate neutrality during their trio term. As Caterina Salb from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) noted: “During the German presidency, the EU was able to agree on a -55% reduction target, Portugal managed to turn this into a Climate Law, and now Slovenia is already busy implementing the FitFor55 package.”

The continuation of the program addressed the issue of the role of cities in achieving the European Green Deal goals. Professor Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado from the Polytechnic University Madrid, in her inspiring keynote speech, pointed out several aspects that she believes should be central to moving from simply recognizing the role of cities in the sustainable transition to mobilizing their capacities and engaging local authorities in EU policy and decision-making. Some of these include: providing cities with economic resources to implement existing solutions, but also to test and try out innovative ideas; promotion of “explicit and institutionalized support for cities’ participation in policy prioritization, decision-making and budgeting”; promotion of the strengthening of their “administrative and social capacities” and supporting “social innovation and co-creation with citizens and local actors”.

Interesting points raised in the keynote speech formed the basis for the rest of the program and were echoed in the following two sessions. The first session, dedicated to the topic of co-designing climate neutral cities, offered insights and learnings about participatory processes in urban development directly from practice. Alina Schütze, from Zebralog, a Germany- and Luxembourg-based agency for consulting and implementation of citizen participation processes, underlined that by using flexible and diverse online and face-to-face formats (barcamp, on-site info kiosks, social media challenges, etc.) and by engaging and collaborating with local politics, initiatives, and young people, bridges can be built between technical expertise and the everyday needs of city dwellers.

Gordana Kolesarič and Cristina Costa from two Slovenian municipalities participating in the T4C project, Maribor and Braga, reflected on their participatory urban development and climate change projects, highlighting lessons learned and success factors, such as starting the project planning and participation process in a timely manner, establishing good working groups and communication in the municipality, initiating awareness and support from media and citizens early on, and involving stakeholders with whom close contact or collaboration already exists, such as local schools or other educational institutions.

In the concluding panel discussion, particular attention was paid to the challenges and opportunities for advancing citizen participation in shaping future carbon-neutral cities. João Morais Mourato, research Fellow at the Institute for Social Sciences University of Lisbon, pointed out that some of the biggest challenges lie in the mismatch between ambition, policy discourse, and implementation; that there is little time to engage the public to meet the 2030 targets without there so far being an adequate answer on how to do so quickly; and that the current model of public administration is not adequate (including being faced with more responsibilities and having to work with fewer staff). Areas for improvement may include increasing resources for local governments (financial, personnel, technical expertise), redesigning its current decision-making model, and including the academic community as a consultative voice.

The second session was dedicated to the in-country and cross-border alliances needed for joint climate action. Frédéric Boyer from the Covenant of Mayors Office for Europe touched upon the obstacles faced by municipalities, such as legal hurdles, and presented several projects and initiatives that support new governance models for climate action. Some of them are: the Swedish Climate City Contract – a contract that provides for long-term cooperation on climate change between nine municipalities, national agencies and soon the EU; the European Capital of Innovation Awards – an annual recognition and financial prize for the European cities that best promote innovation in their communities; the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Europe – enables and promotes multi-level governance in climate action; and the TOMORROW project.

In the following course, Linda Beyschlag (Guidehouse) presented a brief summary and key lessons learned from the multi-level collaboration in the T4C project. Conclusions include the need to involve cities in the design of EU initiatives and funds to ensure that national plans can be translated into concrete local goals; the recognition of the potential to use EU Covid-19 recovery funds to drive green change; the need for better integration of climate education into schools and for its inclusion in the curricula of all subjects; and the need to provide training and funding to dedicated teachers who organize extracurricular climate action activities on a voluntary basis.

In the panel discussion that followed, city and school representatives participating in the T4C project, Bruno Reis (Municipality of Loulé) and Jens Olenmeyer (Bethel Highschool Bielefeld) shared their experiences and views with Mr. Boyer and Ms. Salb (BMU) on creating and supporting connections along best practices. Mr. Reis talked about the importance of good communication with the public about projects and actions already implemented and those still in the planning stages to get them on board and ensure their support and participation. Mr. Ohlemeyer emphasized the importance of will and consistency, as well as having a circle of people with similar visions and having support from the “upper levels” – principals and mayors – to persist and move forward with climate action.

The conference program was rounded off with a short video made by students from Maribor’s III Highschool as part of the T4C project and a Q&A discussion with some of its makers, Lora Lorenčič and David Hovnik. The video features sustainable projects in Maribor and is intended to raise awareness of the impact of our lifestyle, food production and eating habits on the environment and will be distributed to the youth.

With the concluding remarks of the project team, the T4C project officially ended. The project has shown that involving municipalities and schools at the local level can make an important contribution to advancing the climate agenda in Europe. At the same time, it confirmed that learning from each other and networking across borders is an important impetus for the development and implementation of specific local actions, laying the groundwork for possible joint actions in the future.

It all Starts in Their Forests

Meetings on forest carbon sink

In October 2021 Members of Slovenia Forest Service and Department of Forestry of Biotechnical faculty, University of Ljubljana organised meetings with forest owners and managers in Slovenia, who own or manage large forest estate. Participants were individuals, municipalities, and agrarian communities. SiDG (company managing forests owned by state) and Metropolitana d.o.o. (company manage forests owned by Roman Catholic Church) also participated as two biggest forest owners in Slovenia. The aim of the meetings was to inform them about the role of forest carbon sinks in process of climate change mitigation and importance of active forest management for optimisation of carbon sinks.

Meeting of Slovenia Forest Service and Department of Forestry of Biotechnical faculty, University of Ljubljana

A list of measures contributing to optimisation of carbon sinks and existing financial mechanisms for financing or subsidising of measures were presented. Participants were also introduced to the concept of carbon offsets, its potential, drawbacks and current status of carbons offsets in EU.

Owners and managers were also able to provide their experience and feedback from the field that will be very beneficial in process of creation of guidelines for forest management planning and policy recommendations for main stakeholders and decision makers on national level.

Forest management for optimisation of carbon sinks

Some of the meeting also involved field demonstration of certain problematics and measures, contributing to optimised management of forest carbon stocks. Foundations for future cooperation were also established.

Additional knowledge about existing efforts and possible measures for optimisation of forest carbons sink will allow owners and managers of large forest estate in Slovenia better adaptation of management process in order to achieve all economic, social and environmental goals, set by forest management planning.

BEACON study visits going virtual

The idea of the study visits

As one highlight of the BEACON project, two study visits were planned, during which representatives of the partner countries Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania were invited to Germany. A three-day program was planned for 15 education sector multipliers per study visit, such as instructors in teacher trainings, representatives from school authorities and school administrations. The program included visits to schools and educational institutions that carry out energy-saving projects as well as energy-saving laboratories and other environmental educational institutions. The aim of the study visits was to link the actors with one another and use the program impulses to discover commonalities for their work in the field of climate protection.

The first study visit with all three countries took place as planned in autumn 2019. Participants were invited to Berlin, where they were able to visit various schools and to hold expert talks to learn about energy-saving projects on-site. Excursions to energy laboratories and discussions with climate protection managers and the Senate Administration were also on the program and were able to provide important impulses.

The switch to digital inputs

The second study visit was planned for the first half of 2020 but postponed on multiple occasions due to the COVID-19-pandemic. Over the course of 2020 it became clear that international trips could not take place during the project period and that an alternative format had to be developed. However, for these study visits the networking character and direct exchange is essential and cannot easily be converted to a digital format. The new main idea of UfU, the implementing organisation, was to provide multipliers in the partner countries with some informative and illustrative best practice examples for local climate protection. The results were two 15-minute videos for which we worked with a professional film team:

In the film “Wind, Venture, Involvement” (see video below), the energy self-sufficient village Feldheim is presented, which we would have liked to visit with the study visit participants. It is the first and so far only place in Germany that completely generates electricity and heat for its own use and is thus playing a pioneering role in the energy transition. Barbara Ral, Climate Protection Manager of Potsdam-Mittelmark, and Michael Knape, Mayor of Treuenbrietzen, report in the film how the interaction of favourable basic conditions, the courage of individuals to try something new, and the broad involvement of citizens, contributed to the success of such a pilot project. They also explain what steps were necessary to take and what obstacles had to be overcome.

If desired, you can enable English subtitles in the navigation bar of the video.

For the film “Networked-Active-Sustainable” (see video below), Karola Braun-Wanke and Judith Hübner from the Environmental Coordination Office of the Berlin district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf were interviewed. In the Botanical Garden in Berlin they report on how the Coordination Office was developed, what goals it’s pursuing, what their work looks like in practice, and what role networking plays in it. They also provide information about their educational mandate and the environmental model pursued by the city of Berlin. The establishment of the Berlin Environmental Coordination Offices was preceded by an assessment of environmental education offers in the Berlin districts, in which UfU was involved. After the screening of the film, UfU’s management explained the development process of the Coordination Offices to the study tour participants.

If desired, you can enable English subtitles in the navigation bar of the video.

Another presentation was given by UfU about the National Climate Initiative of the Federal Environment Ministry (NKI) at request of the Bulgarian partners. In cooperation with Lothar Eisenmann from ifeu (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg), the NKI was presented as an example of funding opportunities for sustainable educational projects and other climate protection activities in German municipalities and schools.

The study visits were primarily organised by the local BEACON partners, SNRB, NTEF and SEVEn, and inputs from UfU were integrated into the program. In the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, the study visits took place as online workshops and UfU’s input presentations were followed by lively discussions and interested inquiries. Fortunately, the Romanian study visit was able to be carried out as a hybrid event in mid-April, as the majority of the participants were already vaccinated and local conditions allowed for it. The education sector multipliers met in Romania on site, visited various educational institutions in the area, and listened to virtual presentations by UfU.

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

The Three4Climate Campus series has taken off

Spotlight: Sustainable mobility

The series was kicked off in October with the first meeting of municipal representatives and an impressive presentation by Olaf Lewald, Head of the Office for Mobility and Commissioner of European Affairs from Bielefeld. He highlighted the city’s ambitious target to reduce motorised private traffic in its city center from 50 to 25 percent by 2030. One major step to get there is the reconstruction of the Jahnplatz, Bielefeld’s biggest transport hub at the very center of the city. Concrete measures that this large-scale project envisages include the reduction of two car lanes to one for cars and one for busses and bicycles only, and a reduced speed limit from 50 to 30 km/h. A testing phase of almost two years already shows great results: the number of cars passing Jahnplatz could be reduced from 25.000 to 15.000 per day. Similarly, a significant reduction in air pollution is expected.

Equally as important as concrete measures is to get people on board, as emphasized by Olaf Lewald. The reconstruction that started in August 2020 was preceded by a campaign for public acceptance. In addition to consultations with neighbors, local shop owners and other stakeholders, a website (Jahnplatz bewegt) invites citizens to closely follow the process of reconstruction and voice potential concerns.

Using an innovative role play method, the participants of the meeting from Loulé, Braga, Maribor and Kranj kept Olaf Lewald on his toes with questions from the perspectives of irritated citizens, local activist groups and critical journalists. Bielefeld’s actions for sustainable mobility left a big impression and made participants curious for more.

The representatives from the municipalities in Bielefeld, Braga, Loulé, Maribor and Kranj and the Three4Climate team exchanging on sustainable mobility at the 1st edition of the Three4Climate Campus meetings for cities. Photo: Three4Climate

Spotlight: Energy management

From sustainable mobility to successful energy management: The second edition of the T4C Campus series for cities put the spotlight on Maribor’s 15 years of experience with energy management. Vlasta Krmelj, director of the Energy agency of Podravje (Energap) and Gordana Kolesarič (Municipality of Maribor) presented Maribor’s path from having no energy concept before 2006, to completing one of Slovenia’s biggest renovation projects in 2019: Before the local energy agency and the municipality of Maribor initiated the energy management program, there was no robust information on the energy demand of public buildings, no priorities for investments in renovation measures, and high energy costs in all areas. But by introducing the program, they managed to involve all relevant stakeholders step-by-step, achieved a political commitment and finally reduced CO2-emissions via pilot projects: recently the renovation of 24 public buildings was successfully completed thanks to a public private partnership approach. According to the lessons learnt that were shared during the meeting, most important is to create trust and friendship with all stakeholders to realise fruitful partnerships. Gordana Kolesarič, Senior Adviser at the Municipality of Maribor, emphasised the central role of institutions such as ENERGAP as a main driving force for successfully introducing energy management in Maribor.

At the 2nd edition of the Three4Climate Campus meetings for cities, the spotlight was on Maribor’s approach to energy management. The speakers encouraged participants to share their experiences. Photo: Three4Climate

Three4Climate Campus for schools

On November 5th, it was the Three4Climate schools’ turn: Teachers from all six schools came together virtually to exchange perspectives on the European Green Deal and what it means for climate action at the local level. The different topics of the Green Deal were presented to the teachers. As a result, participants specified which of them are most suited for detailed discussion with their students. A ranking by participants showed that clean energy, sustainable mobility and zero-pollution have the highest potential.

Teachers from all Three4Climate schools participated in the first edition of the Three4Climate Campus meetings for schools. Photo: Three4Climate

Next up is a virtual conference that will give students from all three trio countries the opportunity to exchange with Svenja Schulze, the German Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The Three4Climate Campus series will run from October until February of 2021.

Towards climate neutrality and better quality of life in Polish cities – multi-level dialogue

Led by the partners PNEC, Guidehouse and adelphi, the ‘vertical workshop’ was organised as part of the BEACON project with a view to connect local and national decision-makers. 25 participants joined the hybrid event both online and in-person in Warsaw. After a coordinated exchange among local representatives, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment kicked-off the second session of the workshop with an overview on the current European initiatives with the German EU council presidency as context to the discussions. For the Polish Ministry of Climate, Mr. Wojciech Augustowski presented the national policy and funding framework to support the carbon neutral transformation in local communities and highlighted the value of such multi-level formats:

“Bringing together key actors from all levels of government, the vertical workshop was a great opportunity to stimulate dialogue with municipalities, voivodships and experts. Exchanging on good practices and challenges to develop joint approaches is key for the transformation towards carbon-neutral cities with a high quality of life.”

Wojciech Augustowski, Polish Ministry of Climate, presenting at BEACON Vertical Workshop. (c) BEACON

Further Information

The presentations from the participating municipalities on their achievements and ambitions for emission reductions, sustainable energy and clean air are available for download:

In dedicated working sessions, participants then turned to discuss their experiences, medium-term ambitions and remaining barriers in the areas of renewable energy production, energy efficiency and clean air. Joint avenues and recommendations for moving forward with regards to the policy framework, support programmes and collaboration were developed for each of the sector areas and subsequently consolidated and prioritised.

Participants collect and consolidate common challenges and possible solutions in working groups. Photo: Bartłomiej Sawka

Amongst other points, these comprised demands for a clear long-term perspective to enhance certainty for investments in renewables and energy efficiency, strengthening support and incentives for renewable heating sources, better enabling prosumers and expanding consultations across governance levels. The consolidated outcomes will be fed back to local and national administrations to be considered in the next steps.

Participants collect and consolidate common challenges and possible solutions in working groups. Photo: Bartłomiej Sawka

A success story: ‘’Schools Open to Climate Protection and Energy Savings in Athens – Berlin’’

The project lasted from October 2017 to January 2020 and aimed to the complicity of the school community in climate protection, reduction of the energy footprint of school buildings, raising students/teachers/parents awareness and knowledge in the subject of energy savings and climate protection.

This project used the existing experience as it emerges from environmental educational programs both in Greece and Germany. It also propelled a more comprehensive approach which is the basis for future continuation and expansion of the project in schools.

Institutions with various experiences and roles, from the two countries, collaborated in the project, adding their own know-how: The Municipality of Athens as coordinator, the social cooperative enterprise “Anemos Ananeosis /Wind of Renewal”, the German “Independent Institute for Environmental Issues / Unabhängiges Institut fur Umweltfragen’’ (UFU) and the German Citizen’s initiative “Respect for Greece”.

“Climate Schools Ath.Be” project methodology – educational guide is integrated and includes collaboration between different partners in a more coherent way, training of trainers and exchange of good practices, collaboration between Greek and German experts for the production of an educational material and a methodology based on different experiences in both countries, training of the researchers and practical use of the tools (material, tool-box with appliances, assistance to the teachers etc).

Greek and German trainers, who already had significant experience from similar projects, trained 20 experts and these trainers then trained 240 teachers, of whom 197 took an active role in their school. In total 72 primary, secondary and high schools in Athens, mainly, have supported their students in this program and posted the necessary ‘’testimonies’’ on the digital platform “moodle” which is accessible to all members of the educational community who want to implement similar actions in the future.

The students were informed, sensitized and turned into active researchers, surprising all the participants for their commitment and interest. The students, teachers and school units participated in a relevant research that evaluated the implementation and catered, with good practices and suggestions, the project’s final Action Plan for interventions in the school.

The project was a useful tool for intercultural education and inclusion of all the pupils, Greeks and the ones with migrant and refugee background, offering different roles and tasks to all of them based on their interest, skills and capacities, enhance the community building approach. Some students with learning difficulties or of different cultural background (eg refugees) were attracted by the special equipment and they showed great interest to participate more and take responsibilities (i.e become “responsible” to teach the rest of the class on the use of the instruments) or/and be active member of the team (intercultural dimension).

Students that participate on the project become ambassadors at their school for climate protection and climate action and they aware other students, their parents, the neighborhood.

You find the full article, lessons learned and tools for further action from the project here.