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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

An Open Call to Members of Parliament: Let’s Ensure a Speedy and Sustainable Recovery of Our Society and Economy Together!

As many as eighty civil society organizations, energy agencies, institutions and companies have submitted their joint requests to the newly elected representatives in the Croatian Parliament, asking for a robust transition to low-carbon development and creation of new jobs. Precisely this point in time is crucial for creating quality groundwork for a truly sustainable recovery!

The new Government and Parliament of the Republic of Croatia are faced with important decisions and all of us have to deal with, namely, the  recovery from one of the greatest health and economic crisis in newer history. The recovery will be particularly challenging for the Croatian economy and the complexity and interconnectedness of causes and effects of the crisis are so expansive that they will require the cooperation of all levels of society. This is a call for cooperation and for recovery from the crisis that lead in the direction of intensive promotion and development of a green economy as recognized by the European Union whose full-fledged member we are. What is even more important is that the European Union is prepared to underpin the green recovery with green financial means. “We have to take advantage of this opportunity in full stride”, Luka Tomac, from the Green Action organization pointed out.

It is precisely now that we have the unique investment opportunity that will powerfully boost the development of indigenous resources. in  the fields of know-how and human resources, sustainable and renewable domestic energy sources, domestic industries and agricultural production,  innovations and in raising the quality of life in cities.

“All the development and investment decisions and actions which we will initiate in the next six months will define our development in the next decade and thereby our possibility to act on decreasing carbon emissions and inevitable adjustment to climate change”, Ivana Rogulj, the programme director of the Society for Sustainable Development Design pointed out.

Even at this time the amount of required investments is lower than the costs of damages and overall benefits for Croatian society and the economy.

“ The new Government has the responsibility to recognize and utilize this unique opportunity and to have our society turn to  new low-carbon and sustainable development, creation of new jobs and to ensure improved possibilities for future generations”,  Zoran Kordič, manager of the Green Energy Co-op emphasized.

The mentioned requests for a green recovery and green growth that were submitted to the Government and Parliament were formulated by the Society for Sustainable Development Design, Green Action and the Green Energy Cooperative and are calling upon institutions to take part in an open dialogue, cooperation and joint action.

Accordingly, on behalf of the organizations of Croatian civil society, on behalf of a group of 550 Croatian climate scientist, on behalf of five regional development and energy agencies, on behalf of environmental protection experts, on behalf of the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development, on behalf of the business interest association Renewable Energy Sources, on behalf of the youth from the movement the Pupils’  Climate Strike, on behalf of the members of the Croatian Community of Climate Know-how and Innovation under the European Institute for Innovation and Technology, on behalf of various other expert organizations and companies, the associations are submitting to the Government and Parliament their mutual requests for  green recovery and green growth and call upon them to participate in an open dialogue, cooperation and joint action.

The call for the support of the requests is still open and a joint dialogue of the signatories of the initiative with the representatives of the new Government and Parliament members is planned for September. The details of the submitted document and signatories can be found on the following link while all organizations, companies and institutions, particularly local self-government units, are invited to join in the requests. Listed below are the eight points from the Request for the green recovery and sustainable development of Croatia:

  • Align all the climate-energy policies, beginning with the Strategy of Low-Carbon Development with the European Green Plan and take advantage of the opportunity with additional ardour for positioning our country in the EU and on the global scene, which implies the elaboration of a plan for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 65% to 2030 and completely eliminating measures, research and paths of development which include fossil fuels. In that connection also adjust sector strategies ensuing from the development strategy;
  • Suspend all investments in the fossil industry, research and infrastructure for the use of fossil fuels and the subsidizing of fossil fuels and redirect the funds thus made available from the budget for promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, strife against energy poverty and accompanying research and development;
  • Ensure that the reconstruction of the buildings damaged by the earthquake is all encompassing  and low-carbon, in line with the almost zero energy standard or the highest possible energy technical standard and formulate a plan for the gradual rehabilitation of all the public structures  (particularly educational and health structures) including housing capacities according to the same principles and conditions;
  • Encourage citizens and communities of citizens  and enable them to be active participants in the energy transition by developing a favourable legislative framework, providing  adequate educational, implementation and financial support and by striving to provide the same conditions for underprivileged groups of citizens. Provide citizens with the possibility of self-supply, energy production and association into energy producers’ associations bearing in mind not only the legislative framework in the field of energy but also the barriers ensuing from other laws.
  • Invest in sustainable transport and promote sustainable mobility – through the construction of bicycle infrastructure and changes in the transportation modality – by ensuring adequate and available public transport, particularly in the segment of modernizing the infrastructure of railway transportation. Invest in auxiliary infrastructure for the development of e-mobility and promote the transition to e-mobility and alternative fuels (excluding gas);
  • Enable investments in green jobs and encourage and promote the development of green and sustainable industries by creating the necessary preconditions for drawing available EU funds by expediently adjusting and modifying the national legislature and strategic framework and thereby enabling the effective and long-term recovery from the crisis and fulfilment of conditions for a circular economy.  This implies putting emphasis on the climate aspect in all topical objectives when programming financial resources from European funds for the period 2021 -2017, with a high level of cooperation with all sectors.
  • Promote local and ecological production of food as a low-carbon measure of adjustment to the impact of unavoidable climate change which together with the COVID-19 crisis cause food supply instability, acting thereby in line with the strategy “From Field to Table”, sustainably utilizing Croatia’s natural resources and contributing to general health and well being;
  • Provide to  regional and local self-government units the possibility of implementing and investing in measures that will secure adequate adjustments to  climate changes which are   already unavoidable, including  infrastructure, services and  education of citizens  based mainly on green solutions and encouraging them in the process to turn to low-carbon and zero carbon development.

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