CIUDAD Project helps ENPI South and East cities sign up to Covenant of Mayors
A conference organised under the framework of the EU-funded CIUDAD project SURE (Sustainable Urban Energy in the ENPI region) was held in Polotsk, Belarus this month. According to an EU Delegation to Belarus press release, the purpose of the conference was to demonstrate how this project can help two cities -Polotsk in Belarus and Salé in Morocco – develop sustainable energy strategies.
The SURE project unites six partners from five countries – Germany (City of Friedrichshafen, the lead project partner), Spain (City of Murcia), Belarus (City of Polotsk), Morocco (City of Salé) and France (Conference on Peripheral Maritime Regions). The main aim of the project is to encourage cooperation between ENPI-East and ENPI-South regions and to contribute to the sustainable development of energy in two cities – Polotsk (Belarus, ENPI-East) and Salé (Morocco, ENPI-South).
The SURE project aims to achieve this by helping these two cities sign up to the Covenant of Mayors, a widely known European initiative. Signatories to the Covenant commit to achieving significant improvements in sustainable energy development by 2020. So far, the Covenant of Mayors has been signed by 2181 European cities, with Polotsk (planning to sign the agreement in September 2011) and Salé being the first signatories from Belarus and Morocco.
Local and regional authority representatives from Belarus, Morocco, Germany, and Spain, as well as experts from various administrations, institutions and organizations of Belarus working in energy, attended the conference. INCENTO project manager Patricia Ruppert gave a presentation of the SURE project and the Covenant of Mayors. Fernando Sanchez Lara, an engineer at the City Council of Murcia, told the conference about Murcia’s experience as one of the project partners already signed up to the Covenant of Mayors.
The need for a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for Polotsk - a mandatory requirement that all Covenant signatories need to fulfil – was also discussed. “We still lack experience in these questions,’” said Vladimir Nistyuk, Executive Director of the Renewable Energy Association, during the discussion about the Action Plan. “We are just beginning to reflect on energy efficiency. We should remember that, alongside energy challenges, we should also deal with environmental challenges.”
According to the press release, all participants agreed that it was extremely important to have such a plan. “We need to be guided by certain activities that will make it possible to introduce energy efficient technologies. City of Polotsk is making an important step towards economic development of the region,” said Vasiliy Pashinskiy, Head of the Department of Energy Efficient Technologies of International Sakharov Environmental University.
“Polotsk has already achieved solid results,” said Viktor Vaytulyanets, Deputy Head of the Vitebsk regional administration for supervision of rational use of fuel and energetic resources. “In 2008-2010, Polotsk achieved all key targets. The city might as well aim not only at the 20-20-20 objective, but at 40-40-20 objective, provided that it keeps up the good work.”
According to the release, participants agreed that the SURE project is of extreme importance not only for sustainable energy development in Polotsk, but also for the enhancement of further cooperation between the participating cities and countries. “It is amazing that four cities from four countries are working together to deal with a common challenge, a very ambitious challenge that requires great dedication,” said Peter Hauswald, Vice-mayor of Friedrichshafen, Lead Partner of the SURE project.
“The project gives new impetus to the cooperation between Belarus and Morocco,” added Ahmed Hadidou from the Administration of the City of Salé.
The SURE project has a budget of € 620 000 and will run until mid-2012. Future project activities include an energy audit in Polotsk and Salé, development of the Sustainable Energy Action Plans for these cities, and a training course for Belarusian and Moroccan energy experts in Murcia.
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