Balkan Green Foundation held the first national workshop in the framework of the partnership and regional initiative “Smarter Stoves”, which aims to establish a public dialogue on the use of old and inefficient heating equipment in the Western Balkans region, and the impact that this phenomenon has on the environment by creating air pollution.
Present were representatives of public institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, representatives of civil society, private businesses related to heating and the environment, banking institutions and chambers of commerce in Kosovo.
During the workshop, an analysis of the situation and the measures that have been taken so far were presented, where a series of challenges in this sector were identified. The seriousness of the current situation regarding the levels of air pollution was stressed, underlining the interconnectedness of the energy sector and its high contributing impact on poor air quality.
The participants made a series of valuable recommendations for the process, underlining that there is room for immediate action to improve the sustainability of heating practices in Kosovo but also in the region.
Among others, the need for harmonization and economic activity with the national plan and the interconnection between the national and municipal plan was emphasized as well as the necessity for an effective mechanism that serves as an incentive for the private and household sector to choose more efficient and less polluting practices.
The need for programs to identify alternatives as well as social programs to support specific categories of society, but also to raise the awareness of these private sectors and households in order to have a more active and key role in this aspect.
To conclude, the action of coordinating multiple actors from different levels and highlighting as a school step to success in reducing PM particle emissions from individual heating in the country and region. “Awareness on this issue is growing significantly. All stakeholders need to be aware of the challenge and the situation. It is time to allow for consensus-building activities that can be properly designed and implemented”, marked Besfort Kosova, project manager at the Balkan Green Foundation.