Zagreb conference provides boost for eco-innovation

Sustainable energy tops other sectors in eco-financing

June 9, 2009 | By Dusan Sevic

The Regional Conference on Financing Eco-Innovation in SEE was held on Monday, April 27, in Zagreb, Croatia. The goal of the conference was to find better solutions for financing eco-innovation at national and regional levels. This can be achieved by linking international and national investors and donors with eco-technology project proponents from the private and the public sectors in order to discuss loan and grant conditions on the one hand, and project proponents' needs and capacities on the other. The conference addressed sustainable energy, recycling and cleaner production, with a focus on sustainable energy, which has been identified as currently the most actively financed sector. The working language of the conference was English, with simultaneous translation into the languages of the target countries (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia).

The project, 'Promoting Financing Mechanisms for Eco-innovation in South-Eastern Europe', implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), aims to identify and assess existing mechanisms for supporting and financing eco-innovations (research, development and application of eco-technologies) in the target countries. The project comprises the gathering and analysis of information about existing mechanisms for stimulating and financing eco-innovation in these countries. This information is being used to create a comparative regional study with recommended solutions for improving financing conditions for eco-innovation. The draft study findings were presented at the regional conference and discussed with speakers and participants in order to find more effective ways to finance eco-innovation and apply eco-technologies more widely. Following the results of the conference, the final study, with recommendations and a database of all relevant actors in the region, will be sent to conference participants in CD format in June 2009.

Key issues such as the following were discussed at the conference: mobilisation of private and public funding; bridging the gap between early-stage innovation and commercialisation; creation of fiscal incentives and the fostering of public-private partnership instruments; and enhancing cooperation between relevant agencies.

Speakers at the conference included: representatives of EU and member states' programmes for supporting eco-innovation; representatives of relevant regional IFI programmes; representatives of national institutions and financing mechanisms; and researchers and businesses. Presentations and discussions focused on existing mechanisms for financing eco-innovation in both the European Community and in South-Eastern Europe (SEE), and the ways to improve these mechanisms for SEE countries. Among the conclusions of the conference was the identification of a strong need for creating active national multi-stakeholder platforms in SEE countries for promoting eco-innovations, overcoming existing barriers, and catalysing relevant financing mechanisms. For further details about the speakers and their presentations, please see the related conference documents http://fei.rec.org/documents.php. For more information, please contact the project manager, Dusan Sevic at: dsevic at rec dot org.