The topic area supports the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP). It endorses efforts to respond to the challenges of climate change by estimating greenhouse gas mitigation potential and identifying the best options for adaptation. The topic area enhances the integration of climate policy requirements and commitments into national decision-making processes; and promotes sustainable, clean energy management and the rational use of natural resources to pave the way towards a low-carbon society. It supports stakeholder involvement in shaping national climate policies; facilitates dialogue among stakeholders; and disseminates climate-related information in order to raise awareness and increase public participation. Its experience and knowledge are transferred within and beyond the REC's beneficiary areas.
Through this topic area, the REC aims to improve the knowledge of sub-national and local governments; mobilise them in the context of international efforts; identify their needs and channel them before national and international government bodies; and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices.
Specific objectives are to:
- assess the feasibility and potential of greenhouse gas mitigation;
- promote energy efficiency in the building sector;
- support national and local energy policies;
- contribute to shaping the post-2012 climate policy regime and facilitate its implementation;
- evaluate capacities and data availability in relation to climate impacts and vulnerability assessment;
- elaborate methodologies/guidance to help decision makers develop effective adaptation policies/strategies;
- promote the implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC related to international cooperation, education, training and awareness raising in Central and Eastern Europe;
- reduce environment and security risks related to climate change by supporting the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative; and
- cooperate with a variety of stakeholders in order to achieve a wider and more influential outreach.
Topic area activities are aimed at reducing climate-related risks for ecosystems and economies; increasing the efficient use of energy and the share of green energy; and building a low-carbon society. Activities focus on four main areas:
Promotion of greenhouse gas mitigation
The topic area assists in the identification of mitigation options, in assessments of national mitigation potential in various sectors, and in assessments of the technologically most viable and economically most feasible options to promote a low-carbon society and green regional development. The topic area assesses countries' potential for compliance with the Kyoto targets, based on greenhouse gas emissions projections and taking into consideration policies and measures for emissions reduction.
Promotion of sustainable energies
In the field of energy efficiency, the topic area is involved in policy assessments, analyses and recommendations focusing on the building sector and efficient household appliances. This includes the exploration of financing possibilities, information dissemination, awareness raising and the promotion of change to sustainable energy behaviour. In the field of renewable energy sources the topic area's work covers policy assessments, analyses, the application of renewables in buildings, connections to the grid and transmission, and the efficient operation of the system as a whole.
Assistance to the development of national adaptation strategies
The topic area manages vulnerability mapping and adaptation-related case studies in the region for various sectors, including water, agriculture, coastal regions and urban areas. Its work includes the assessment of data availability and institutional capacity, as well as capacity-building activities and the development of integrated methodologies for effective decision making to address adaptation challenges in various sectors and political contexts. The REC promotes sub-regional and international cooperation in order to address climate adaptation challenges in parallel with security issues, for example in the protection of transboundary water resources.
Promotion of Article 6 of the UNFCCC
This activity covers climate change-related educational programmes, public awareness campaigns, the training of experts, the fostering of public access to information and the promotion of public participation. As regional focal point for Article 6, the REC provides support to national focal points in the implementation of Article 6 and aims to strengthen international/regional cooperation to combat climate change.