The topic area implements technical assistance and research projects on various aspects of green economy in a number of areas, including water, waste and climate change. The emphasis is on the switch to a low-carbon economy, with particular focus on the role of financial instruments and the integration of environmental and climate change issues in EU funds at the level of programming and project implementation.
The topic area aims to:
- contribute to policy and sectoral discussions on aspects of green economy, especially the role of financial instruments but also the greening of sectors such as water and waste;
- contribute to the analysis of existing financial and fiscal instruments in the EU and their reform;
- further support strategic environmental investment planning in South Eastern Europe and an opening up to Eastern Partnership countries;
- support European regions to shift towards low-carbon, resource-efficient and climate-friendly economies;
- support the better integration of environmental concerns into EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, regional policy instruments and development programmes and the financial instruments of international financial institutions; and
- promote clean fuels in South Eastern Europe and fuel economy in Central and Eastern Europe and the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
The topic area’s work includes undertaking analytical studies, capacity building and establishing cooperation frameworks among environmental decision makers (ministries of environment, national and regional environmental authorities, infrastructure project proponents, as well as international financial institutions). Specific activities include:
- assisting EU regions to make a shift towards a low-carbon economy and to green different sectors of their economies;
- studying and designing innovative economic instruments;
- analysing the implications of different EU policies for the green economy;
- assisting in strategic environmental investment planning, including the identification and prioritisation of environmental infrastructure investment projects; and in the formulation of investment projects at national and municipal levels;
- promoting environmental integration in EU funds as well as national and regional development funds at the level of programming, project selection and monitoring;
- assisting countries and regional authorities to increase their absorption capacity for EU funds and creating a better understanding of changes in the EU Cohesion Policy;
- collaborating with the European Network for Environmental Authorities and Managing Authorities (ENEA-MA) on the integration of environmental and sustainable development issues within the EU Cohesion policy funds;
- promoting the environmental accountability of international financial institutions through common work with the Financial Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (although not exclusively); and
- promoting the use of clean fuels and vehicles as well as fuel economy in the Central and Eastern European region.