Mark van Wees: Support for Serbia through IPA project

In mid-September last year the representatives of the GFA Consulting Group took participation at the conference in the Serbian Chamber of Commerce where the beginning of work on the Strategy on Climate Change with the Action plan was presented. GFA group will provide assistance and it will have a monitoring role in this process.

In our region, this German consulting firm has cooperated with a number of Ministries and local self-governments and enabled financial resources as well as the implementation of projects in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia and Macedonia. Currently, they are implementing international projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and America.

We have met two experts from this group in Belgrade and our interlocutor is one of them Mr. Mark van Wees. He is the team leader and the key expert within the project of Strategy on Climate Change and Action plan. He has 20 years of experience in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and climate change, and he has a Master degree in Physics. He was included in the development of numerous studies and analyses.

So far, he has cooperated with relevant institutions such as the EBRD, the World Bank and the European Commission.

EP: GFA Consulting Group is renowned for its efficient solutions in the global market consulting. This company, whose headquarters are in Hamburg, has implemented complex studies and projects in over 130 countries by 1982. What will your team do with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Serbia and what will be your concrete task? What are the deadlines when we talk about the Strategy on Climate Change together with the Action Plan?

Mark van Wees: Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection will develop with the support of IPA project the National Strategy on Climate Change which will be connected with all the sectors. It will create the Action Plan and legal framework for the future activities. In the period of the preparation of the Strategy, many other activities should also start. The Action plan will have to comply with the future obligations of the Republic of Serbia, as a potential EU member. It will have to comply  with EU2030 Climate and Energy Framework as well as with the Strategy of Energy Community.

The project Strategy on Climate Change with the Action Plan received the support of the EU in the framework of IPA 2014. It will provide information on the impact, costs and welfare of the alternative solutions that we propose in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. We will offer regulation, measurement techniques and climate goals. The main objective is to evaluate the existing policies in Serbia, including the assessment of the readiness of the institutions and legal frameworks. Then, we will propose recommendations for improvement.

Another key task is to assess the impact of the economic and social segment of life. It is also important to evaluate the influence of new scenarios on the environment that predict a decrease of CO2. This includes scenarios that refer to the approach of Serbia to the European Union and scenarios based on the intentions and information of the interest parties.

This project will last until the end of 2017 and we will work in a very close cooperation with all relevant Ministries. During the project, the team will regularly consult the stakeholders in social and economic circles and identify the desired regulations and measures for Serbia.

EP: The issue of climate change is very important in international institutions and circles dealing with energy, harmonization of energy policy and environmental protection. We can also add that China and the United States have recently ratified the Paris agreement during the meeting of G20. However, it is necessary that 50 countries which account for more than 55 percent in air pollution ratify the agreement. How do you assess Serbian INDC (Intended national contribution)?

Mark van Wees: Paris agreement crossed the threshold for entering into force after October 5th, 2016, when the agreement was ratified by China, the US and EU. Now the plan is that it comes into force on November 4th, 2016. This is a very important step. Serbia has declared its Intended national contribution with the plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 9.8 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. Your country now must put into operation a serious climate and energy policy that will allow you not only to realize the current policy, but also to strengthen and help the fight towards the goal in the years to follow. This effort is in line with all the signatories to the agreement. All these countries have also identified their contribution to climate change and the impact they have on the overall life.

EP: GFA group has cooperated with the countries in the Balkan region. What would be your advice to our administration at this point?

Mark van Wees: GFA group is very active in the whole region, not just when it comes to climate change, but also in other energy projects. The energy sector is the key sector in the process of reducing the level of CO2 in Serbia. Here I want to point out the experience of GFA when it comes to financial analysis, such as investments in energy efficiency. We had a number of successful projects in the region on this subject. Financing of low-carbonic development in Serbia will be the key issue for our project.

EP: What do you expect from the conference COP22 in Morocco?

Mark van Wees: This conference is very important because many of the items agreed upon in the Paris Agreement must be further developed and agreed upon in more details. By this I mean, for example, an agreement on the CO2 market and the necessary instruments for the functioning of that market. I expect that COP22 will put the Paris Agreement into operation. I would like to invite your readers to follow all the information, results and opportunities for interested parties on the project that we started in Serbia on the web page www.serbiaclimatestrategy.eu.

Interview by: Vesna Vukajlović