Development experts share success stories in sustainable energy

Dec 9, 2013


Innovative practices to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in Southeast Europe were the focus of a sub-regional conference organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zagreb on 9-10 December 2013. Representatives from UNDP offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey shared experiences and success stories aimed at fulfilling the promise of the UN Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL) ( initiative. This initiative sets three targets for 2030: to provide access to energy to the one billion people in the world who currently lack it; to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix; and to double improvements in energy efficiency.

The urgent need for a sustainable approach to energy was underlined in a keynote address by Daniela Carrington, UNDP’s leading expert on climate change. The policies and activities pursued by the European Union (EU) to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency were shared by Davor Kunc from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement and Borko Raičević from the Secretariat of the Energy Community. On the second day of the conference, Paul Hockenos from the European Energy Review explained the German energy transition, setting the context for the workshops and panel discussions that followed.

The conference showed that Southeast Europe has huge potential to adopt sustainable energy policies and practices, but that funding and political will are both often lacking. UNDP experts shared examples of innovative initiatives that, once tested at the local level, could be replicated on a larger scale within countries and transferred to other countries in the region.

Among the case studies shared at the conference, UNDP Croatia presented its efforts to “crowdfund” solar power for a primary school; promote energy cooperatives; and restore electricity to rural villages that are still cut off from the power grid. UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina focused on rural electrification and UNDP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia presented a system for monitoring energy consumption in public-sector buildings. UNDP Turkey presented an energy efficiency project which targets industry and the public and household sectors, while UNDP Albania showcased a successful solar water heating project.