The EU Green Deal upheld locally by MED partners

Reducing emissions, developing energy efficient buildings, moving towards a greener, carbon-free environment. Yes, limiting temperature increase is possible. Two ENI CBC projects – implemented within the framework of the ENI CBC Med programme – were showcased this year at the UN climate change conference COP26, highlighting their contribution towards a resilient, climate neutral future. Their achievements were shared with the audience at the EU digital side event, held during the UN conference on 9 November. It was the occasion to find out what Europe and its southern neighbours are doing for climate resilience and green recovery. Contributing to the race to limit temperature increase to 1.5ºC.

Processed cattle manure is a good deal for the environment

Did you know that cattle manure is not the same as organic fertilizer? To become a nutrient substance for plants, it must be correctly processed, stored and spread. Otherwise, it may negatively impact the environment – air, soil and water. Excessive amounts of manure produced by large-scale livestock farms in the Leningrad region (Russia) bear environmental risks for the eco-systems in the Baltic Sea region. The ECOAGRAS project introduces best available technologies for handling organic cattle waste, with the aim to reduce environmental impact while securing the economic activity.        

Less money for heating bills: the eco-renovation of public universities

“Nobody doubts the rationality of investing in energy efficiency. But experience and funds are limited and the  interventions are costly and complex. While national initiatives and international donor programmes are available, they have one drawback; you work alone. This is where ENI CBC MED comes in: it is a fantastic programme as it is not only a theoretical one, it is more of a concrete programme, enabling the delivery of real change. This is its main added value, compared to others”

Dr Imad Ibrik from the An-Najah University in Palestine

When a lake builds communities’ life

Lake Peipsi is a unique water body. It is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe shared by Estonia and Russia. For more than a decade this natural resource has been a focal point for any cross-border initiative between the two countries. Can one single CBC project improve lake water quality, boost local businesses, empower neighbouring communities and even set milestones for re-establishing water connections between two countries? Yes, it can! Meet the project “Common Peipsi” co-funded by Estonia-Russia CBC programme.

A single tool to answer all questions from science to politics for the sake of the Gulf of Finland

“I observed that the scientific information available often is not used by the decision makers. They tend to look at things from a wider perspective, and science is often perceived as too complicated. In order to bring policy makers and scientists closer, I wanted to create an umbrella tool that would facilitate their communication”

Jonne Kotta, Estonian Marine Institute (EMI), University of Tartu

Turning city rivers into sunbathing beaches

Riversides cleaned, with lighting system, bins, benches installed, and even a place to sunbathe.  “When a place is attractive, it becomes like glue, it sticks you to the territory and that is what we want to do, attract visitors and glue them to our cities”. Sticky Urban Areas is the name and the main idea behind the project funded by Latvia-Russia CBC programme, with the objective to transform natural resources into attractive areas for inhabitants and visitors. Two municipal administrations – Rēzekne City Council in Latvia (LV) and Ostrov District Administration in Russia (RU) – are very concerned about the situation in their cities. Rēzekne is far away from the capital, and not being a seaside city does not help; and Ostrov – located in the eastern part of a huge country like Russia – is often forgotten when it comes to hauling financial resources and attracting businesses. Yet, both places have immense potential, and an untapped opportunity for businesses to thrive and to get tourists moving: their natural resources, especially, their rivers.

Green and sustainable buildings to save energy and challenge the high north

“Life in the north is not always easy, and our regions are not always the most hospitable. From the distance everything looks like snow and skiing, but the urban environment is a totally different matter. The quality of buildings and housing is crucial for quality of life in our latitude”.

Bjørn R Sørensen, professor at the Arctic University of Norway.

One river, two countries, the same goal: reducing nutrient inputs to save it

“Each of these two countries, Estonia and Russia, must reduce the level of pollution it is throwing into the Narva River: they both have defined targets to reach, but the problem is that they calculate them differently. We are experts, and we think that we are talking about the same thing. But, in reality, we refer to things that have different meaning for each of us. This is where the problem lays: and this is what this project is trying to change”

Alvina Reihan from the Tallinn University of Technology, the lead beneficiary organisation.

Living safely along the Tisza river banks

“Many writers describe Tisza as a river of gentle, incredible beauty, and  at the same time as a river with its own, harsh temperament. The people of Zatissianschyna know it: they were twice affected by its catastrophic flooding, in 1998 and 2001. Thanks to this project, we want them to live safely on the Tisza’s bank, to forget the fear and to only enjoy its beauty!” 

Marina Skral, the Head of the International Cooperation Division of Tisza River Basin Water Resources Directorate.

Pure tap water for 170.000 people in Pskov

Water is life, it is everywhere at our disposal, and we take it for granted: but this precious resource is limited, and threatened by pollution, waste, mismanagement. That is why a cross border project between Latvia and Russia is today working not only to improve the quantity and quality of drinkable water, but also to make people understand how important a careful use of this priceless source of life is.

Whatever you throw into the sea will come back to you

More than 62 million of debris are estimated to be floating in the Mediterranean Sea – one of the six areas most affected by marine litter in the world. Plastic accounts for a large part of all manmade debris. Marine litter not only endangers numerous aquatic organisms – it threatens to finish up on our plates through the food chain. An EU-funded project COMMON is taking actions in the five pilot areas of the Mediterranean – in Italy, Tunisia and Lebanon – to combat the common challenge.

From your kitchen to your garden: a second life to organic waste

Organic waste from your kitchen coming back to your garden as compost? The idea is not new but very impactful for dozens of communities around the Mediterranean where selective sorting and collection of organic waste were introduced thanks to SCOW project financed by the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. Watch in our video how a better local waste management has changed things in Galilee region (Israel).

Could students be environment-ambassadors for life?

What about a symbolic “contract” signed by every trained student, engaging him to become a life-ambassador for the environment? This is one of the concrete proposals collected during the Participatory LabCitizens for greener cross-border regions along the EU’s external borders”, which took place on 10 October in Brussels during the European Week of Regions and Cities. The biggest event on EU regional and urban policy counted this year on over 6.000 participants, 600 speakers and over 100 workshops, debates and networking opportunities. TESIM participated to the event with a three-fold activity articulated around an exhibition stand, a Participatory Lab and a thematic workshop (as side event).

What environment for post-2020?

How does cross-border cooperation foster the preservation of the environment? Which innovative solutions are brought in by the projects? And how are these projects paving the way for greener, low-carbon cross-border areas in the next programming period?