Cross-border cooperation programmes work to strengthen a clean environment through different types of actions, from improving the quality of water to upgrading waste management facilities, from reducing marine litter to protecting endangered species.
OULU – Arctic forests are not doing well: growth is decreasing, cuttings are increasing, and in the last 20 years trees have gradually absorbed less and less carbon. Exploring the legacy of the ENI CBC northern cluster programmes, TESIM has decided to dig into one of the topics the programmes have extensively dealt with. Because the alarm for Arctic forests is high.
Nowadays we continually learn about the environment, and mostly in dramatic terms. We are confronted with increasingly frequent environmental disasters, we face the insufficient commitments of various countries on helping to lower the level of CO2 or reducing the invasion of plastic and micro-plastic into our seas and ecosystems, even inside our bodies. We all know about the inadequate efforts to really change things and reverse the trend pushing the planet towards a gloomy future. To describe the current geological era, experts and scientists have even invented a neologism, the anthropocene, in which the Earth’s environment, in all its characteristics, is strongly conditioned by the effects of human action.
Eyes on the youth! On 7 and 8 November the “Interreg Youth Road Show” headed to the Southeast Mediterranean, bringing around 30 representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament to meet the youth of Thessaloniki and Serres (Greece). Four Interreg programmes took a chance to showcase their youth project in vocational training, employability, entrepreneurship, and environmental education. The trip’s itinerary included – for the first time! – an ENI CBC project “ZeroWasteBSB”. Its partners fromTurkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Greece focus on zero waste practices and awareness-raising activities to minimize marine litter in the Black Sea Basin. The Greek partner – ANTIGONE – carried out a cycle of educational activities in several schools in Thessaloniki, and during the “Interreg Youth Road Show” we were able to appreciate the results of their work with youth.
Mediterranean Sea Basin ENI CBC projects climate change
A dialogue between elected officials from both shores of the Mediterranean highlights the need to pursue the road to ecological transition, for which ENI CBC projects are working since several years. An online event – organised by the ENI CBC MED programme among others – with a final message: the future of the Mediterranean lies in widespread responsibility of decision makers, suppliers, and users, linked together as a “community of practice” when it comes to energy, waste, or water management.
Controlled burning can reduce huge volumes of garbage into – literally – a handful of ashes. Waste combustion is often preferred as an alternative to waste landfilling. But what is most important, it allows to recover energy from the burning process – either in the form of electricity and/or heat – that can further be used in homes and businesses. TheEnyMSW project has worked on the development of this idea for the border regions of Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Traditional water treatment systems are usually costly and sometimes not very safe for the environment: they use potentially toxic elements such as chlorine, or expensive techniques like ultra-violet light. The OneDrop project is developing a new water purification system based on a key element that is cheaper and safer: sodium ferrate. This is a very active oxidizing agent, capable of cleaning huge amounts of water even if injected in very low quantity. In addition, the project is making this purification plant mobile, potentially able to reach everywhere. The OneDrop project – implemented in the framework of the South-East Finland Russia CBC programme – is already catching media attention: it promises to be a real revolution.
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.
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.
“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
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.
“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
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.
“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.
“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.