In recent years Sofia municipality has been looking for a modern waste management solution, but all in the wrong direction. At the end of 2011, the Bulgarian capital submitted its latest application for funding to the European Commission. Regrettably, this featured a capital-intensive waste treatment facility and virtually no measures directed at higher levels of the so-called 'waste hierarchy' – namely prevention and reuse.
Entries have started arriving at Bankwatch Towers with concepts and ideas for sustainable, community-based projects – the kind of projects that we think should be receiving much more support from the EU budget. If you live in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, Macedonia or Slovakia, send us your ideas for a chance to realise them with a 3,000 euro prize.
Back in August, the Czech Republic’s handling of municipal waste attracted criticism from the European Commission, when it was identified as one of several EU member states not doing enough to recycle as well as actually infringing European legislation.
It is now widely acknowledged that there is enormous potential to reap environmental, social and economic dividends through improving the energy efficiency of Europe's 160 million buildings. And yet actual investments in energy efficiency measures remain very small in comparison to this potential. To achieve the EU objective of a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 (from 1990 levels), the European Investment Bank estimates that EUR 85 billion per year is needed, with EUR 60 billion per year required for buildings alone. The forthcoming EU budget for 2014-20, currently being negotiated, has a vital role to play here, for both Europe's more developed and less developed countries.
The European Parliament has called for 'sustainable transport' to be a top priority for the next round of EU cohesion spending. Does this mean that we’ll be seeing a new generation of genuinely clean transport projects across Europe? Not just yet, argues Nina Renshaw of sustainable transport campaign group T&E.
A recently published analysis from Bankwatch that examines existing EU funding support for airports in Poland concludes that such EU support for airport infrastructure in Poland and other EU countries has to be phased out in the next EU budget period 2014-2020.
The debates, discussions and negotiations over the EU budget for 2014-20, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), have been bubbling behind the scenes for many months now, but in many senses they are just getting underway. This is crunch time now.
This briefing examines how Ukraine can reduce its dependency on nuclear energy, without sacrificing its ability to meet demands. The results show that Ukraine could very well satisfy its electricity needs even when it shuts down expired nuclear power plants, does not built new ones, and neither increases the use of coal in thermal power plants.
The Environmental and Social Impact Asessment (ESIA) for the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia has been delayed for years and comes at a time when the commercial operations are soon to begin. By including only the construction phase of the mine, the impacts of its actual operations are neglected with potentially devastating impacts on water reserves in the Gobi desert - especially because the interrelation of the deep (fossil water) and shallow aquifers that are used by herders has not been thoroughly assessed and is based only on modelling and assumptions with no monitoring data publicly available.
Bankwatch and its members appeal to Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, to stop the Ukrainian government's plans to construct two new nuclear units at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant. The letter asks Yanukovych to use his vetoing power and not sign the relevant law that was adopted by Ukraine's parliament on 6 September 2012, since the law is in direct violation of Ukraine’s international obligations.
International mining companies and financial institutions want to help transform Mongolia into a modern mining nation. To realise this plan they are banking on the vast coal, copper and gold deposits in the Gobi desert. This paper examines the environmental and social risks connected to this approach and offers suggestions for the EBRD's engagement in the country.
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country rich in water and natural resources. It hosts one of the Earth's most important ecological regions with unique ecosystems and biodiversity and is considered the “water tower” of Central Asia due to its Tien Shan glacier reserves. At the same time, mining operations and the mismanagement of natural resources are increasing the threats posed by climate change and pollution.