31 May 2024

ICLEI and partners join forces to advance climate action in the Balkans

On 22 May 2024, ICLEI Member Tirana (Albania) hosted a workshop focused on addressing the challenges and opportunities in advancing climate action within the B40 Balkan Cities Network. The workshop was supported by ICLEI Europe working with the European Commission’s Smart Cities Marketplace and provided a discussion and co-creation space for cities to share their experiences and strategies for improving urban sustainability and climate resilience.

The event brought together about 20 representatives from the B40 cities, primarily from climate and environmental sectors, as well as smart city experts from various cities within the B40 group.

While opening the workshop the Mayor of Tirana and Member of ICLEI Europe’s Regional Executive Committee (RexCom), Erion Veliaj, set an encouraging tone for the day's discussions by highlighting the climate emergency and the role that cities would need to play in leading climate action on the ground. These introductory remarks were followed by collaborative discussion and a solution oriented co-creation process where participants focused on various challenges and opportunities identified in their climate action efforts.

The Smart Cities Marketplace team engaged with city representatives to explore potential actions that could be delivered and the business and financing models needed to succeed. These actions covered key areas such as information and communication technology infrastructure, sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, and environmental quality and protection.

A key outcome of the workshop was the commitment from participating cities to identify projects for which they seek financing, to submit requests for support through the Smart Cities Marketplace intake process. This would make them available for project-specific support and guidance through the advisory services and resources offered by the Smart Cities Marketplace.

The successful workshop was led by Julinda Dahme, Director General of Environment and Sustainable Development for the City of Tirana, and helped to foster a spirit of collaboration and setting the stage for future initiatives aimed at advancing climate action and urban sustainability in the Balkan region, with support from the Smart Cities Marketplace.