Climate Proofing for Sustainable Development in the Western Balkans
Ecosystem and socio-economic resilience to climate change in the Western Balkans are intended to increase through strengthened capacities for climate-proofing relevant decision making and investments.
A regional Western Balkans climate proofing platform (WB-CPP) with central access to climate change knowledge, tools and adaptation solutions that promotes evidence-based decision making at the local, national and regional levels is established and used. Key stakeholders and experts are empowered in incorporating climate considerations in respective planning and decision making. The incorporation of climate-proofing principles in decision making and investments in the Western Balkans will provide the necessary framework conditions for targeted actions to implement effective and integrated adaptation action, especially for land use planning and the tourism sector, along with inclusive socio-economic development.
The focus is on a regional multi-stakeholder approach involving representatives of relevant national authorities, government institutions and agencies, the private sector, relevant chambers of commerce as well as local and regional climate change adaptation experts. Approximately 500 stakeholders are intended to actively gain information and knowledge of how to incorporate climate proofing in their planning and decision making from which around 120 are local beneficiaries. The UNEP programme team will exploit its existing networks and strong partnerships in the region of the six Western Balkan Countries to ensure that the appropriate target audiences are reached.
The programme will work on a regional and national level with all 6 Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). In addition, two pilot destinations for climate proofing of tourism through nature based solutions, preferably transboundary, will be identified during the inception phase.
A comprehensive WB-CPP is established with central and free access to climate change information and tools tailored to WB-stakeholder needs supporting the recognition of gender issues and attention on gender equality. Navigation and use of the WB-CPP, including the application of tools, are tested and validated involving stakeholders and experts to ensure co-ownership. Knowledge and technical capacities of key stakeholders and experts are strengthened for climate proofing. Novel approaches for climate-proofing tourism development are identified and recommendations elaborated for pilot destinations.
Despite the considerable progress made in the last decade, the entire Western Balkans region still has limited access to climate change information, tools and assistance to support consideration of climate change risks and impacts in planning and policymaking. Lack of integration of sustainable and climate conscious approaches in investment planning, including for land use management, further exacerbates related impacts on sensitive ecosystems and the tourism economy, which many of the Western Balkan countries depend on heavily. This programme focuses on climate proofing to counter the lacking integration of measures against climate change and its risks.