• 05 March 2021

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Energy efficiency to tackle climate change

    After decades of energy inefficiency, technological innovations have led to some enormous improvements in the responsible use of energy. However, the pressing need to curb climate change requires more efforts in this area.

    Energy efficiency means optimising the use of resources to produce energy. As well as consuming fewer resources, it means reducing emissions. This is essential to gradual decarbonisation and to keep the increase in the planet’s temperature to a maximum of 1.5ºC. Companies and individuals have become more acutely aware of the finite nature of fossil fuels, their increasing cost and their environmental impact.  

    The international community made a global commitment in the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. The goal for 2030 is to ensure that everybody has access to electricity and to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy. 

    This general objective is specified in two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the aims of SDG7 “Affordable and clean energy” is to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency from 2015 to 2030. As the UN Energy Progress Report points out, although things are improving, there is still much to be done. SDG11 “Sustainable cities and communities” also warns of the concentration of the population in cities and the need to develop adequate, energy efficient urban infrastructures.  

    ods 7 y 11 eficiencia energética

    To this end, in 2012 the European Union enacted a series of binding measures to promote energy efficiency with Directive 2012/27 / EU. In 2020, under the European Green Deal, the European Union committed to a more demanding objective of improving energy efficiency from 20% to 32.5% compared to 1990 levels.  

    With the 2030 Agenda and with European and Spanish cooperation as its point of reference, FIIAPP has been working on cooperation projects with public administrations around the world for more than 20 years. With the maxim of benefiting citizens, several of the projects implemented by the Foundation have included the promotion of public policies to foster energy efficiency among their objectives. 

    For example, under the EUROCLIMA + cooperation programme, we are currently working in collaboration with Paraguay to promote clean technologies and energy efficiency. As part of the “Promotion of the Efficient Use of Biomass in Paraguay” action, the Vice Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES) are receiving support to develop a calculation tool for SMEs to carry out self-diagnosis of energy consumption and identify potential savings points.  

    In the field of Public Technical Cooperation, the team is working to design and run a national dissemination campaign targeting the agro-industrial sector. The purpose of this campaign is to instil the concept of energy efficiency and its benefits in economic, social and environmental aspects in the productive sector. 

    FIIAPP also works closely on energy efficiency matters with Cuban public bodies. Cuba has launched a new roadmap for the country to gradually incorporate renewable energy sources and work on energy efficiency. The aim is that by 2030 at least 24% of the energy generated will be renewable with better efficiency. This would mean saving 1.73 million tons of fuel per year and avoid releasing 6 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. 

    One of the actions of the Cuba-EU II Expert Exchange programme aims to improve energy efficiency in the Cuban hospitality sector. Three specialists from the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (IRC) are taking part in a Master’s Degree in Energy Conversion Systems and Technologies, at the Rovira y Virgilio University in Tarragona. 

    Alexander Maura is working on his thesis on solar energy-based conversion systems in a hotel in an isolated area that generates its own electricity using fossil fuels, Ricardo Domínguez’s thesis explores the use of biogas for refrigeration and air conditioning purposes of a pig farm while Carlos Luis Izquierdo is designing a grid-connected photovoltaic system at IRC to boost renewable energy and reduce emissions.  

    parque eólico eficiencia energética

    ‘Cuba Renovables’ is another of the projects managed by FIIAPP to promote energy efficiency among Cuban institutions. The project is part of the “Cuba Energy Support Programme”, implemented through a programme of cooperation between the EU and Cuba. Its aim is to contribute to the effective implementation of the ‘Policy for the prospective development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency’ in Cuba and its regulatory framework. 

    The project supports the new national policy promote rational use of energy by reducing consumption and increasing savings. Cuban institutions have already launched different awareness campaigns for the population. Companies also play an important role and work is being done to promote the production of equipment for private and industrial use that is more efficient in saving energy. 

    These projects are an example of the effort of the international community, the European Union and Spain to offer joint responses through cooperation to global problems such as climate change. With the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the European Development Consensus as a guide, FIIAPP encourages public institutions to share their experience, steering them to generate results, forge relationships of trust and strengthen values in societies. 

  • 06 February 2020

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “Our projects are based on Romanian foreign policy priorities”

    We interview Cătălin Harnagea, director of RoAid, the Romanian development cooperation agency

    RoAid is Romania’s international development cooperation agency, which combines the work of Romanian public institutions, civil society and the private sector, to foster global efforts to sustainably alleviate extreme poverty and support stronger democratic institutions in developing countries.

    Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, also became an official development assistance donor (ODA) the same year. This was when the country joined the efforts by the international community to support the economic, social and political welfare of developing countries.

    Cătălin Harnagea is the director of RoAid and we had the opportunity to ask him about the newly created agency.

    Let’s talk about RoAid.

    Ours is a very young agency. We have been working for a little over a year and a half, since spring 2018. We have now carried out some missions and started projects; and in addition to our agency’s goals with our partner countries, we also want to raise the profile of our work in the European Union, for example through our recent access to the Practitioner’s Network.

    How was the agency set up and how has it evolved during this time?

    Until two years ago, we had a special unit within the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose function was to develop policies and establish development cooperation priorities in Romania. Now, in collaboration with this Ministry and with other institutions, as well as formulating policies and priorities, we also implement these policies through our projects.

    What can you tell us about the projects you are now managing?

    Our projects are based on Romanian foreign policy priorities, which have very important objectives in the countries and regions around Romania, including the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans. In addition, there are specific opportunities and projects in Moldova, in Ukraine, and in Georgia. Also, in 2020 we hope to start working in Armenia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina and other countries in the region.

    I would also like to point out that our thematic priorities are 100% based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and, with this support, we are developing and implementing some projects in Africa, such as in the Congo in the field of energy, as well as others in Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe. In fact, we going to sign a trilateral agreement between the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the African Union.

    We have also prioritised contact with other agencies such as KOICA, a Korean cooperation agency with which we have signed a memorandum of understanding and we have relationships with other agencies such as the Japanese JICA and, of course, European agencies such as those in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Spanish agencies, such as FIIAPP.

    How do you rate your entry into the Practitioner’s Network, the network of European cooperation agencies?

    We believe that it is a fundamental pillar to consolidate the implementation of development cooperation projects and, for us, this entry is very important because we want to understand what our strategic objectives are and which of these they consider to be the most important in the long, medium and short term.