The Western Balkans Green Recovery and Support Program contributes to the acceleration of climate action and green growth efforts in the context of post-pandemic recovery, in the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia). The program assists client countries to design and deploy:
- Policy and regulatory instruments that promote more sustainable and resilient growth paths and deliver local environmental sustainability and climate co-benefits; and
- Integrated approaches to air quality management and climate change mitigation that contribute to making cities more livable.
The program’s goal is to support Western Balkan countries to green their recoveries and transition to a sustainable, green growth model. It aims to help countries design and deploy the right instruments to support climate action, environmental sustainability, resilience, and inclusion. This program is supporting three main types of activities through the 2024 fiscal year:
- Undertaking climate-resilient fiscal policy and regulatory reform: The program will support the design of climate-related fiscal and regulatory reforms that would accelerate a green recovery and make Western Balkan countries environmentally sustainable and resilient to future shocks. Examples of activities supported include developing frameworks for aligning fuel taxes, carbon prices, or water and air pollution fees; designing clean mobility solutions; establishing green finance mechanisms for the region; and advancing just transition approaches, among other activities.
- Developing an integrated approach to air quality management and climate change mitigation (IAQCCM): The program will support the Bank’s lending operations in incorporating IAQCCM. This support includes project preparation activities such as identifying cost-effective pathways for integrated air pollution and climate change abatement measures, designing comprehensive policy packages to encourage households and firms to integrate IAQCCM measures, and supporting stakeholder outreach and behavioral change.
- Mainstreaming climate resilience in selected sectors: To advance a resilient recovery, the Western Balkans Program will support activities such as natural resource management-based solutions, blue economy, and circular economy approaches.
Efforts will be made to ensure that all activities under the program will be aligned with existing EU strategies relevant to the countries of the Western Balkans. This will include using the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans (GAWB) as the region’s blueprint for implementing the European Green Deal (EGD). The GAWB is embedded in the larger context of the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) for the Western Balkans and has been endorsed by the countries of the region through the Sofia Declaration signed on 10 November 2020.