Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.
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Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Dear Excellences, fellow Ministers, colleagues,
COVID-19 pandemic and this unprecedented situation constitutes for the world serious challenges.
Although the focus is now on fighting the pandemic, decisions on how to recover national economies following the COVID-19 crisis are crucial in moving towards climate neutrality and the implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Latvia fully supports the need to urgently step up ambition for climate action on a global scale.
Tackling climate change is one of the key priorities for Latvia. Our commitment to drive ambitious climate action remains.
Year 2020 is crucial for climate action. We expect all Parties to communicate updated NDCs in time for COP26 and submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission strategies to the UNFCCC this year that are coherent with the overall objectives of the Paris Agreement.
It is vital to give consumers, investors and businesses the necessary signals to accelerate the transformation towards a climate neutral future.
Despite the challenge COVID-19 crisis has brought upon us, climate proofing and ‘do no-harm’ principles must be used as the underlying criteria as we design national plans to recover our economies.
This is our opportunity to recover better, greener and more just. The investments we will now be putting in our economies are debt from future generations and we cannot leave them a world that is reliant on outdated, fossil intensive industries and technologies.
We must not allow the temporary reductions in emissions caused by the economic recession to lessen our efforts for strong action on climate policy. Experience from previous economic crises demonstrates that short-term emission reductions are offset by stronger emission growth in the following years. We cannot allow this to happen again.
Government of Latvia has recently endorsed number of initiatives to ensure economic recovery from challenges posed by COVID-19 crisis are in line with the climate objectives.
It includes allocation of funding to municipal investment projects aimed at increasing energy efficiency in multi-apartment buildings, creating public infrastructure and promoting business development in order to create new green jobs, supporting local producers and service providers, thus attracting more private investment to the regions.
Furthermore, COVID-19 has showed us all the importance of different digital solutions that could also enable transition to climate neutrality.
Digital solutions are already behind many novel public and private business models. Emerging technologies go hand in hand with new economy models to tackle environmental challenges.
Latvia highly appreciates the initiative of the Government of Japan to launch an Online Platform that could gather best practices and experiences from all over the world as we ensure the economic recovery helps us for implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
- Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
- Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.
1.Climate mitigation measures
OthersResponse RecoveryOn June 29 the Government of the Republic of Latvia has supported several municipal investment projects with the aim of supporting those who contribute to the economy at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The approved projects include projects such as the reconstruction of road coverage and the road infrastructure, the energy efficiency measures for buildings, the improvement of traffic safety, the construction of a new combined pedestrian and cycling path and the others.Reference https://m.likumi.lv/ta/id/315751-par-atbalstitajiem-pasvaldibu-investiciju-projektiem-valsts-aizdevumu-pieskirsanai-arkartejas-situacijas-ietekmes-mazinasanai-un-noversanai-saistiba-ar-covid-19-izplatibuContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
OthersRecoveryOn July 14 the Government of the Republic of Latvia approved the Regulation on the conditions and procedures for issuing a state loan to local governments for mitigation and prevention of the impact of an emergency situation related to the spread of Covid-19, which sets out the rules for the establishment with regard to the procedure and conditions for the submission and evaluation of local government investment projects. Simultaneously the conditions for issuing state loans to reduce and prevent the impact of the emergency situation related to the spread of COVID-19 in local governments have been clarified.
With this Regulation a positive impact on the environment will be ensured, as the energy efficiency of municipal buildings will be improved, ensuring compliance of the building with the minimum permissible level of building energy efficiency and building energy certificate, where the investment project does not exceed 4 euros per year. When performing the energy audit, it must be taken into account that after the implementation of the energy efficiency measures recommended by the energy auditor, the building must ensure compliance with the requirements specified in the building standards.
The provision of support for the connection of residents' real estate to the public service provider's centralized sewerage and water supply networks (existing main pipelines built within the framework of European Union funds projects) on the basis of binding regulations in force in the municipality will also ensure a positive impact on the environment.
Reference https://likumi.lv/ta/id/316127-noteikumi-par-nosacijumiem-un-kartibu-kada-pasvaldibam-izsniedz-valsts-aizdevumu-arkartejas-situacijas-ietekmes-mazinasanaiContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
OthersRecoveryOn December 1 2020 the Government of the Republic of Latvia has supported 17 municipal investment projects for the total amount of 4 550 390 EUR. The municipal support (loan program) is part of the economic recovery plan that provides a socially, economically and environmentally responsible restructuring of initially planned investments to ensure that available funding is directed to mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, including job creation. Municipalities submitted their projects to support the development of transport infrastructure, to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, to connect residential real estate to centralized sewerage and water supply networks, to provide educational institutions in accordance with hygiene requirements and develope municipal services that reduce face-to-face communication, such as the contactless solutions. The projects must be completed by 31 December 2021.Reference https://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/jaunums/varam-investiciju-projektu-nosledzosaja-karta-pieskirti-aizdevumi-17-pasvaldibu-projektiemContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
Urban/rural development (energy access etc.)Response RecoveryOn 16 June, 2020 the Government of the Republic of Latvia supported the allocation of more than 9.4 million euro in EU funding for projects in 13 Latvian municipalities. The goal is to increase energy efficiency in municipal buildings, to create public infrastructure and to promote business development in order to create new jobs, to support local producers and service providers, thus attracting private investment in the regions.
Simultaneously as a result of the implementation of these projects, the achievement of Latvia's climate change goals will be promoted (increasing the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and using of renewable energy resources). Reducing dependence on fossil energy imports and switching to local renewables is also expected to benefit the health of the population by improving air quality, especially in cities.Reference https://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/aktualitates/ministrs-puce-ekonomikas-sildisanai-regionos-es-fondu-finansejumu-sanems-augstas
Contact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
3.Other environmental measures
OthersRecoveryOn May 28, 2020 the Government of the Republic of Latvia approved the Strategy to overcome the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. The document is a strategic framework with a complex set of measures that will allow to overcome the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 focusing not only on economic stabilization, but also on exploiting the growth opportunities. The Strategy includes five direction actions - on human capital, innovation, business environment for export capacity, access to finance and infrastructure. The Strategy will be complemented by specific action plans in each of the five directions of actions, defining specific measures, deadlines for their implementation and responsible institutions, as well as funding for their implementation.Contact The Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia
OthersRecoveryOn July 14 the Government of the Republic of Latvia at its meeting approved the Regulation on capital investments in enterprises whose operations have been affected by the spread of Covid-19, setting out the rules for the establishment of alternative investment funds for the support of large enterprises affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The fund is being created with the aim to support well-managed, perspective enterprises that have run into temporary difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as large enterprises that as a result of the virus impact, are ready to adjust their operations by changing their business model, adjusting product development, introducing new technology and expanding to new export markets. The fund will be managed by AS Development Finance Institution Altum.
The fund’s total size will be EUR 100 million, consisting in equal parts of public and private financing – EUR 50 million worth of public funds and EUR 50 million raised from the companies managing state-funded pension schemes. The share of public funding will not exceed 50% of the fund’s total capital. The alternative investment fund will be making investments of up to EUR 10 million in companies’ capital, quasi-capital and corporate bonds. The plan is to provide support to 20 to 30 large enterprises through the fund.
AS Development Finance Institution Altum will decide on investment based on the business plan developed by the enterprises, which also have to include an action plans to address the impact of Covid-19 infection on the enterprises business, information, how the received investment supports the activities of the enterprise in accordance with the objectives of the European Union and Latvia's obligations related to green and digital transformation, including the objective of the European Union to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The fund’s investments will target economically viable and well-managed enterprises, companies operating in high value added industries, employing a large number of people and making significant social security contributions and personal income tax payments into the government budget, enterprises that are involved in innovation and/or manufacture of innovative products, and enterprises of systemic importance to their respective industries, etc.
Reference https://likumi.lv/ta/id/316129-noteikumi-par-kapitala-ieguldijumiem-komersantos-kuru-darbibu-ietekmejusi-covid-19-izplatibaContact The Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia
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