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now be putting in our economies are debt from future generations and we cannot leave them a world that is reliant on outdated, fossil intensive industries and technologies.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
OthersResponseEnergy efficiency in municipal buildings
Reduction of annual primary energy consumption and GHG emissions is facilitated by increasing energy efficiency of local government buildings and infrastructure. The projects ensure implementation of the most effective GHG emission reduction measures in two support directions - energy efficency in municipal public buildings and technological processes of public services provided by municipalities. The aid should result in a financial return on investment and a reduction in energy costs for final energy consumers. Projects are being implemented and planned within the framework of:
1) the 2014-2020 EU funds planning period Operational Programme “Growth and Employment”, where 35,2 million euros are provided by additional support measures for the Covid-19 crisis through a medium-term Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative called REACT-EU and, as of August 9, 2022, 62 projects have been approved with the expected annual savings of primary energy of at least 1,1 GWh and GHG reduction of at least 2 204 tons of CO2 equivalent;
2) Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for Latvia where 29,3 million euros includes investments for improving municipal buildings and infrastructure by promoting the transition to renewable energy technologies and improving energy efficiency. The investment measure will support projects with a planned reduction of primary energy by at least 30 %. As a result of the project, a reduction of primary energy consumption in municipal buildings and infrastructure by 4,544,563 kWh/year is planned. The implementation of projects under the investment is planned to commence in 2023.Reference https://www.varam.gov.lv/lv/13131-pasakums-energoefektivitates-paaugstinasana-pasvaldibu-infrastruktura-ekonomiskas-situacijas-uzlabosanai
https://www.varam.gov.lv/lv/1213i-investicija-pasvaldibu-eku-un-infrastrukturas-uzlabosana-veicinot-pareju-uz-atjaunojamo-energoresursu-tehnologiju-izmantosanu-un-uzlabojot-energoefektivitatiContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
Sustainable transportationRecoveryZero-emission vehicles for transportation of learners.
The RRF investment measure No.220.127.116.11.i. "Purchase of zero-emission vehicles for the performance of municipal functions and services" will improve the performance of municipal functions and services with the focus on the mobility of learners while promoting the accessibility of the school network in Latvia, and simulatneously contributing to the greening of public transport in Latvia by investing in zero-emission vehicles. The investment measure aims at the purchase and delivery of 15 zero-emission vehicles (electric bussses) to local municipalities for the transportaton of learners, at the same time replacing at least 15 fossil fuel vehicles, thereby reducing GHG emissions and facilitating the transition to renewable energy sources (RES). The Cabinet regulation laying down the conditions for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles is undergoing public negotiations process and is available at Single Portal for Development and Harmonisation of Draft Legal Acts (TAP portal) and the implementation of projects under the investment is planned to commence in 2023.Contact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
OthersRecoveryOn May 11, June 16, July 14, 2022, the Government of the Republic of Latvia within the framework of the Covid -19 loan programme 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 renovation of bridge, roads, streets infrastructure facilities, the improvement of traffic safety, ensuring hygiene requirements in educational institutions.Reference https://likumi.lv/ta/id/332284-par-atbalstitajiem-pasvaldibu-investiciju-projektiem-valsts-aizdevumu-pieskirsanai-covid-19-izraisitas-krizes-seku-mazinasanai
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/334040-par-atbalstitajiem-pasvaldibu-investiciju-projektiem-valsts-aizdevumu-pieskirsanai-covid-19-izraisitas-krizes-seku-mazinasanaiContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
2.Climate adaptation measures
InfrastructureRecoveryPublic infrastructure in degraded areas
To create public infrastructure and to promote business development, by developing public infrastructure in degraded areas necessary for the needs of economic operators, municipalities have submitted 17 projects for the total amount of the ERDF funding of 23 million euros (REACT-EU funding) under the 18.104.22.168. measure “Revitalisation of territories for the promotion of business in municipalities”. The measure will eliminate pollution risks or eliminate existing environmental pollution, while promoting the availability of sites for business and increasing the number of workers in companies whose production or service is a development centre of national and regional interest.
After project implementation the total land area of at least 28.4 hectares will be restored, with at least 295 newly created jobs, and with at least 12 million euros of non-financial investments by economic operators in own intangible investments and fixed assets. The projects must be completed by 31 December 2023.Reference https://www.varam.gov.lv/lv/13133-pasakums-teritoriju-revitalizacija-uznemejdarbibas-veicinasanai-pasvaldibasContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
InfrastructureRecoveryBusiness public infrastructure for the development of industrial parks and areas
The RRF investment measure No. 22.214.171.124.i. “Investments in business public infrastructure for the development of industrial parks and areas in regions” will provide support for the establishment of functioning and operational 6-8 industrial parks of national importance in the regions of Latvia (with the exception of the planning region of Riga) in order to promote economic activity in the regions and to reduce regional differences. As part of the investment, it is planned to develop previously abandoned industrial areas creating them as industrial parks that would contribute to the development of the local economy. As a result of the investment, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to develop innovative, climate neutral and "green" products and services, which in turn would contribute to the introduction of GHG reduction solutions in other sectors, thereby reducing overall GHG emissions. The project submitter shall ensure that the project does not threaten the environmental principles established by the principle "Do no significant harm" and meets the criteria subordinate to them, including climate change mitigation, to avoid significant GHG emissions and in relation to the objective “adaptation to climate change”, in order not to result in an increase in the adverse effects of the current climate and expected climate on the activity itself or on people, nature or assets. The implementation of projects under the investment is planned to commence in 2023.Contact 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
4.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
Waste management and Circular economy / sustainableRedesignRecycling of biodegradable waste
Based on the additional support measures for the Covid-19 crisis through a medium-term Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative called REACT-EU, which is initiated by the European Commission, the Latvian government has set recovery measures also for environmental protection, increasing the amount of recycled and recovered waste by establishing anaerobic digestion facilities for biodegradable waste. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a significant obstacle to ensuring successful operation and performance of waste recycling is that the demand for raw materials from abroad has fallen sharply and even in conditions of demand there is no possibility to transport raw materials across borders, while Latvia has insufficient recycling capacity within the country. Accordingly, due to both the limited market and the increased transport costs, the stabilization of the local waste recycling market should be promoted with the support of REACT-EU funds. It is also necessary to continue the establishment of waste recycling facilities in Latvia to ensure that the most significant waste streams can be recycled to the full extent within the country, thus ensuring compliance with EU directives on recycling targets and promoting the proximity of waste recycled as close as possible to their source. These activities will provide additional recycling capacity of 51,000 tonnes, but also integratively in reducing the sector's GHG emissions and reducing the negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis with a faster economic recovery. The selection of project applications will start in 2021.Contact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
OthersRecoveryIn order to mitigate and minimise the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, in 2020 and 2021, local governments ware able to obtain public loans for investment projects. These loans are available for projects that could demonstrate a high degree of readiness for their implementation, such that investment in these projects could have an immediate impact in terms of strengthening the economy and providing job opportunities. In 2020 the Cabinet of Ministers supported a total of 307 investment projects submitted by local governments and the total government expenditure for these projects was €134.6 million, of which €99.6 million was provided by way of state loans. In 2021 so far the Cabinet of Ministers supported a total of 111 investment projects submitted by local governments and the total government expenditure for these projects was €43,9 million, of which €36.6 million was provided by way of state loans.
With this support and 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 building energy certificate, where the state loan for investment project does not exceed 4 euros per 1 kWh decrease in annual primary energy consumption. 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/321027-noteikumi-par-kriterijiem-un-kartibu-kada-tiek-izverteti-un-izsniegti-valsts-aizdevumi-pasvaldibam-covid-19-izraisitas-krizes-seku-mazinasanai-un-noversanaiContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureRedesignNature tourism and improvement of Natura 2000 infrastructure
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the loss of biodiversity and the unsustainable use of natural resources, proving that the health, well-being and economy of the population are not possible without the protection and sustainable management of ecosystems. During the Covid-19 pandemic the number of visitors to nature tourism sites has significantly increased, in some places exceeding the capacity of the existing infrastructure. Also, due to the popularity of nature tourism, new routes are being developed without well-equipped infrastructure, thus causing damage to habitats of EU importance. The number of visitors to some natural sites in 2020 was so large that it was not possible to ensure their epidemiologically safe movement, therefore several sites were closed.
Within the framework of the 2014-2020 programming period additional support for the implementation of biodiversity and nature protection is provided. 7 projects promote integrated Natura 2000 site-related maintenance and restoration measures for species and habitats to reduce anthropogenic pressures, eutrophication, erosion, environmental pollution and depletion of natural values. Supported activities include both habitat restoration and building and reconstruction of tourism infrastructure. Establishment of anthropogenic load reducing and epidemiologically safe infrastructure in Natura 2000 territories will ensure sustainable nature tourism, management of natural resources and preservation of natural values. It will also contribute a favourable conservation status for habitats & species under the EU Habitats Directive.Reference https://www.varam.gov.lv/lv/kompleksu-apsaimniekosanas-pasakumu-istenosana-natura-2000-teritorijasContact Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- The European Commission
- The Marshall Islands
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- Republic of Korea
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- The United Kingdom