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Online Platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19

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Slovakia

Minister of Environment

Ján Budaj

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly I would like to thank to the Government of Japan for the initiative to launch this online platform. I believe it may play very important role in sharing knowledge and experience in facing post-pandemic recovery. It is crucially important to see and learn how to use the post COVID-19 stimulus in shaping a more sustainable, resilient and competitive economy for the future. This discussion will center on the opportunities and challenges facing green recovery measures worldwide.

Slovakia recently joined several Member States of the European Union to pledge support for the European Green Deal playing a central role in post COVID-19 economic recovery.

We are convinced that the recovery has also to reflect the two biggest challenges, namely climate change and the loss of biodiversity. This can only be achieved through close cooperation among all institutions in finding solutions and opportunities.

We know everything that will need to be done in each policy to reverse negative trends. Ensuring synergies between these policies, their public acceptance and funding remains an issue. All sectoral policies must be set up in such a way as to ensure not only declarative but, in particular, real compliance with basic environmental principles. No environmentally harmful subsidies should be promoted and all policies should be subject to rigorous environmental impact assessments, in particular climate change and biodiversity. To ensure these conditions and synergies between policies, only investments that are in line with the principle of sustainability need to be supported.

The highest priority is to ensure that this low-carbon transformation has broad public support, is socially just and contributes to economic growth and maintaining the competitiveness of our industry and economy..

As part of the fulfilment of its obligations, Slovakia has already issued and continuously updates its Low carbon strategy for the development of the SR until 2030, with a view to 2050, as well as the National climate and energy plan. In line with EU legislation, it also plans to draft and adopt a Climate change Act (around the end of 2022) with a long-term carbon neutrality goal by 2050.

Investments in the energy sector (especially renovation of buildings) and transport are perceived by SR as the most suitable, while the focus should be on deep renovation of buildings, monitoring their energy efficiency, developing efficient DH, decarbonising transport (preferring public transport and alternative fuels, combining different modes of transport, developing cycling ...) etc.

Slovakia defines the issue of adaptation to climate change as its priority in multiple strategic documents. The main instrument for increasing the adaptability of the SR is the Adaptation strategy of the SR to climate change. Other important documents are the Strategy of the environmental policy of the SR until 2030 - Greener Slovakia or Action plan to address the consequences of drought and water scarcity - the value is water.

Ministry of the environment of Slovakia is currently preparing an Action plan for adaptation of the SR to climate change, which will be an implementation document of the national adaptation strategy.

One of the priority areas for adaptation to climate change is the residential environment, especially cities.

In Slovakia, the situation is copying world trends, more than half of our inhabitants lead an urban lifestyle. The high carbon footprint that our cities create is the result of inappropriate spatial planning, planning and use of the urban environment.

Thus, on the one hand, cities are one of the main causes of climate change, and on the other hand, they are most affected by its adverse effects. However, we must not forget that they have enormous potential to offer solutions. Innovations in energy, energy efficiency of buildings, mobility and planning have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide scope for the implementation of adaptation measures.

With regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, solutions can be achieved by changing the way urban areas are planned, built and managed and by effectively optimizing their energy supply. Well-designed, compact, logically connected and green urban zones with good public transport and bicycle transport significantly reduce the carbon footprint of urban dwellers and are key to achieving many sustainable development goals.

Finally, I would like to inform you, that Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic Jan Budaj addresses to this conference video message, which should be available through this platform. His words are the best evidence of Slovakian approach to build a climate-neutral, ecological, fair and social world, based on the transition to climate neutrality, combating biodiversity loss and ensuring sustainability.

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Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.

Slovakia Slovakia

Last update11 Sept. 2020

Message

Full text

Minister of Environment

Ján Budaj

Categories

Response
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.
Recovery
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.
Redesign
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

  • Transition to renewable energy

    Redesign
    Build infrastructure for alternative fuels and promote their use in transport; Develop sustainable use criteria for all renewable energy sources that will be legally binding; Use existing gas infrastructure for renewable energy sources due to the highly developed transmission and distribution network, including underground reservoirs, which is a precondition for further decarbonisation of the economy.
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Environment and Ministry of Economy
  • Transition to renewable energy

    Redesign
    Green households - governmental subsidy scheme to engage private households in alternative energy generation. The support is aimed at small scale electricity generation (fotovoltaic panels) and heat generation for residential buildings (solar, biomass, heat pumps).
    ContactSlovak Innovation and Energy Agency, poradenstvo.ba@siea.gov.sk
  • Transition to renewable energy

    Recovery
    Auctions of alternative energy - auctioning of additional support to construction of alternative energy sources. The programme has been put on hold during the lock down measures but will be restarted soon.
    ContactMinistry of Economy of the Slovak republic, vykupca@mhsr.sk
  • Sustainable transportation

    ResponseRecoveryRedesign
    Decarbonization of passenger car transport - a shift from individual transport towards public transport by increasing its attractiveness and comfort, renewal of the railway rolling stock, electrify the railway network, enable the entry of private carriers; create opportunities for the development of combined transport (passenger/freight), harmonize schedules, expand integrated transport systems; Development of bicycle transport, bicycle sharing, create safe stands; build car parks; carpooling; introduce low-emission zones in municipalities.
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Environment, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Transport and Construction
  • Building sector

    Redesign
    Live sparingly - governmental subsidy scheme to increase energy efficiency in old residential buildings and to support construction of new zero-energy residential houses.
    ContactMinistry of Transport and construction, zatepluj@mindop.sk
  • Building sector

    ResponseRecoveryRedesign
    Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings - the most cost-effective measure. Robust and comprehensive renovation of buildings will also reduce energy poverty, support the construction sector and contribute to the creation of local jobs. The design of new and refurbished buildings at all stages should be in line with the needs of the circular economy and lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency.
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of the Environment and Ministry of Transport and Construction
  • Industry sector

    ResponseRecoveryRedesign
    Financial support - new financial instruments such as Modernization Fund can help to decrease coal combustion, which goes to a district heating plant or industry.
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Household sector

    Redesign
    Production of quality fuel from wood waste and biomass, social assistance to households, which were affected by the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively affected job opportunities, living standards, the consequence of the crisis caused a reduction in their income. Activities aimed at helping households through targeted measures to reduce or prevention of energy poverty (prevention of burning low-quality fuel and household waste), in particular improving air quality in municipalities.
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)

    Redesign
    Introduce the circular economy and innovation into industrial processes, e.g., the use of hydrogen as an innovative technology (including the transition to hydrogen-based steel production in the case of sufficient hydrogen supply), including adherence to BAT (best available techniques) Conclusions.
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Land sector

    Recovery
    Well prepared strategic plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with focused and targeted conditionalities, measures and schemes.
    ContactMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Development together with the Ministry of Environment
  • Land sector

    Recovery
    Detailed national strategy and action plan for biodiversity protection/concept of nature, biodiversity and landscape protection.
    ContactMinistry of Environment

2.Climate adaptation measures

  • Adaptation planning

    Redesign
    Protect and revitalize ecosystems and support the natural development of habitats using spatial planning and land management tools.
    ReferenceNational Action Plan under National Adaptation Strategy of SR - proposal
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Adaptation planning

    Recovery
    Strategic plan for Common Agricultural policy (CAP) together with the strategy/Action plan for biodiversity protection, which will include mainstreaming biodiversity to each sector (so sub-category from B1 to B8).
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Water

    Recovery
    Moderation of the consequences of the crisis in connection with COVID-19 pandemic in the territory of the Muránska planina National Park - revitalization of wetlands and wetland communities (also to increase the country's water retention capacity).
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Health

    Redesign
    Green linear components and barriers to improve air quality in municipalities - e.g.: green barriers between build-up area and an industrial center or separation from a busy traffic artery - the aim of the measure is to reduce the impact of air pollution on urban residents.
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Infrastructure

    Response
    Green infrastructure in the developed area - green public spaces, green roofs, green facades, rain gardens and other measures supporting the retention and infiltration of rainwater into the environment and the creation of a favorable microclimate. New technical solutions can increase the climatic resistance of buildings.
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Tourism

    Recovery
    Moderation of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting infrastructure for visitors in protected areas - support for soft forms of tourism in protected areas, which will support employment in less developed regions.
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment

3.Cross-cutting measures

  • Citizens' lives (behaviour change) / employment

    Recovery
    Moderation of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting infrastructure for visitors in protected areas - support for soft forms of tourism in protected areas, which will support employment in less developed regions.
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Citizens' lives (behaviour change) / employment

    Recovery
    National strategy/Action plan for biodiversity protection, which will include activities for mainstreaming biodiversity to each relevant sector/cross-cutting measures.
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Governance

    Recovery
    National strategy/Action plan for biodiversity protection, which will include activities for mainstreaming biodiversity to each relevant sector/cross-cutting measures.
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Governance

    Redesign
    Green public procurement - public sector is already procuring products fulfilling environmental specifications in three product groups (paper, computers, transport) and an additional grouop will be added every following year starting with cleaning products in 2020.
    ContactSlovak Environment Agency, slavka.jurkovicova@sazp.sk
  • Governance

    ResponseRecoveryRedesign
    Low-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    ReferenceLow-Carbon Development Strategy of the Slovak Republic
    until 2030 with a View to 2050
    https://minzp.sk/files/oblasti/politika-zmeny-klimy/ets/lts-sk-eng.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Governance

    Redesign
    Tackling energy poverty in Slovakia - the transformation to a low-carbon economy will especially need to take into account marginalized Roma communities, retirees, unemployed, families with many children, families with lonely parents and persons living in leased flats on the commercial market. The issue of energy poverty will need to be addressed comprehensively and in a cross-cutting context in the conditions of social policy and related topics (affordable and highquality) housing, energy prices, financial literacy, education and employment.
    ReferenceIntegrated National Energy and Climate
    Plan for 2021 to 2030
    https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/sk_final_necp_main_en.pdf
    ContactMinistry of Economy,
    Regulatory Office for Network Industries with relevant ministries

4.Other environmental measures

  • Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumption

    Recovery
    Use of root sewage treatment plants as part of the infrastructure for the needs of citizens - The proposed activity will enable the implementation of root sewage treatment plants as a standard technical solution that is economically sustainable, has relatively low long-term operating costs, including low energy consumption. Low-skilled workers can be employed during the construction. The pilot project will be implemented in one of the least developed districts with high unemployment (Rimavská Sobota).
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumption

    Redesign
    In 2016, the Slovak Ministry of Environment launched 'T2gE – Transition to the Green Economy' discussion platform. The platform has been initiated during an international conference Transition to green economy, Bratislava, September 2016. Overall goal of the T2gE platform is to create a space for informed discussion of the key questions on the transition to the green economy.
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumption

    Redesign
    Waste Prevention Program 2019-2025 which is focused on moving away from material recovery as the only priority in waste management to waste prevention, following the waste management hierarchy of the Slovak Republic. This is/will be achieved by increasing landfilling fees, awareness-raising, consistent application of the principles of green public procurement, and other voluntary tools of environmental policy. For instance, various ecolabels are applied in Slovakia, such as National label- Environmentally suitable product, EU-Ecolabel, EMAS (Environmental management and audit scheme), FSC, PEFC, UTZ Certified etc.
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumption

    ResponseRecoveryRedesign
    National strategy in waste management with focused and targeted conditionalities, measures and schemes to increase recycling capacity and support measures as preparing for reuse and prevention of waste.
    ReferenceWaste management plan for 2021 - 2025 - proposal
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Other environmental pollution countermeasures

    Redesign
    Support scheme for exchange of inefficient heating devices (30 mil. € allocated). Air quality is the biggest environmental challenge of the Slovak republic and the majority of the particulate matter comes from the heating of residential buildings. Many of them use inefficient heaters burning solid fuels which leads to high air pollution. The measure should decrease this pollution significantly.
    ContactMinistry of Environment
  • Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agriculture

    Recovery
    Implementation of measures, schemes and activities of both strategic plans for CAP and strategy/AP for biodiversity protection.
    ContactMinistry of Environment together with all relevant ministries
  • Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agriculture

    Redesign
    Moderation of the consequences of the crisis in connection with COVID-19 pandemic in the territory of the Muránska planina National Park - e.g.: construction of management centres which will be equipped with small agricultural technology; financial support for the transition to more environmentally friendly approach for forest managers.
    ReferenceActivity proposal for European Regional Development Fund
    ContactMinistry of Environment