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Central Europe

The ECF’s Central Europe programme is active in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia. As different as these countries are, they share a deep concern from the general public about climate change as well as a lack of ambitious action on the part of their political leaders. Climate change mitigation is seen as an obstacle to economic development, neglecting the effects of climate change already experienced.

Wojtek Witkowski 1fpya Z2woy Unsplash

Key challenges

  • The East-West “divide”: There is a striking imbalance across the EU when it comes to more ambitious climate policy and domestic decarbonisation. This is a major bottleneck to the EU’s ambition, which is crucial to overcome ahead of the next major policy cycle starting in 2022-23.
  • Lack of climate ambition: While climate is getting to be high on people’s minds, it is still not a major public concern in many countries. While most governments recognise the need for climate action, they are not ambitious on climate policies either domestically or at EU level.
  • Lack of green growth: Sustainable economic opportunities are not available and not visible enough in the region, for many reasons.
  • Lack of climate strategy: Public administration in these countries generally lacks capacity on climate change-related issues and are not accustomed to planning in a long-term context. There is very limited knowledge on potential climate threats to countries and adaptation is not taken seriously.

Mission

  • Producing a narrative shift from perceiving climate action as a costly burden to embracing the economic opportunities of the low-carbon transition
  • Supporting the low-carbon transformation of energy systems
  • Developing and defining decarbonisation pathways
  • Supporting the creation of a stronger ministerial and diplomatic nexus between countries to support bold and proactive collaboration

How we work

We work on increasing public awareness (making the transition “popular”) through improved communication, broadening national-level climate coalitions and strengthening civil society capacity on the ground. We help political will among conservative/populist governments by supporting dynamic campaigns and the broadening of the climate coalition (for example by reaching out to faith groups and subnational actors). Building strategic communications capacity is crucial to success.