09 Nov 2017 News Disasters & conflicts

Czech Republic commits 900,000 USD to help unlock new actions safeguarding Western Balkans from climate change

  • Project aims to support countries access climate funding and boost resilience
  • Extreme flooding cost Western Balkans 86 lives, 3,5 billion USD in damages in 2014

The Czech Republic is to invest 20,000,000 Czech Crowns - around 900,000 USD - to help Serbia and other Western Balkan countries become ready to benefit from the Green Climate Fund.

The Fund, which is expected to become the main global funding source for climate change mitigation and adaptation in the coming years, supports diverse projects from renewable energy sites to climate information systems and climate-resilient agriculture.

Western Balkan countries can already access the Fund, but will require technical support to develop proposals in line with the Fund’s investment criteria. UN Environment’s support will provide the necessary technical assistance, while also providing a platform for multi-stakeholder consultations that will ensure that the developed proposals reflect both national and regional climate change adaptation and mitigation priorities.

The Czech Republic’s investment will therefore help ensure the Western Balkans can aspire to a low carbon future and boost resilience to climate change, which is already having a devastating effect on the region. 

Ahead of this year’s edition of international climate negotiations, a donor agreement was signed in Prague on 24 October by the country’s Deputy Environment Minister Ms. Berenika Peštová and Mr. Jan Dusik, UN Environment’s Europe Director.

Climate hotspot

Western Balkan countries have already faced major floods linked to climate change. In 2014, extreme flooding cost at least 86 lives and 3,5 billion USD in damages while causing around 2,000 landslides across the region.

The region is now predicted to face rises in air temperature at a rate higher than the global average in coming decades. This is likely to lead to more severe and frequent forest fires and drought – which in 2012 slashed yields for certain crops in half causing losses of around two billion dollars in Serbia alone.

UN Environment’s 2015 Climate Adaptation report for the Western Balkans also points to the likelihood of increased deaths related to heat stress, and new strands of disease and pest species emerging due to the changing climate in the region. 

The project, aiming to facilitate access to the Green Climate Fund, will be implemented by UN Environment’s Vienna Office starting from December 2017 and will last for two years. It will assist Western Balkan countries in translating strong political will for tackling climate change into concrete action that responds to this global threat.

Albania, Montenegro and Serbia have already submitted proposals under the Green Climate Fund’s Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme, and the additional activities financed by the Czech Republic will boost preparatory work, including proposal preparation, and capacity-building efforts.

UN Environment will now seek technical assistance from an implementing partner to carry out the project. The partner will be a leading scientific institution that is familiar with region and holds significant experience in climate policy and finance.

The investment is not the first made by the Czech Republic towards securing the region against climate-related hazards. In 2014, Prague invested 45,000 USD to help Bosnia factor global environmental commitments into its national policies and decision-making. It also supported the country’s hydrology sector so that data on natural disaster risks could be collected and shared with citizens.


The Green Climate Fund, established in 2010, is the financial mechanism of both the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. It was established to address climate change mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.

The full name of the new UN Environment project is ‘Programme for facilitating the engagement with and access to the Green Climate Fund for Serbia and/or other countries of the Western Balkans’.

UN Environment has significant experience in assisting countries respond to climate change related challenges, having helped 15 countries complete national climate adaptation plans and assisted 38 countries develop National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

For more information contact:

Mark Grassi, Information Assistant, mark.grassi@un.org , +41 229178279

Harald Egerer, Head of UN Environment’s Vienna Office, harald.egerer@un.org, + 43 1 26060 4545

Ana Vukoje, Climate adaptation specialist, ana.vukoje@un.org, + 43 1 26060 8713