Polotsk has already hosted an international start-up conference for an EU project entitled SURE: Sustainable Urban Energy in the Region of the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument — Towards the Covenant of Mayors. The SURE project is being implemented by the EU’s CUIDAD: Co-operation in Urban Development and Dialogue programme, uniting six partners from five countries: Germany, Spain, Belarus, Morocco and France. The project’s budget totals around 620,000 Euros and is to last for 2.5 years.
The project’s leading partner is German Friedrichshafen — Polotsk’s twin city. The new initiative aims to promote sustainable energy development for our two cities, Polotsk and Sale (Morocco), by their joining the Covenant of Mayors, pledging to implement the EU’s ‘20-20-20’ target. The latter aims to improve sustainable energy development by 2020, while reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent and raising the use of alternative energy sources and energy efficiency by 20 percent. Already, 2,181 cities throughout Europe and the EU’s neighbouring states have signed the Covenant of Mayors, with Polotsk likely to become Belarus’ first participant.
The conference brought together representatives of regional and local authorities from Belarus, Morocco, Germany and Spain, as well as those from ministries and departments, and a delegation from the European Commission to Belarus. Institutes, organisations and experts working in the field of power engineering also took part. A round table discussion was held within the conference, tackling Polotsk’s plan for sustainable energy development, which is an obligatory part of Covenant membership. Experts from Spanish Murcia (already a Covenant member) shared their experience and the SURE project was presented, with sustainable energy planning in Belarusian cities discussed thoroughly.