The project Balkan Green Energy News is a free-of-charge, bilingual online platform covering sustainable energy (renewable energy, energy efficiency), climate change, urban mobility, environmental protection, waste, water management and green economy developments from a selection of accurate, reliable and straight to the point news, policy actions and investment opportunities from the Balkan region countries: Serbia, Kosovo*, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

The portal has been developed and managed by a civil society organization Center for Promotion of Sustainable Development – CPSD, based in Belgrade.

Since March 2015 when the project was launched, the team of communication professionals and journalists succeeded in positioning it, even with limited financing and thanks to personal devotion and enthusiasm, as the portal with the most comprehensive coverage of sustainable energy, climate change and environmental protection news in the region.

The portal identifies and promotes the best practices and true leaders and experts in the field from the region, but, at the same time, it brings to local stakeholders best worldwide practices, educating and helping them achieve energy transition, climate-friendly, and low-carbon development.

The communication platform includes strong presence and promotion through social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, adding value to its regional and worldwide readers through media partnerships with major regional conferences, fairs and energy and climate events. The portal has been a proud media partner, and the only one from the region, to the EU Sustainable Energy Week organized by the European Commission.

Objectives and beneficiaries

BGEN aims to achieve three major goals related to the Balkan region:

- Improving availability of sustainable energy, climate action and environmental protection related information thus overcoming one of the most common non-financial barriers for their promotion and mainstreaming, that is the insufficient availability of information;

- Identifying and promoting true leaders and experts in the field;

- Contributing to the achievement of the overall EU 2020 and EU 2030 climate targets through reaching individual targets by the countries of the Balkan region;

By regularly publishing news and information about legislation changes, initiatives, best practices, know-how, tenders, challenges the sectors are facing, BGEN is developed as an integrated communication platform and supports a wide range of stakeholders in achieving their agendas: decision-makers at national and local level, businesses, international organizations and donors, civil society organizations, media, academia, financial institutions, the public in general.

Strong points of the solution

Insufficient information on sustainable energy, climate change, and environmental protection challenges, as well as on opportunities for investment and technologies, represents one of the most common non-financial barriers to their promotion and mainstreaming globally. The Balkan region faced this same challenge several years ago.

In order to overcome this obstacle, the CSO Center for Promotion of Sustainable Development launched the portal in 2015. BGEN is a free-of-charge portal which represents an important element in information dissemination in the region.

At the same time, BGEN is a bilingual portal. It publishes the contents in both Serbian and English. Serbian is understood by millions of people from the region, mainly ex-Yugoslav countries. English, on the other side, makes the portal a valuable information hub for numerous organizations, companies, and institutions from the whole world interested or engaged in the region.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

BGEN has already accomplished great results. It is the portal with the most comprehensive coverage of sustainable energy and climate change news from the region.

It strongly promotes the topic of climate change, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation from the perspective of legislation, goals, threats and opportunities that climate change creates for businesses and local communities. It also shares best practices making it a valuable and easily accessible source of information.

Since the Balkans is a fossil-intensive region that has already experienced substantial consequences resulting from climate change, it is crucial that the countries from the region reach consensus in fighting climate change.

The portal supports the region’s climate action endeavors through providing regular information and promoting true leaders and climate action champions, thus contributing to reaching overall EU 2020 and 2030 climate targets by countries comprising it.

Scalability potential of the solution

Since March 2015, when the portal has been launched, it demonstrated strong and unstoppable potential for growth. Covering initially only renewable energy and energy efficiency topics, it succeeded in expanding its coverage, including climate change, waste and water management, urban mobility, electricity and environment.

In parallel, the portal has introduced video format, and an events section announcing major events taking place in the region. It is currently in the process of introducing a green jobs section.

The scalability potential of the portal is considerable and multi-fold: BGEN can launch the coverage of new countries (for example Energy Community’s treaty members that are not belonging to the region, for which the interest has been already expressed), it can introduce new sections and topics such as “new technologies” or “smart development” and it can serve as a tool for conducting surveys on topics of interest for the various stakeholders’ groups.

[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made for length and clarity.]