€10m investment for environmental projects at home and abroad

Summary

Flanders’ environment minister has announced funding for almost 70 projects in the region, including schools and care homes, as well as contributing to the UN’s Adaptation Fund for developing countries

Investing in biodiversity

Environment minister Zuhal Demir has committed more than €8.5 million for investments in local sustainability projects, via the region’s Climate Fund. Demir announced the funding during the COP25 climate summit, taking place in Madrid this week. A further €1.7 million will go to environmental projects in developing countries.

Many local authorities, organisations and businesses are investing in projects that aim to make the climate more robust and support biodiversity in Flanders’ built environment. The money announced by Demir will support 69 such projects.

“Increasing the region’s green surface area, removing paved surfaces and investing in biodiversity is hugely important in our urban areas and contributes significantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Demir. “Anyone investing in this will have a partner in me.”

Among the projects to receive government funding is a 1km2 city garden in the centre of Genk that will be open to the public and a greener playground for a primary school in Kortrijk. A psychiatric hospital in Sint-Truiden will receive support to remove paved surfaces and make its grounds greener.

Taking responsibility

Meanwhile, a further €1.7 million will be spent on climate change mitigation projects in developing countries, via the UN’s Adaptation Fund. The fund was created in 2001 to finance projects in developing countries that have acceded to the Kyoto Protocol on emissions reduction. Since 2010, the fund has spent more than €510 million to prepare vulnerable communities for climate change, reaching more than six million people.

Flanders will not turn away from the challenges overseas

- Zuhal Demir

The €1.7 million investment is Flanders’ contribution to implementing international commitments. “Flanders will not turn away from the challenges overseas,” said Demir. “Taking responsibility outside our own borders is not illogical for a region like Flanders.” However, the region is also seeking alternatives to international climate financing, alongside the UN fund.

“We want to invest in international projects where Flemish enterprises are involved,” she added. “From 2020, we are therefore going to try to choose projects ourselves. So a win-win is possible: we play our part in good international climate projects and honour our international commitments, but at the same time increase the chances of success of overseas projects by our own entrepreneurs.”

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