Environment and energy efficiency in focus.
The monitoring of electoral programs and meetings of the main parties in the country continues.
Below you will find an article by journalist Ola Miter, on the electoral promises of some of the candidates for deputies on the party lists for the 2017 central elections.
This article was written in the framework of the project “Together – an eye for the environment”, which aims to promote the implementation of policies and best practices for the diversification of resources and energy efficiency in Albania, within the framework of the SENIOR II program implemented by REC Albania and financed by the Swedish Embassy.
After the publication of the platforms from the 3 largest parties in the country, “Gazeta Shqiptare” asked candidates for deputies in Tirana for a more detailed explanation about the environment and energy efficiency program. Blerina Gjylameti, Rudina Hajdari, Grida Duma and Floida Kërpaçi explained some of the main points as well as the promises of the parties they represent for the next 4 years.
Asked during a meeting with residents of “Halit Bega” street, Gjylameti said: “For energy efficiency, we have a project of the Municipality of Tirana, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, so that all state institutions are involved in investments. which reduces energy consumption by about 40%. All of them, as investments, are financed by the EBRD, in cooperation with the German government. The students’ dormitory has started, the buildings of the Student City are continuing, the ministries and hospitals will pass. Then, even with a fund from the Municipality of Tirana, for the part of the solar panels and the capot system for all buildings, the municipality will have co-ownership with the citizens, to reduce the use or exploitation of electricity. Meanwhile, as far as public lighting is concerned, through economic lamps we have started in some municipalities, such as that of Fier, Korça and Vlora.
This cooperation with local units will be continued, in order to extend this project to other municipalities. Of course, all these projects will be continued in the following years. For the use of wind as a renewable energy, we have some fiscal incentives, which are incentives for renewable energy. It has not yet started to be used, but it is a plan mainly in the part of the plantations, where there is wind, which is mainly the southern part. The draft law on energy efficiency and renewable energy were the most debated. I know that there were problems with the by-laws that would make them applicable, but they will be continued with their drafting”.
Asked during a meeting with residents in the Shkoza area, Duma said: “In a country where the residents have built almost everything themselves, the houses, the water pipes, the little road infrastructure, and where almost not a single family receives help from state, energy debt forgiveness is an immediate need for social justice. Punishing the helpless for an unpaid energy bill and not taking any responsibility for their vital needs is not making a state but giving a whip. Lowering the energy VAT, lowering the price of energy is an obligation and social justice, not only because energy in Albania is the most expensive in the region, but because the amortized network leads to 40% of energy being lost during distribution. It is our promise that in families without income, pensioners who live alone, consumption up to 300 kË, which is the minimum vital consumption, will be borne by the state. Albania needs a higher supply of energy, and not to import it by increasing the price of energy in the absence of domestic production.
With our program, we will aim to increase energy production by 30%, enabling a higher energy independence of the country. Environmental pollution is a national emergency, and in some areas of Shkoza, in the upper part, there is a combination of sewage and white water. We prioritize infrastructure; for each family, we aim to connect the secondary road with the main one instead of parking lots in the center that lead money to the clientele of construction firms. If instead of the luxury of the center it had been invested in secondary roads, today the entire real estate market would have re-evaluated the construction of apartments in every corner of Albania. From an environmental point of view, the health of residents breathing dust or children playing on concrete squares is a human catastrophe. Of course, it would have been a life catastrophe to allow the importation of garbage, and we will not allow Albania to turn into an incinerator of hazardous waste.
The transfer of decentralized powers to local government and territorial administration with independent finances will enable Albania’s waste to be turned into processable. We don’t want to build the processing industry with the waste of the world, where the Albanians who live here overcome their waste every day on every unpaved road”.
“In my constituency, at the edges of unpaved and dangerous roads, many residents of Laprak live in houses without electricity, drinking water, sewage and hygienic conditions. Throughout the 4-year mandate, the solution to infrastructure problems will inevitably have an environmental impact. But we will do our best to minimize this and be guided by EU legal frameworks to implement best practices. Through effective planning, the use of solar energy can reduce some of the problems in my area, in a cost-effective manner. However, I do not want to speculate on the environmental effects of my actions, or comment on those of any political party. I would welcome any environmental strategy, from any actor, that would minimize CO2 emissions, but prioritizing the vital needs of these citizens who, although they live about 185 km away from the EU, resemble a third world area”.
“For us as LSI, the environment and the factors with its negative impact, have been the focus of our government in the mandate that we are closing, and thus occupy an important place in the new electoral program that we have presented to the citizen. In this context, we have an ambitious program for the next 4 years for the environment. We, relying on the best European practice, will create systems for the sustainable use of natural, water resources, for the creation of efficient sources of renewable energy.
We will design national policies in line with the EU’s Climate and Energy Policy Framework – EU 2030, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by the end of the 4-year mandate, and we will aim to have 10% renewable energy in the transport sector. We have as our priority to use renewable energy sources to the extent of 10% by 2021, as well as apply clean technology and implementation of CDM projects. We are committed to reducing the amount of air pollutants according to EU Directive 2016/2284 and EPA standards. In order to be more transparent to the public, and to measure the work of our institutions, we will place meters that show at any time the emitted amount of harmful gases with a negative impact on human health.
We support and will continue the separate collection of urban waste, and every new landfill that will be built will be equipped with a special geomembrane. For us, ecotourism is our priority, and we will increase the areas of protected areas by 20% and strengthen the control and monitoring of the existing ones. We will encourage the establishment of “Zoo-Parks” for endangered species, as well as “Bio-Parks” through fiscal incentives. Protecting the land is our priority and for this purpose we will commit to an integrated policy in the use of the land fund for the prevention of erosion phenomena and causes”.
Candidates for MPs refuse to answer the environmental program
A few days ago, 30 environmental organizations gave the alarm that 70% of the political parties registered with the Central Election Commission have not published their program for the environment. The same organizations said that “in the public statements and promises of the leaders of these parties, environmental policies are neglected, almost not mentioned at all”. For this reason, “Gazeta Shqiptare” decided to directly ask the candidates for Tirana of the three parties that received the largest number of votes in the last parliamentary elections, and more specifically SP, DP and LSI. Referring to the list of candidates registered in the CEC, contact was made with the leaders of these lists, who will most likely also be deputies in the parliament, which will be constituted after the June 25 elections. But, most of the contacted MP candidates refused to present what their political program envisages in terms of green development. The head of the list for the Socialist Party, Elona Gjebrea, previously stated that she was ready to explain what the environmental program contains in general and the policies in terms of energy efficiency in particular, but through an SMS a few hours later she considered this topic as specific and suggested we contact “someone else who has dealt with this issue”.
The second on the list of the SP is Besnik Baraj, who during the years 2013-2017 held the position of the chairman of the Commission for Production Activities, Trade and Environment. Baraj did not respond to an SMS that explained the concrete request for the governing program in terms of the environment and how this will be realized over the course of 4 years. Likewise, “GSH” also contacted the third ranked on the list of this party, Olta Xhaçka. The candidate for deputy said that she “does not specialize in the field of the environment, but in social issues”. Xhaçka refused the request for comment even when asked to speak in general terms about the program of the party that she will represent in the next parliament, even with the way this program is presented to different citizens during the electoral campaign. Meanwhile, the fourth candidate on the list, Blerina Gjylameti, was asked by Gazeta about the environment and energy efficiency during a meeting she was holding with residents of “Halit Bega” street on June 7. “GSH” publishes Gjylameti’s answers on the attached page. As for the candidates of the Democratic Party, “GSH” contacted the second ranked on the list, which is Orjola Pampuri, as well as number 5 on this list, Albana Vokshi. Both candidates did not accept the request for the presentation of the environmental program. Pampuri said that “it is not specialized in environmental issues and in the next parliament it will represent social issues”. While Vokshi said that “for the DP program for the environment, you should contact the Director of Information in the DP”. The DP’s list for Tirana is headed by the chairman of the party, Lulzim Basha, who was not contacted by Gazeta.
Meanwhile, Rudina Hajdari, ranked third, accepted the request “to explain some of the concrete points of the program”. Grida Shqima (Duma), fourth on the list of this party, was asked during a meeting that was taking place with the residents of the Shkoza area. “GSH” also publishes the answers of these candidates on the attached page. As for the third party, which is LSI, “GSH” contacted the first list-ar for Tirana, Klajda Gjosha. The candidate, asked in one of her meetings with the electorate, on June 15, organized in the Shkoza area, refused to speak. After we were promised a second contact, due to the “rush to the big LSI rally” that was taking place that day, in the following days we were refused comment.
Meanwhile, the second on the list of this party, Kejdi Mehmetaj, in the first contact, showed herself ready to present some of the points of the program for the environment and energy efficiency. “In an hour we can contact again and talk more extensively”, Mehmetaj said. But after a few hours, the candidate for deputy did not respond to the SMS, which reminded her of the previously scheduled meeting. Candidate Floida Kërpaçi, who ranks third on the LSI list, agreed to present some points of the program of the party she represents, which you can also find on the attached page.
The article was published by Gazeta Shqiptare (in Albanian)