CHF 16 million Swiss contribution for climate action
Switzerland is providing 16 million francs in cohesion assistance to Slovenia as part of a financial mechanism known as the Swiss Contribution. The funds will be directed towards environmental and climate protection.
Slovenian Minister of Cohesion and Regional Development Aleksander Jevšek and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis signed the implementation agreement for the programme in Ljubljana on 28 August.
In its second contribution Switzerland is providing 13 EU members states with a total of 1.3 billion francs to reduce economic and social disparities.
The funds for Slovenia will be directed towards increasing energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy sources. Jevšek emphasized that the recent floods in Slovenia once again underscored the urgency of combating climate change.
"Together with relevant Swiss institutions we have designed a program to enhance energy efficiency and promote renewable energy in Alpine regions. This includes optimising energy efficiency planning and the use of renewable energy sources through the digitalisation of local energy concepts, encouraging measures within communities, promoting the use of shallow geothermal energy, and piloting the introduction of agro-photovoltaics," the minister said.
Both Jevšek and Cassis noted the excellent relations and economic cooperation between their countries. Switzerland is currently Slovenia's second-largest foreign trading partner and the third-largest investor in the Slovenian economy.
Cassis said trade had shown impressive growth, which he believes is a result of numerous elements that the two countries share, including geographic ones.
He emphasised the importance of collaboration in other areas as well. One such area is the fight against climate change. The countries build on shared endeavours to protect the Alpine region, and efforts should also be strengthened in other areas, he said.
Regarding the funds allocated through the second Swiss Contribution, Jevšek clarified that they would not be used to address the recent weather-related damage but could be used to co-finance measures to reduce potential future weather-related devastation.
However, Switzerland will make a separate donation to Slovenia to deal with the flood damage. Details will be presented during the Bled Strategic Forum, but information obtained by the Slovenian Press Agency indicates the donation amounts to 200,000 francs (€209,000).