We love stories like this.
Our leaders go far and beyond to raise awareness on the urgency of climate action. Yet some of them take it to the next level by engaging top climate organizations and policy makers in their fight for the betterment of local communities.
Meet Egzona Shala, an environmental specialist and climate activist from Kosovo. For the past couple of years Egzona has been the driving force of the environmental movement in Kosovo, being the Director of EcoZ non-profit and the leader of a recent call for strong cooperation in the decarbonization efforts in Kosovo. The country has the 5th largest lignite reserves in the world, yet due to political reasons is not a signatory to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and therefore is not bound to prepare an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The idea to address high-level organizations in search for their support in reduction of emissions in Kosovo, emerged during a brainstorming session of Climate Reality Leaders, and was brought to life by Egzona, Climate Reality Leaders in Kosovo, and Kosovo Environmental Network.
The team had set to define demands towards high-level stakeholders during a one-day workshop with around 50 representatives (students and civic society) and representatives of a Green Caucus. The conclusions of the event became the input to an open letter signed by 72 nonprofit civic society organizations, representing Kosovo's population from different regions and municipalities. The campaign reached directly over 40,000 viewers across social media.
“We have made clear to international decision-making institutions that we are dedicated and we stand still to improve our climate because we care for Environment and for future generations” says Egzona Shala, an environmental specialist and the leader of the campaign.
The Green Caucus of Kosovo letter was sent to:
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
Members of the Kosovo Parliament Energy and Environment Committees
The campaign became the first step to what is now a joint effort of the policy makers and the representatives of the public interest. Once the government of Kosovo was established in March 2021, Egzona’s team was invited to contribute to policy making efforts of the Ministry of the Environment of Kosovo. The meeting will include consultations and some agreements for the next steps that Ministry and the government must take regarding environment with the main focus on climate change and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
From demands and proposals, to consultation process and close collaboration with policy-makers. Now, Eco-Z will continue its campaigning efforts, while at the same time representing the interests and right of citizens to a healthy, clean, and just future.
1) What was most rewarding about this activity? The rewarding part belongs to celebration of a small steps to improve our life. After activities we saw that people were eager to hear more, youth were looking for engagement and there was hope that we can make some action and to put some new steps in the green agenda.
2) What are your next steps? We will continue to fight climate change; we will collaborate with different stakeholders to improve environment through different tools and activities. Most important is to keep the community active and government alert for the climate crisis that are ahead in our future.
3) Do you have any recommendation for other climate activists? It takes time to make a progress, sometimes days/ weeks or months. To our community it took years, but I never doubted that people always wanted to have better climate and to take actions, it was just the meter of finding the way. The way that suits them and it’s the right for them and that is the only way that will lead us to a better planet.