Interview with Ivan Vukovic, Mayor of Podgorica: Involvement of Podgorica in EU Mission “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities”

Mr. Ivan Vukovic, Mayor of Podgorica shares his experience about Podgorica with regard to its participation in the EU Mission “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” as an associated city.

How far is Podgorica involved in the mission? Can you give some examples?

Please allow me to first express pleasure but also the pride in the fact that Podgorica has been recognized as the city which should be member of the EU Mission focused on dealing with one of the greatest challenges our world is facing today.

We act in line with the inputs given by the city advisor assigned by the Mission and in this regard the main activities are focused on preparation for Climate City Contract development and on establishing and intensifying communication and cooperation with other Mission cities. 

What do you see as the main challenges?

The very goal of the Mission is rather ambitious, but for us, and I am sure for all the Mission cities also, the most important aspects of this membership are strengthening the role of the cities, intensification of regional and international cooperation and mainstreaming of the climate neutrality within all developmental segments, not only on local level.

Apart from the fact that activities toward achieving climate neutrality are particularly demanding in terms of necessary financial assets, it is also imperative to work on changing deeply rooted habits and genuinely accepting the fact that climate changes are happening and that each of us, on different scales and in various ways, can contribute to their mitigation and also to acceleration of cities’ green and digital transformation.   

What are the next steps to proceed towards the goals of this mission?

As already mentioned, the most important following step to be taken is development of Climate City Contract, which will represent framework for achieving climate neutrality and will include climate action plan, investment strategy and guidelines for innovative engagement of all relevant stakeholders, including the involvement of EU, national and regional level.  

Also, since the membership in the Mission additionally positioned Podgorica as respectable partner in the international context, we will continue to work on the project applications with the aim of strengthening regional and international cooperation, developing relevant activities toward achieving climate neutrality and providing financial assets for their implementation.

How do you see the replication potential in the Western Balkans region?

At the very core of the Mission is the need for connecting cities as the key driving forces of every society’s development. And capital cities, as usually the most developed and experienced ones, should act as role models for other local self-government.

In this regards, disseminating information on the necessity of more intensive joint activities and promotion of the concrete results of the Mission will for sure encourage launching similar initiatives, not only regionally but globally, since climate changes know no boundaries.

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