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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » July 30, 2012
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Green Ambition
July 30, 2012   
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Leszek Drogosz, head of the Infrastructure Department at Warsaw City Hall, talks to Jolanta Wolska.

How did your department prepare for Euro 2012?
It was a time of hard work, involving a lot of meetings, debates, planning, workshops, sometimes even heated disputes. We were also responsible for keeping the city clean throughout the championships.

Our preparations included investigating how Vienna in 2008 and Berlin in 2006 secured all the logistics for big football events. We also learned how many fans to expect and their needs and what impact they may have on how a city functions.

Were there more football fans in Warsaw than in Vienna or Berlin?
We hosted more fans than Vienna, while much fewer than Berlin. We estimate that we had about 1.5 million football fans from all over the world in total in the Warsaw Fan Zone during Euro 2012.

While our zone was practically arranged and logistically easy to get to... it is huge and rather monumental and so fans didn’t spend too much time there. They preferred to go to the Old Town and along the Royal Route. But the Fan Zone was great for bringing large crowds together during the peak times. Everyone had a great time. We were successful in very efficiently moving crowds in and out of the zone.

Summer is often when thunderstorms and flooding hit. How has the city administration learned from weather problems in the past?
We have a variety of emergency measures already in place, and we are constantly working on developing even safer systems. Preparations for Euro 2012 are one such example. In fact, it was easier to prepare for the championships based on our preparedness to deal with natural disasters, such as frequent storms, gale-force winds and floods. And so in various fields, such as energy, gas and water, we have created detailed operational plans and strategies to manage risk. We have been prepared for such contingencies for several years. Due to safety requirements much of the above is sensitive information, so we do not reveal details.

But generally, especially in the area of energy, we are step by step building up so-called intelligent management (a Smart Grid), although we are still far from the models such as those I saw in the United States.

Warsaw has bid to host the Green Climate Fund Secretariat. What is the purpose of the Green Climate Fund?
The main purpose of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was created by the international community in Cancun in December 2010, is to finance measures to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and to adapt to the impact of climate change taking into account the needs of those developing countries, which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Poland is on the board of the GCF.

Warsaw is one of six cities that bid to host the GCF Secretariat. The others are Geneva, Bonn, Mexico City, Windhoek in Namibia and Songdo in South Korea. It is important for Warsaw and for this part of the world to be perceived as progressive, innovative and displaying a real commitment to working towards protecting our environment. I hope that we win the bid—it will help to reinforce this change in perception.

What arguments does Warsaw have in applying to host such an organization?
Warsaw is a place where two worlds can meet. It is a city where climate policy goes hand in hand with growth, where growing economies meet mature economies. And where everyone feels at home.

Our bid includes the provision of 5,000 sq m of office space in the Palace of Culture and Science. The Palace has been modernized in recent years and various solutions to reduce energy consumption have been implemented there. Working together with the Polish government, we also offer a bunch of incentives for the GCF Secretariat and its employees, for example of a fiscal nature.

Furthermore, we have developed a sustainable energy action plan for Warsaw, which covers the entire city and aims to manage energy more economically. The objective is to reduce CO2 emissions in Warsaw by 20 percent by 2020, to reduce energy consumption and limit associated costs, to expand an environmental transportation system and develop renewable energy generation in urban areas. This demonstrates our commitment to climate protection and to be a “green metropolis.” It also sets an example to our neighbors in Eastern Europe.

Additionally, Warsaw and other metropolises in Central and Eastern Europe rarely host the headquarters of major international organizations, while for instance Geneva already hosts several. So, it would restore the balance somewhat if Warsaw were to win this bid. It would also signify trust and appreciation of Poland and this part of Europe.
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