President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Wednesday that Croatia, by applying green economy principles, could reduce the harmful effects of global climate change and simultaneously define development strategies for the use of renewables and launch eco-friendly agriculture and mariculture.

"Croatia can and should reduce the harmful effects of global climate change and at the same time provide for production activities which will create more jobs for young people, keeping them in Croatia. This can be achieved through a green economy, notably green construction, eco-friendly agriculture and mariculture, and by connecting the brown-blue-green Croatia," the president said at the 8th Better Building Brunch, organised by the Croatia Green Building Council.

Our first task is to attract clean investment and to preserve from devastation the land and the sea, the cultural monuments and the natural beauties of our country, she said.

She said Croatia was working on policies aimed at reducing the consequences of and preventing further climate change, that it was among the first to start working on a low-carbon strategy, and that it was preparing new measures, notably for cleaner transport and the energy efficiency upgrade of buildings. This is important because 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Croatia come from buildings and 25% of carbon dioxide emissions from transport.

Last year, more than HRK 500 million was earmarked in grants for the energy efficiency upgrade of family houses, HRK 150 million for apartment buildings, and HRK 8 million for eco-friendly vehicles, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

Construction and Physical Planning Minister Lovro Kuscevic told the event that Croatia, as a European Union member state, was making good progress in the implementation of energy efficiency measures. "Over 40% of energy is used by buildings and here the ministry can implement direct measures," he said, adding that a programme for the energy efficiency upgrade of public sector buildings for the 2016-20 period would be drawn up soon.

Kuscevic also underlined the importance of raising energy efficiency awareness.

The Croatia Green Building Council is a member of the World Green Building Council. It was set up in 2009. In cooperation with the Construction and Physical Planning Ministry, together with 12 other countries it is part of the Build Upon European project, which is financed from the Horizon 2020 programme, whose goal is to enhance national energy efficiency policies.

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