Pécs aims to create a liveable, sustainable and green city. The vision of Pécs is to become a leader in sustainable action among Hungarian cities and achieve high liveability. The city government wants to ensure a sustainable life that is as resilient as possible to climate change.
In line with the sustainability and carbon neutrality ambitions of Hungary’s future, Pécs is committed to initiatives and projects that respond to climate change. In 2013, the Municipality joined the Climate and Energy Covenant of Mayors, which is supported by the European Commission. Participating cities are joining the Covenant of Mayors’ carbon reduction and other environmental targets by preparing a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP). Pécs’s commitment to carbon neutrality and climate action is reflected in its Integrated Urban Development Strategy in parallel with the Action Plan, in line with other related strategies and county and national strategies. As a result of the SECAP commitment for the period 2013-2020, Pécs has achieved a 29.4% share of energy use by 2020 compared to the 2011 base year and a 27.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. In practice, this means that 593,245 MWh less energy was used and 193,508 tonnes less carbon dioxide were emitted per year.
In 2021, Pécs joined the new, unified Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy, established by the European Commission, with a long-term commitment to climate protection and rational energy management.By 2030, the county’s administrative area should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. Taking into account the targets set by the Covenant of Mayors for 2030, Pécs has set a target of 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduction per year for this decade in its latest SECAP action plan. By 2030, Pécs will have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by almost 40% compared to the 2011 base year. The main target areas for climate action will be the service, residential and transport sectors, with detailed areas for improvement based on the experience of the 2013-2020 period.
The Sustainable Urban Development Strategy 2021-2027 is under development. Public involvement happened in the form of questionnaires.
In order to be a sustainable city it is crucial to deal with the occurring problems and to improve the lives of citizens step by step. Waste management and transport are areas where successful actions have already been taken.
Removing waste also helps to restore the built and protect the natural environment. The untreated waste is not only an aesthetic problem but also a public health concern. Closing illegal landfills was a huge step to make Pécs cleaner. BIOKOM Nonprofit Ltd. has a clear objective to reduce illegal dumping of waste, and has identified several possible solutions to the problem.
BIOKOM together with Dél-Kom Nonprofit Kft. are continuously expanding the door-to-door selective waste delivery system in Pécs. Moreover, they are installing wildlife cameras at regularly recurring landfills. Thanks to the cooperation of three municipal companies, Pécs Supply Centre, BIOKOM and Pécs Vagyonhasznosító Zrt., the area around the now empty building at 6. Kórház utca was cleaned up (7000 m2). In this context they jointly cleaned up the municipal properties in Györgytelep. The value of the work done was almost 4.6 million HUF. István-akna is also one of the municipalities with a high incidence of illegally dumped and irresponsibly abandoned waste. BIOKOM decided to carry out a major clean-up operation. Here the value of the work carried out amounted to HUF 400 000. The area around the road linking Pécs and Romonya was cleaned up as well. Along the two-and-a-half-kilometre-long stretch of road, piles of rubbish, car parts, tyres and construction debris were littered in several places. The value of the work carried out amounts to almost 480,000 HUF. Basamalom Street runs parallel to the railway line. The rubbish there was a problem for the owner that needed to be solved and had a significant cost implication. The funding was done by the programme „Clean the Country”.
Public transport plays an important role in reducing pollution and also in saving energy. Pécs has just introduced 10 new electric buses that are already in circulation. Their operation avoids significant amount of CO2 emission and also noise pollution. 8 more electric buses are expected to arrive at the end of 2022.Encouraging biking is also important for the city. There are plans to improve cycling infrastructure in the city. Some trails are renewed and bikers can plan their trip via a new official website, bringazzpecs.hu, link: https://bringazzpecs.hu/.
The most small and medium sized enterprises in Hungary are located in Baranya county. Supporting SMEs to become more sustainable is one of the roles of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya (CCIPB). Usually the first ‘green’ steps are the ones that can easily be turned into profit. There are waste management and energy saving best practices among the local companies.
Pécs is proud to be the most flowery city in Hungary. Flowers decorate the squares and deciduous trees provide shade. There are 73 square metres of green space and 14 square metres of parkland per capita. With the Mecsek Mountains around hiking and being close to nature is evident for the locals. Urbanisation is today’s reality. In Hungary the capital city attracts disproportionate crowds because of job opportunities and quality services. Pécs wants to show that it can offer opportunities for young people and families while staying close to nature and committed to sustainability.
The city management company is also trying to involve the people of Pécs in green projects. For example, the trees grown in the nursery garden are given to the public for planting. Not only private individuals but also educational institutions take advantage of this campaign. Before the pandemic, plant fairs were held twice a year for the general public. The dates and venues of these events were coordinated with the Tüke Market. Vendors and growers from the Pécs area were invited to the fair. The municipal government received the ‘Green Municipality’ award in 2020.
The annual tree planting programmes are carried out by the municipality according to the proposals given by BIOKOM and are financed from the financial envelope of the Municipal Tree Day. The socialisation of the programmes is carried out by the company in collaboration with the Eco-City-Ecoregion Foundation. Each year, following the tree planting projects, the Tree of Life Award is presented to the person or organisation that has been most active in the programme.
The FADOPT Programme is currently being planned and launched by the Municipality of Pécs with the help of the Pécs Communication Centre. The aim of the programme is to enable participating companies and individuals to adopt trees planted in the Centrum car park to support the maintenance and development of the city’s tree stock.
The VIRTUAL RESOURCES PROGRAMME (VEP) and its local power plant, the so-called Bavep, led by the University of Pécs (PTE), and its cooperation with the Municipality of Pécs City have resulted in a major step forward in sustainable development and climate protection in Pécs in less than a year. Based on the VEP competition: in 2020 Pécs became the greenest city in Hungary. Pécs’s municipality also became the greenest in 2021.
The local university, University of Pécs also takes its part in becoming green. The „Green University” idea is a complex system, which includes the built environment, environmentally conscious operation, the development of attitudes and the creation of an educational and research background. The University currently offers nearly 200 courses on environmental issues and sustainable development. Significant amounts of money are invested in research and the number of publications on the subject is well measured. For more information: https://zoldegyetem.pte.hu
Civil action and joint forces are key to help locals become conscious consumers. The Ecocity – Ecoregion Foundation’s main profile since 2010 has been shaping attitudes. They organise school activities and camps. The Ecograph Association aims to promote sustainable lifestyles. The Green Bridge Foundation educates local society through experiences and interactive methods. The Pécs Green Circle was founded in 1989 and promotes environmentally conscious lifestyle practices. Retextil Foundation produces home furnishings and fashion items, festival installations from textile waste. The Pécs Basket Community delivers fresh food directly from local producers to consumers. The Green Youth Association of Pécs promotes the interests of young people.
The major green NGO projects can be found here: https://pecs.hu/oko-termeszetbarat/
A collection can be found on the city’s website about green shops. Link: https://pecs.hu/zold-vasarlas/ .
The website also offers publications on sustainable living, such as recycling, environmentally responsible household, environmentally responsible shopping etc. Link: https://pecs.hu/hasznos-linkek/