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UNEP and European Commission Step Up Cooperation On Global Sustainability

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: UNEP}

Brussels

The EC and UNEP meet annually to address common challenges related to the global sustainability agenda.

UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner meets European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella (left) and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica (right)

Brussels – UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner was in Brussels, Monday, for a landmark political exchange with the European Commission (EC) to step up UNEP’s strategic partnership with the European Union.

The EC and UNEP meet annually to address common challenges related to the global sustainability agenda, to strengthen the long-standing partnership between the two organizations, and to agree on joint priorities and a common agenda.

This 2015 meeting was a key milestone in EC-UNEP cooperation. After months of intensive preparations, both parties agreed on a substantive annex to the existing EC-UNEP Memorandum of Understanding, spelling out a range of concrete work areas to be implemented jointly through to 2020. This important cooperation agreement forms a solid basis for UNEP’s work with the European Commission for the next 5 years and reaffirms Europe’s continued support to a strengthened UNEP, following the Rio+20 agreement for the organization to be upgraded.

The high-level meeting included a series of meetings between the UNEP Executive Director and top level Commission Officials, which centred on issues relating to environment, climate action, development cooperation and research and innovation.

Mr. Steiner held separate meetings with Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the environment, fisheries and maritime affairs, and Commissioner Neven Mimica, responsible for international cooperation and development, as well as with Director-Generals and other senior officials from the Directorate-General (DG) for the Environment, the DG for Climate Action, and the DG for Research and Innovation.

Both parties addressed issues pertaining to the ongoing political dialogue related to the Climate Summit, set to take place in Paris later this year – a process that will see the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the so-called post-2015 development framework. The means of implementing the SDGs was also discussed at length, with issues related to official development assistance and innovative financing at the heart of the exchange. The talks also addressed topics surrounding the green and circular economy, and oceans governance to achieve a blue economy.

On the sidelines of the high-level meeting, Mr. Steiner participated in a small closed-door roundtable discussion with the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System at the Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel on the implications of decarbonisation for business and the financial sector.

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