A new agreement was signed by the European Commission and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), whose main goal is to focus on the promotion of the circular economy, the protection of biodiversity and the fight against pollution. Nature protection and restoration have also a high priority as one of the solutions to tackle such advancing crises.
Through a virtual, however important session, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries and Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director signed a new Annex to the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding between the EC and UNEP, outlining revised areas for cooperation for the period 2021-2025.
“We welcome the opportunity to step up engagement with the UN Environment Programme on the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises, helping us to build a healthier and more resilient society in a post-pandemic world,” said Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. “This is a new phase of cooperation that will help us to implement the European Green Deal and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to form a strong alliance ahead of crucial summits for the future of mankind, which are to take place later in the year.”
After the fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5) meeting and the launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resources Efficiency (GACERE), this agreement became the next relevant step to achieve a liveable post-COVID life and also to find global solutions for the pressing climate, resource and biodiversity emergencies. The partners look to reinforce existing synergies and introduce fresh areas of action in light of developments in the global environmental agenda, including the European Green Deal.
“UNEP looks forward to collaborating further with the EU and its member states, as well as within the UN system, to achieve the green and digital transition on a global scale across all segments of society,” stated Inger Andersen. “Keeping our sights on the Sustainable Development Goals, we will support Member States as we strive together for an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.”
In the newly signed Annex, the five main areas, in which the Partners agreed to consider continued cooperation include the improvement of the science-policy interface and international environmental governance, enhancing climate resilience and climate neutrality with a focus on sustainable energy, promoting healthy and productive ecosystems, scaling up the circular economy and resource efficiency and working towards a pollution-free planet and better health.