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EU and UNEP strengthen partnership to address global climate crisis

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Commission (EC) have agreed to strengthen their partnership for successful environmental multilateralism to address the triple planetary crisis.

The European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius met with the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, in Brussels to discuss the key global developments and milestones in cooperation since their last high-level meeting in 2021. These include the historical outcomes of the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly’s progress in the ongoing negotiations on a legally binding international agreement on plastics, as well as the outcomes of recent global environmental processes.

The meeting had a special focus on the future of the European and global green transition in the current context, where economic, social, political and geopolitical realities have led to the unprecedented degradation of our planet and the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. UNEP and the European Commission reiterated their wish to join forces to maintain the momentum for urgent action on climate change, biodiversity preservation, ecosystem restoration, green economy and pollution.

“Tackling the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste calls for bold leadership to follow through on international and national commitments,” said Ms Andersen. “The EU’s continued global and domestic leadership on these issues sends a strong signal that there is still hope for our planet. UNEP looks forward to working closely with the Commission to provide solutions that guide the whole world to a prosperous, equitable and nature-positive future.”

“The triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, coupled with the challenges resulting from the current geopolitical situation, is a threat that requires an adequate global response,” added Mr Sinkevičius. “No one can act alone. We committed with UNEP to strengthen environmental multilateralism allowing us to deliver on the global commitments on the Global Biodiversity Framework, mitigation of climate change and resilience and drive the process towards the Plastic Agreement and implement important commitments from the UN Water and Ocean conferences.”

The two held a discussion devoted to how to jointly support the assessment of the environmental impacts of the war in Ukraine and the green reconstruction of the country, based on UNEP’s preliminary review, as well as on tackling the direct consequences of the war on many fronts, especially energy and food security.

Both parties stressed the need to strengthen and further operationalise cooperation through common strategic and regional engagement to maintain the global momentum for the green and digital transition, with science and human rights at the centre. They agreed on actionable recommendations to address the planetary crises through cooperation and enhancement of synergies and interlinkages with food systems, energy transition and sustainable finance.

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