Senior officials from the ASEAN and the EU gathered virtually today (16/9) for the third EU-ASEAN High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on Environment and Climate Change, which was hosted by Brunei Darussalam.
The dialogue was co-chaired by the Philippines as ASEAN-EU Country Coordinator and by the EU. The Philippines was represented by Mr Albert A. Magalang, Chief of Climate Change Service, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The European Union was represented by Ms. Astrid Schomaker, Director, Directorate-General for Environment, and Mr Jacob Werksman, Senior Adviser, Directorate-General for Climate Action. The Meeting was attended by ASEAN Member States and a number of EU Member States.
The dialogue facilitated for an exchange of updates on green recovery in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, among others through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan, as well as relevant implementation activities under the European Green Deal, in particular the Fit for 55 Policy package. Further topics of importance included the ongoing cooperation of the EU and the ASEAN on smart green cities, sustainable finance, preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, eliminating ozone depleting substances and their illegal trade, climate change, carbon pricing, circular economy (including marine plastic litter, chemicals and transboundary movement of waste), as well as preparation for the 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). The continuation of discussions and exchange on new developments on critical issues has been important for the efforts of the EU and the ASEAN to protect and improve the state of the environment and to address climate change issues. The dialogue noted that the efforts to recover from the pandemic should go hand-in-hand with the efforts to protect and improve the state of the environment.
The dialogue provided the platform for the launch of two studies conducted under the Enhanced EU-ASEAN Regional Dialogue Instrument (E-READI). The study on “Investing in Sustainable Natural Capital in ASEAN” presents the current status of natural capital (elements of the natural environment that provide valuable goods and services to people) among the ASEAN Member States and offers recommendations for an ASEAN Natural Capital Roadmap. On the other hand, the study entitled “Strengthening Science and Policy Interface in Climate Change related Decision-Making Process - Laying the groundwork for the development of Long-Term Strategies (LTS) in ASEAN” explores ASEAN’s low greenhouse gas emission development strategies in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement. The publication of these studies crowns the two-year intense collaboration between the two regions, culminating in evidence-based policy guidance and recommending steps towards a sustainable future. The EU and ASEAN will continue to cooperate and the topics discussed during the High-Level Dialogue, and aim to involve all relevant stakeholders on both sides to ensure effective implementation of the critical cooperation discussed in the HLD. The EU presented its Team Europe Initiatives, which will provide financial means for joint activities between the ASEAN, the EU, and its member states.
In the field of climate adaptation, the ASEAN and the EU noted potential future actionable items, for example effective handling of wildfires on the ground for reduction of carbon emissions, scaling up international finance to build climate resilience, and promotion of environmentally-sustainable economic activities.
Both sides stressed the importance of the upcoming 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and will strengthen their cooperation to heighten ambition in fighting climate change and the biodiversity crises. They also highlighted the impacts of unsustainable consumption and production in fuelling these crises and explored on further exchange on policies and best practices to make their economies more circular and less carbon-intensive and polluting.
The ASEAN and the EU explored for opportunities to organise an ASEAN-EU Special Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change to discuss opportunities to strengthen and deepen cooperation on environment and climate action at the earliest possible opportunity.
Today’s event follows two previous EU-ASEAN HLDs on environment and climate change in 2019 and 2020.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The ASEAN Member States are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta.
The European Union (EU) is the economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, the European Union has built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom. In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the goals of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The European Union is the world's largest trading bloc, and the world's largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the European Union and its member countries are the largest donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally. The 27 Member States of the European Union (in alphabetical order) are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) is a development cooperation programme that facilitates cooperation and dialogue between the EU and ASEAN in policy areas of joint interest. Drawing on the EU’s experience of regional integration, E-READI further strengthens both the ASEAN regional integration process as well as the overall ASEAN-EU strategic partnership.