The objective of the workshop was to clarify how best the EU could contribute to Eritrea's goals to advance sustainable development, job creation and security. To that end the workshop strived to analyse key environmental and climate change challenges Eritrea and the larger region face, highlighted the linkages between environment, climate change and sustainable development and identified some of the key tools to integrate environment and climate change considerations in strategic planning and projects' design. All this underlined the need for an integrated and inclusive 'green economy approach'.
In his opening remarks Gabor Iklody recalled the centrality of a green economy in the European Union's priorities and the EU's committment to promote a sustainable, environmentally friendly growth in Eritrea – to the benefit of the Eritrean population.
Minister Gehebreselassie underlined the great potential of solar energy in Eritrea. ''In our country, the opportunity to harness the year long scorching sun light into a blessing is enormous. In an effort to diversify its source of energy Eritrea has modestly begun to introduce renewable energy technology in the power sector.''
The Minister emphasised the importance of waste management as a major environmental challenge that needs urgent attention. It includes, as he stressed "minimizing and recycling of waste, and stringent regulations to prohibit onetime use of plastic bags and containers."
The Minister also emphasized the decisive role of education within the society in bringing about behavioural change in the way Eritreans produce, consume, protect and manage their natural resources.
Workshop participants identified key priority areas for mainstreaming green growth in Eritrea, including agriculture, renewable energy, water, small and medium enterprises, and waste management. They emphasised the importance of collective action, cooperation and partnerships at all levels in pursuing these goals.
The workshop was attended by 40 representatives from several Ministries, environment departments of the six zobas (regions) and municipality administrations, and experts coming from other European Union Delegations and from the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels.