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Under the EU-funded “European Union for Environment” (EU4Environment) programme, high-level representatives from Eastern Partner countries, European Union Member States, European Union institutions, international partners (OECD, UNECE, UN Environment, UNIDO, and the World Bank), took part in an inaugural event in Brussels.
The event provided the opportunity for all partners to agree on country-specific work plans to improve and implement policies that can spur an environmentally friendly economic growth, and enhance societies’ resilience and citizens’ well-being.
“Our cooperation on environment with the Eastern Partner countries is stronger than ever and is already bringing tangible benefits to the daily lives of citizens across the region. Together the EU and its six Eastern Partners are working to increase our joint ambition to tackle environmental protection and climate challenges. There is no time to lose. Today's meeting has brought all partner together to agree on the next steps forward.” said Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are committed to actively implement the Sustainable Development Goals and other international commitments, including those tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement. In addition, within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, the European Union together with all partners have also agreed to certain targets under the “20 Deliverables for 2020”. In this context, the EU4Environment programme is supporting the countries to transition towards greener, more efficient and sustainable economies, as well as to addressing environmental challenges. Complementary measures will be implemented under EU4Climate programme.
EU4Environment builds on the achievements of past EU-funded programmes, which brought important policy changes and enterprise-level measures. For example, previous work has contributed to the adoption of new laws on the environmental assessment of strategies, plans and investment projects in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. More than 400 enterprises received expert advice to identify green solutions that result in annual savings of some EUR 10 million. The six Eastern partners also identified additional nature conservation areas four times the size of Belgium.
EU4Environment is project funded by the European Union worth EUR 20 million to support Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, improving climate policies and legislation, and reducing the impact of climate change on people’s lives. EU4Environment is working with the six countries to preserve and better use their natural capital, increase people's environmental well-being, and grasp new development opportunities. For example, businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, are being supported to save energy, water and materials. Leading international experts are also advising national administrations on better environmental governance, such as assurance of compliance with laws, effective use of public finance and building of administrative capacity.
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Peter Carlson, Communications Co-ordinator, EU4Environment, OECD, firstname.lastname@example.org