Environment and climate change

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Today, the European Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, setting out the pathway to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. While the EU does everything within its power to mitigate climate change, domestically and internationally, we must also get ready to face its unavoidable consequences.

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Good afternoon,

Well, to be the first meeting of the year, we have had a very though, heavy agenda. Let me run [you] through our discussion.

From growing onions in the sand, beekeeping to preserve wildlife, building homes from plastic bottles, to solar parks and other initiatives to switch to green: such concrete actions, big or small, help to mitigate climate change. Yet there is a need for drastic action. Climate action is at the heart of the European Green Deal – from ambitiously cutting global emissions, to investing in research and innovation, to preserving the natural environment.

The Council today adopted conclusions on ʻClimate and Energy Diplomacy - Delivering on the external dimension of the European Green Dealʼ. In its conclusions the Council recognises that climate change is an existential threat to humanity. It notes that global climate action still falls short of what is required to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Imagine a world where space technology can be used to rescue people at sea; satellite systems to identify major climate changes; and Earth observation technologies helping farmers to monitor crops, reduce water waste and avoid poor fertilisation... Sounds futuristic, but this is happening... and happening now! Just days after the launch of a new decade, the European Space Conference convened to take stock of what has been done, and to look forward to Europe’s future space policy, its programs and missions.

Biodiversity is our life insurance, but it is under threat. The Covid crisis has dramatically changed our lives; and it has also brought to the forefront the crucial need to better preserve biodiversity. Our lives and economies rely on nature. This high-level meeting is a major milestone for the political mobilization for nature in 2021, the year that should lead to an ambitious new international agreement on biodiversity.

The European Commission has launched an online public consultation on the development of legally binding EU nature restoration targets. As a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the European Green Deal, restoring Europe’s damaged ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters. The Commission will put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets by the end of 2021.

Today, the Africa-Europe Foundation was established by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with ONE and the Africa Climate Foundation. The opening ceremony was attended by various personalities from both continents, including the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen. The Foundation is an independent forum, driving fresh policy thinking and strategic foresight across inter-connected sectors of cooperation.

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At 10 November 2020 Western Balkans Sofia Summit, leaders from the region agreed to strengthen cooperation in order to develop a common regional market and to implement a green and digital transition. The EU endorses and supports these commitments, which will be instrumental to boosting socio-economic development and accelerating the region’s path towards the European Union.

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