EC and UNEP Outline Priorities for Climate Cooperation

23 February 2011:  The European Commission and the UN Environment programme (UNEP) have issued a joint statement signaling the renewal of their political will to consolidate, develop and increase their cooperation and effectiveness to achieve their common goals and objectives in the field of environment.

The statement sets out various priority areas for cooperation. On climate change, these priority areas include: assessing vulnerability to climate change across key areas (water resources, agriculture, urban development, coastal areas, green infrastructure, etc) including the economic assessment of climate change impacts and identification of appropriate ecosystem-based responses; strengthening of national and local capacities to deal with adaptation, the removal of finance and policy barriers to delivery, and active financial support; promoting renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency, including through technology transfer in key sectors (including the buildings sector); establishing partnerships to mobilize financing for cleaner energy technologies, fostering innovative financial including on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks); and strengthening the linkage with policy-making in order to formulate mitigation and adaptation policies.

As part of this cooperation, the EU, UNEP and the Government of Kenya  announced the launch of a multi-million Euro project to assist in the restoration of the North Western part of the Mau forest complex in Kenya. The project, supporting Kenya's strategy to rehabilitate one of Sub-Saharan Africa's largest closed canopy forests, will contribute to maintaining nature-based assets worth an estimated US$1.5 billion a year to the Kenyan economy. It will cover the Nandi part of the forest where significant degradation of the indigenous forest and conversion into grassland has occurred, due in part to unsustainable patterns of settlement. The area also supports river flows that are central to the success of a UNEP-Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project to reduce electricity costs; power supply availability and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked with the tea industry.

The EU and UNEP are expected to announce the precise funding arrangements and other projects to be started under the new strategic cooperative partnership in the coming months. [UNEP Press Release] [EU-UNEP Agreement]