A stronger focus on the promotion of circular economy, the protection of biodiversity and the fight against pollution lie at the heart of a new agreement signed on 26th February 2021 for enhanced cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP). Both partners are also paying increasing attention to nature protection and restoration as one of the solutions to tackle such advancing crises.
In a virtual session, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius and UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen signed a new Annex to the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding between the EC and UNEP, outlining revised areas of cooperation for the period 2021 - 2025.
“We welcome the opportunity to step up engagement with the UNEP on the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises, helping us to build a healthier and more resilient society in a post-pandemic world. This is a new phase of cooperation that will help us to implement the European Green Deal and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to form a strong alliance ahead of crucial summits for the future of mankind, which are to take place later in the year”, said Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius.
EC and UNEP also paying increasing attention to nature protection
“UNEP looks forward to collaborating further with the EU and its member states, as well as within the UN system, to achieve the green and digital transition on a global scale across all segments of society. Keeping our sights on the Sustainable Development Goals, we will support Member States as we strive together for an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the pandemic”, said Ms. Inger Andersen.
The signing of this document is timely, taking place against the backdrop of the fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5) and the launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resources Efficiency (GACERE) as the global community seeks to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressing climate, resource and biodiversity emergencies. The partners look to reinforce existing synergies and to introduce fresh areas of action considering developments in the global environmental agenda, including the European Green Deal.
The partners underscore the need to mobilize all areas of society to achieve a green-digital transition towards a sustainable future. Cooperation between the EC and UNEP to date covers a wide range of activities, programs and projects in areas of common concern such as biodiversity, sustainable consumption and production, including circular economy and resource efficiency, climate change, water resources, sound chemicals and waste management, environmental monitoring and assessment, strengthening environment governance at the global, regional and national levels.
The five chapters identify how to: Improve the science-policy interface and international environmental governance; Enhance climate resilience and climate neutrality with a focus on sustainable energy; Promote healthy and productive ecosystems; Scale up the circular economy and resource efficiency; Work towards a pollution-free planet and better health.
The Annex builds on and looks to extend, existing close collaboration to address the environmental challenges and advance the sustainability agenda through the EC-UNEP strategic Framework Agreements and programmatic cooperation.
(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition I-2021)