European Union, UNDP intensify climate work in Eastern Partnership region

May 28, 2019

Marking the 10th anniversary of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership, the EU and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched EU4Climate, a regional initiative to support the development and implementation of climate policies and to accelerate climate action in the six countries that are part of the Eastern Partnership -  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Under this new initiative, the partners will support the countries as they work to fulfil their commitments to the Paris Agreement, in which Parties agreed to keep a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century. EU4Climate will ensure continued and effective implementation of the reforms in the climate area, envisaged in the Association and Partnership Agreements with the EU, the Eastern Partnership policy initiative "20 Deliverables for 2020” and with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 “The climate marches have helped to raise public awareness in many EU Member States. We are witnessing a debate on the ambition of our climate action and a longer-term perspective towards a climate-neutral Europe by the middle of this century. We will have the chance today to discuss the EU’s reply to these demands and how Eastern Partner countries are themselves tackling this challenge, which we should all turn into an opportunity. Our new regional project EU4Climate comes very timely in this respect as it will accelerate support to the region with a particular emphasis on these questions,” said Yvon Slingenberg, Director for Climate Action, European Commission.

To achieve significant results and to bring real change to people’s lives, continuous push for reforms in many areas, such as energy, is needed, since this part of the world remains one of the most energy-inefficient region both in consumption and production of energy. This is why the EU is also providing significant support for energy and energy efficiency in the region, to ensure the development of transformative policies to unlock investments in clean and affordable energy and energy efficiency. These new investments need to be climate-proof and resilient to emerging climate risks.

"Climate change goes beyond borders and without regional and international cooperation we cannot build resilience and limit its impacts on citizens' lives. In this context, we raised up climate change to the agenda of cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partner countries. EU4Climate comes very timely in this respect as a new element in the European Union's support to deliver on shared climate goals. It also comes to complement mechanisms that unlock much-needed investment," said Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East, European Commission.

Climate change has been affecting the economies and communities of the 6 countries through an increased frequency and intensity of natural climate-induced disasters – floods, mudflows, droughts, hails and windstorms. Whether it’s failing crops, the flooding of homes and businesses, wildfires, or a rise in respiratory diseases, people have become increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change across the region.

According to the New Climate Economy Report, bold climate action could trigger at least EUR 23.3 trillion (US$26 trillion) globally in economic benefits by 2030, create over 65 million new jobs, avoid 700,000 premature deaths and many more.

“Climate action provides an opportunity to unlock massive economic and social benefits that can help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As the largest implementer of climate action in the UN System, UNDP works with countries to turn their climate goals into action and advocates for more ambitious climate policies.  UNDP is privileged to partner with the European Union and with the Governments of the EU Eastern Partners under the EU4Climate initiative to advance low-carbon climate resilient development in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus,” said Gerd Trogemann, Deputy Regional Director a.i., UNDP’s Bureau for Europe and CIS.

The Project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will run from 2019 to 2022 with a total budget of EUR 8.8 million and will help the six Eastern Partner countries to develop and implement forward-looking climate policies. It identifies key actions and results in line with the Paris Agreement, the "20 Deliverables for 2020”, and the key global policy goals set by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The project will also translate into action priorities outlined in the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Change of October 2016.