UNEP Executive Director Addresses EU Environment Ministers Ahead of Cop21

Luxembourg — UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner delivered two keynote speeches at the EU Environment Ministers Informal Council today, discussing both the upcoming adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate financing

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner delivered two keynote speeches at the EU Environment Ministers Informal Council today, discussing both the upcoming adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate financing. He also held meetings with Ministers and high level representatives of the Governments of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the members of EU Commission, and senior officials of the European Investment Bank.

In a morning session of the Informal Council of the EU Environment Ministers, Executive Director Steiner emphasized how the EU’s own development strategy and policy choices will determine whether the SDG targets can be achieved. He also underlined two fundamental features of the SDGs: that they apply to developing and developed countries alike (universality), and that economic, social and environmental factors must all be addressed to achieve them (integration).

“2015 is a year with unprecedented opportunity for change. At meetings in New York and Paris, and building on the outcomes of the Addis Financing for Development Conference, the international community is in a position to take action to keep humanity on the right side of dangerous climate change, eradicate poverty and put the world on a sustainable development path. The EU is in the process of reviewing a number of directives and strategies, such as the “circular economy” package, which will prove central in defining key sectors and pathways for EU countries to achieve the SDGs” he said.

Read the Executive Director’s full remarks on how the EU can help achieve the SDGs here

In an afternoon session dedicated to discussing financing climate mitigation and adaptation priorities, Mr. Steiner focused on the short term climate finance challenge for Paris and the longer-term need for alignment of financial capital markets with the objective of decarbonizing our economis. He told the EU Environment Ministers that the integration of public finance, and intelligent policies and enabling regulatory frameworks will spur on private sector “green” investments.

“We must recognize that $100 billion in climate finance is a commitment to a broader transformation. Ultimately, it is the global $300 trillion financial economy of today that must shift towards a low carbon future” Mr Steiner told the ministers.

Read the Executive Director’s full remarks on how the EU can support climate finance here

While in Luxembourg, Executive Director Steiner took the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with the Minister of Environment of Luxembourg, Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of Development Cooperation of Luxembourg, Romain Schneider, and EU Commissioners for Environment Carmenu Vella and for Climate Miguel Canete. The Executive Director also met with Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank and his team and Héla Cheikhrouhou, the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund.

Notes to Editors:

The UN General Assembly will meet in New York on 25-27 September to adopt the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The EU Council is, together with the European Parliament, responsible for adopting ambitious legislation at EU level and for preparing the bloc’s position at international conferences. Informal Council meetings allow ministers to discuss key issues without adopting agreed conclusions.

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